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Ability to summons witnesses in civil case.

  • 16-08-2022 4:28pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4,303 ✭✭✭


    If a person - the plaintiff - sues another person or organisation - the respondent - for damages, can the plaintiff summons any witness who he or she wants to give evidence?

    The following hypothesis might illustrate my question:

    A person who ran a small firm that went of business because of Covid lockdown sues the State for damages. If the plaintiff wanted to summons (for the sake of argument) Tony Holohan in order to get an explanation as to whether the impact on people's livelihoods was considered when NPHET's advice was given and acted upon, could the plaintiff do that?



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭NUTLEY BOY


    On the general principles, a party to litigation can serve a witness summons on any party they believe to have evidence pertinent to the case including items like accounts or the like. Compliance with the summons is a strict requirement i.e. it is an order that must be complied with.

    There are sets of rules on the procedure for taking out a witness summons.

    Whether or not a witness's evidence is relevant is an entirely different issue for adjudication by the court.

    There are also other procedures that can be invoked namely discovery and interrogatories. See this link to the Circuit Court rules for an idea of what is involved https://www.courts.ie/rules/discovery-and-inspection-documents-and-interrogatories



  • Registered Users Posts: 472 ✭✭UrbanFox


    One additional point to be noted.

    Orders for discovery are not to be had for the asking. You have to show a proper cause to get such an order as distinct from going on the proverbial "fishing expedition"



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,233 ✭✭✭✭coylemj


    I'm reading conflicting advice here.

    a party to litigation can serve a witness summons on any party they believe to have evidence pertinent to the case including items like accounts or the like. Compliance with the summons is a strict requirement i.e. it is an order that must be complied with.

    So you can summons anyone you like and they have to show up? No, wait.....

    Orders for discovery are not to be had for the asking. You have to show a proper cause to get such an order as distinct from going on the proverbial "fishing expedition"

    Does 'discovery' include the summonsing of witnesses?

    If Gemma O'Doherty and John Waters could have called any witnesses they choose, wouldn't they have hauled half the cabinet and the top management of the HSE into court for their various actions they took around Covid restrictions?



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,303 ✭✭✭political analyst


    It was obvious that the case taken by O'Doherty and Waters was a stunt, i.e. the frivolous comparison to the Third Reich.



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