For what might appear to the casual observer to be a fairly innocuous event in the legal diary, the Circuit Court callover is never to be underestimated in terms of it’s significance in the process.
A callover is part of the court listing system. (Do not get me started on how our incredibly outdated and inefficient court listing system might be improved and modernised, that’s a rant for another day.)
But anyway, the callover is like the threshold of the list, once a case has gotten past the preliminary stages, what is called a notice of trial is served and this gets the case into the list. But a variety of other matters need to be attended to before a case that’s in the list is actually ready for trial, discovery of documents for example.
So, periodically, as court sitting dates approach, there will be what is a callover of the list and the ones that are ready to go will be “called on” and listed in an order of priority. Those that are not ready will be put back to the next sittings.
In a provincial Circuit Court circuit, the callover is a very low key affair. Usually happening in an outlying courthouse (like Clonakilty) presided over by a court official rather than a judge and attended by the local solicitors.
So why the big deal? Well precisely because of their inconspicuos nature, callovers can have funny habit of sneaking up on you and biting you on the ass. If a matter is called “on” at a callover, it goes straight into a list and it’s battle stations. You need to be ready to rumble. If you’re not, you’d better get busy.