SMALL CLAIMS COURT
My neighbour was having some renovations done to his house in September and he has caused damage to the wall dividing our properties. I have already spoken with him in relation to repairing the wall and he has refused to pay for the work to be done. I obtained an estimate from a builder to have the work repaired and he has told me that it will cost €800.00. I have already given this estimate to my neighbour who still refuses to pay for the work. I have tried to be reasonable and now my neighbour is refusing to speak to me in relation to it.
I would appreciate your advice.
Thank you for your letter. The District Court (Small Claims Procedure) Rules, 1997 & 1999, deal with small claims in relation to minor damage to property provided that the claim does not exceed €2,000.00. The Small Claims Registrar will provide assistance and guidance to you to ensure that your claim is appropriate to the small claims procedure. Details of the location of your local District Court Office can be obtained from the Citizens Information Centre in your locality. A District Court Clerk, called the small claims Registrar, processes small claims. Where possible, the Registrar will negotiate a settlement without the need for a Court hearing. If it is not possible to reach a settlement, the Registrar will bring your claim before the District Court. You will be required to complete a particular application form setting out the basis of your claim. This form can be downloaded from the Courts Service website. There is a fee of €15.00 for making a small claim. The completed application form together with a fee of €15.00 should be lodged with the Small Claims Registrar. A copy of the completed application form will be sent by the Registrar to your neighbour who will be named as the Respondent in the proceedings. If the Small Claims Registrar receives a Notice from your neighbour disputing your claim or making a counter-claim against you, then the Registrar will furnish you with a copy allowing you an opportunity to answer any of the allegations. The Registrar may interview and negotiate with both of you to try and reach an agreement. If your neighbour admits the claim he must notify the Registrar’s office by returning a Notice of Acceptance of Liability Form. If your neighbour does not reply, then the claim will be treated as undisputed. The District Court will then make an Order in your favour without you having to attend Court for the amount claimed and direct that it is to be paid within a short period of time. If your neighbour disputes your claim, and an Agreement cannot be reached, the Small Claims Registrar will fix a date for hearing of the claim before a Judge of the District Court. The case will be heard in public and you will both be required to furnish evidence under Oath as to the dispute. You will both be required to furnish documentary evidence supporting your claim ie. Letters, invoice for damage etc. If the matter is resolved in your favour, your neighbour will be furnished with four weeks to pay the amount awarded by the Court.
With Every Good Wish