28 March 2013

Agnes Armstrong-v-Sean Moffatt and Thomas Moffatt trading as Ballina Medical Centre and Maura Irwin

High Court Record No. 2011/4081 P

Judgment of Mr Justice Hogan delivered on the 28th March 2013

This Judgment represented a new ruling on the matter of what is to be included in Replies to Particulars. Replies to Particulars are queries raised by the Defendant for the Plaintiff to answer to substantiate their claim. This case represented a curtailment of the questions that traditionally were asked of the Plaintiff by the Defendant stipulated by Order 19 Rule 7.1 which sets out the rule dealing with Replies to Particulars.

These particulars were ordered in the interest of fair procedures and to ensure that a litigant would not be surprised by the nature of the case which they had to meet. As a result of this practitioners began to broaden out the queries which they asked at this stage of proceedings.

This case represents the Judiciary trying to narrow down these categories which must be answered. Creative lawyers used these Replies to Particulars to ask many details of the case to be met often running into many pages and going out of the scope that was originally imagined. Many Plaintiffs answered these questions in full rather than challenging the right to ask these questions. It is now the case that irrelevant questions will not be allowed and the Plaintiff is allowed to answer these with a short note to say that it is not a matter for particulars. For example if the question is asked whether the parties had taken alcohol in the context of a personal injuries matter then this is not a matter for particulars.