There are tentative signs of improvements in business and financial sectors, the 2013 annual report of the Courts Service indicates.
But there are growing strains within families — with increases in separation and divorce applications as well as a continuing rise in domestic violence-related orders. There was also a jump in international child abduction cases involving a parent.
The report backs up figures by both An Garda Síochána and the DPP detailing reductions in criminal prosecutions in the courts, from the large volume of less serious cases in the district court to the more serious offences in the higher courts.
The report documents a number of indicators that appear to give hope to signs of recovery, including:
-A 15% increase in restaurant applications, from 556 in 2012 to 641 in 2013;
-A 37% decrease in applications to wind-up (liquidate) companies, from 269 to 170, with a 38% fall in court orders;
-A 24% reduction in breaches of contract cases in the circuit court, from 21,499 cases to 16,330, with a 43% drop in orders;
-A 16% fall in breaches of contract/debt judgments in the district court (15,717 to 13,142) and a 19% fall in the circuit court (11,293 to 9,103).
On the property front, there were mixed, but mainly negative, signals, with a 23% increase in possession applications. While there was a 41% increase in the circuit court in orders granting repossession, there was a 45% drop in the High Court.
There was a 6% rise in ejectment proceedings in circuit and district court levels, mainly involving non-payment of rent.
In the family law section of the civil courts, there were signs of domestic strain, with a 2% rise in judicial separation applications and a 4% hike in divorce applications.
There was a 35% increase in international child abduction cases (37 to 50).
The report shows a 5% increase in applications relating to domestic violence, from 12,655 to 13,275, including an 8% rise in protection orders. The number of protection orders has jumped by 55% since 2010.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved