The Bar of Ireland response to Law Reform Commission Report on Capping Damages in Personal Injuries Actions

    Release date: 30/09/2020

    The Bar of Ireland welcomes the analysis of the Law Reform Commission today

     

    The Bar of Ireland welcomes the analysis of the Law Reform Commission today, in its Report on Capping Damages in Personal Injuries Actions.

    The Bar of Ireland believes, and advocated in its own submission that Option 4: Judicial Guidelines, fully respects the separation of powers between the Legislature and the Executive and Oireachtas; as well as providing for proportionality and fairness for those seeking compensation for injury suffered, and the particular circumstances of their case. The assessment and award of damages should remain an independent judicial function; and is the most constitutionally permissible option available.

    In its thorough examination of the various options and issues that arise, the Commission concludes that it would be entirely appropriate, and desirable, that the will of the Oireachtas, recently expressed through the enactment of the Judicial Council Act 2019, and the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee established therein, ‘should be given some time to be applied in practice’.  Under the Act, and departing from the Book of Quantum, the Court will effectively reset General damages in accordance with the Guidelines, and where they depart from such Guidelines, they will be obliged to state the reasons why.

    The Act provides that the guidelines are to be prepared, having regard to:

    (i)           the level of damages awarded for personal injuries by courts in the State; 

    (ii)          the level of damages awarded for personal injuries in courts in such places outside the State as the                              Committee or the Board considers relevant;

    (iii)         the principles for the assessment and award of damages for personal injuries as determined by the High                      Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court 

    (iv)         the need to promote consistency in the level of damages awarded for personal injuries; and

    (v)          such other factors as the Committee or the Board considers appropriate.