Section 26 of The Debtors (Ireland) Act 1840 stipulates that 'Every judgment debt due upon any judgment not confessed or recovered for any penal sum for securing principal and interest shall carry interest at the rate of four pounds per centum per annum from the time of entering up the judgment, or from the time of the commencement of this Act in cases of judgments then entered up and not carrying interest until the same shall be satisfied; and such interest may be levied under a writ of execution on such judgment.'

From the commencement of the 1840 act, interest on judgment debts was set at 4%.


Moving on 141 years to The Courts Act 1981 Section 20.2 allows for the variation of the rate of interest by the Minister for Justice who 'may if he is satisfied that the rate of interest per annum for the time being standing specified in section 26 of the Debtors (Ireland) Act, 1840 , ought, having regard to the level of rates of interest generally in the State, to be varied, make an order varying the rate of interest so standing specified and the said section 26 shall have effect in accordance with the terms of any such order.'

In 1981 the rate of interest was changed to 11% per annum and in 1989 the rate of interest was decreased to 8% per annum.

From January 2017 the rate of interest was reduced to 2% per annum.


Section 22.1 of the 1981 act states that 'where in any proceedings a court orders the payment by any person of a sum of money (which expression includes in this section damages), the judge concerned may, if he thinks fit, also order the payment by the person of interest at the rate per annum standing specified for the time being in section 26 of the Debtors (Ireland) Act, 1840 , on the whole or any part of the sum in respect of the whole or any part of the period between the date when the cause of action accrued and the date of the judgment.'

The Court, however, has no power to award interest on damages for personal injuries or on a a person's death except for pecuniary loss.

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