19 September 2018
Commenting today on the publication of the second and final report of the Personal Injuries Commission, Micheál P. O’Higgins SC, Chairman of the Council of The Bar of Ireland said, “We welcome the work of the PIC and support any initiative which upholds the concept of reasonableness and proportionality in assessing the level of damages for claimants who have suffered personal injury.
“Judges are fully independent and act without favour to either claimants or defendants. They make awards based on what they assess to be fair and appropriate compensation to reflect the level of injuries, and the impact of those injuries on the claimant, based on the evidence before them.”
The Chairman continued; “The Council of The Bar of Ireland therefore supports the adoption of a carefully considered and collated set of Judicial Guidelines, particularly where proposals to explore alternatives such as the introduction of legislative tariffs raise serious concerns.”
In that regard, the Council of The Bar of Ireland agrees with the views of the Personal Injuries Commission that any proposal to cap the amount of damages which a court may award necessitates careful constitutional scrutiny by the Law Reform Commission. “A person who sustains genuine personal injuries is entitled to be properly compensated for those injuriesand any efforts to fix compensation levels for soft-tissue injuries, or any injury for that matter, risks infringing a person’s constitutional right of access to justice and fair procedures,” said Mr O’Higgins SC.
“The development of Judicial Guidelines represents a positive step forward and should help to achieve greater levels of consistency and certainty in awards and increase the frequency of early resolution of claims.
It is intended that the proposed Guidelines, along with a number of the Commission’s other recommendations including efforts to promote anti-fraud strategies, should ultimately lead to lower insurance premiums to the benefit of consumers, business and wider society”, Mr. O’Higgins concluded.