Monday, September 19, 2016

Know Your Rights: Small Claims Court

I am not happy with work that I had done in my house by a builder and will have to pay for someone else to finish the job properly. What can I do to recoup the additional expense?

If your original builder is unwilling to compensate you, you may be able to pursue a claim against the builder through the Small Claims procedure. The aim of this procedure is to provide an inexpensive, fast and easy way for consumers to resolve disputes without needing to employ a solicitor. The maximum amount you can claim is €2,000. The Small Claims service is provided through local District Court offices.
Anyone who has purchased goods or services for private use from someone selling them in the course of business may submit a claim using the Small Claims procedure. You can make claims for faulty goods or bad workmanship, minor damage to property and for the non-return of rent deposits for certain kinds of rented properties. Businesses involved in disputes with other businesses can also use the Small Claims procedure.
To make a claim, you complete an application form, which you can get from the Small Claims Registrar at your local District Court office. You can also get help in completing the form from the Registrar. Make sure you use the correct name and address of the person or company against whom you want to make the claim. The completed form with a fee of €25 should be lodged with the Small Claims Registrar. You can also apply online at the Courts Service Online website,

The Registrar sends a copy of your application to the person against whom you are making the claim. If the other party does not reply within 15 days of receiving your application, your claim will be automatically treated as undisputed and you can apply for a court order in your favour.  But, if your claim is disputed, the Registrar will contact you and let you have a copy of the reasons why the other party is disputing your claim. The Registrar will try to negotiate a settlement to the dispute. If no settlement can be reached, the matter is then set down for a court hearing in the District Court. 
You can get more information on your options from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Boyle Citizens Information Centre which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 0761 07 6330 
Address: Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service - 0761 07 4000

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