Deputies will have in their hands a copy of an Order dated 14th April, 1927, made by me, with the concurrence of a majority of a Committee consisting of the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court, the President of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland, and two practising barristers of the Senior and Junior Bar respectively, selected by the Council of the Bar of Ireland, making certain alterations in the Rules of the High and Supreme Court made by me on the 13th of July, 1926.
It is provided by Section 101 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, that no Rules of Court made under that Act shall come into operation unless and until they have been laid before each House of the Oireachtas, and have been approved by resolution of each House, and I would therefore ask the Dáil for their formal approval of my Order of the 14th April last, so that the alterations in the Rules, which experience has shown to be necessary, may come into operation at once. The alterations in the Rules proposed to be made are designed to obviate certain difficulties which have arisen in practice under the existing Rules as to the affidavits required for obtaining judgment by default in the Master's Office. The Rules in question are Order VII., Rule 4, and Order XV., Rules 1 and 2.
Order XV., Rules 1 and 2, require the service of an affidavit along with the originating summons, and it has recently been held by the High Court that this means a full affidavit, stating particulars of the cause of action alleged. This has been found not to be practicable in many cases, as, for instance, where immediate service of the summons on a defendant is necessary, the defendant may be about to leave the jurisdiction, and there is no time to get an affidavit from the plaintiff, who may not happen to be in Dublin. The majority of the Committee, with whose concurrence my Order of the 14th April has been made, are unanimously of opinion that these two Rules should be amended by substituting the word "notice" for the word "summons" at the end of each rule. The effect then will be that the originating summons having been served, and the defendant having entered an appearance, the plaintiff will serve, with his notice of setting down the case for judgment in the Master's Office, an affidavit verifying his cause of action.
Order VII., Rule 4, deals with the case where an originating summons has been served, but the defendant has not appeared. Having regard to the proposed amendments in Order XV., it is necessary here to insert a provision in Order VII. requiring the plaintiff to file what is called "an affidavit of debt" at the time of entering judgment. This is to prevent the marking of judgment for a debt which may have been paid off in whole or part after issue of the summons, as often happens. The exact amount then actually due is required to be verified so that the judgment may be correct.