New hi-tech business court opens in Dublin


The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, has today opened the State's first court for hearing disputes relating exclusively to commercial law.

The court, which began hearings last January and is a list of the High Court, incorporates a level of technology never before used in Irish courts.

"It is a tangible proof that our courts are modernising in terms of both our approach to litigation and in the use of modern technology," the Chief Justice, Mr Justice John Murray, said.

The Courts Service says the new facility will "advance, speed up and expedite commercial disputes". It says resolutions are quicker and less costly than before due to new procedures, including strict time limits on processing cases.

The average time for cases from the time they enter the court to conclusion is six weeks, the service says, adding that the court "has acquired a reputation for efficiency that has impressed court users, the legal profession and the business community generally".

The technology allows those using the court to file documents online and to present and distribute exhibits and evidence electronically in court. It also allows video conferencing with remote live access for witnesses, and evidence can be recorded in audio and logged electronically.

The development will lead to cases being heard by judges with particular expertise and experience in commercial law; they will generally hear cases where the value of the claim is greater than €1 million or the case is of particular complexity.

Mr Justice Murray said: "This specialised approach to commercial litigation is in keeping with Ireland's objective of being a first world economy in a modern liberal democracy.

"[It] is a first and real attempt to say to corporations: 'If you do business in Ireland we can accommodate your need for speedy and fair resolution of disputes'."

The court is presided over by Mr Justice Peter Kelly, and Mrs Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan will also hear cases at the Bow Street court.