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Concern about the lack of urgency on the Judicial Council Act following press reports about the impact of claims costs on councils, charities and medical care

Issued 7 October 2019. Insurance Ireland has expressed its concern about the lack of urgency in progressing the relevant sections of the Judicial Council Act following recent press reports on the impact of claims costs.

 

These include:

 

  • On Tuesday 1st October, it was revealed that the number of personal injury claims being processed by Dublin City Council increased from 214 in 2017 to 1,985 in 2019 (See reference 1 below)

  • On Monday 7th October, we read about the impact of a personal injury claim against an outdoor charity (See reference 2 below)

  • On Monday 7th October,  it was revealed that additional treatment for whiplash was not being sought by 90% of patients once legal action was completed (See reference 3 below)

 

Kevin Thompson, CEO of Insurance Ireland, stated, “These stories highlight the everyday impacts of high claims costs. Eight out of every 10 motor injury claims are for soft tissue ‘whiplash’ and the Personal Injuries Commission found that our average award is 4.4 times what it is in the UK. The Commission called for ‘a response that is effective and achievable in the shortest possible time’ but despite this, we still do not know when our awards will be recalibrated.

 

Clarity is urgently needed and Minister Charlie Flanagan should state when he will commence Sections 18-22 of the Judicial Council Act which will set up the Personal Injuries Committee to recalibrate our award levels. This work can commence with the stroke of a pen and it should be done without any further delay.”

 

Kevin concluded, “Customers will want to see the benefit of reform and Insurance Ireland has written to Minister of State Michael D’Arcy T.D. outlining the public statements made by individual insurers that if the cost of claims was systematically addressed then consumers would benefit.”

 

Notes for Editors:

 

References:

 

  1. The Irish Daily Mail, Tuesday 1st October.

  2. The Irish Independent, Monday 7th October. Link: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/woodland-charity-faces-crippling-bills-as-its-forced-to-defend-personal-injury-claim-38568692.html

  3. The Irish Times, Monday 7th October. Link: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/most-whiplash-patients-end-treatment-when-legal-action-finished-1.4041918

 

An Act does not come into operation until a commencement order has been signed by the relevant Minister, in essence it remains dormant.

 

The relevant Minister in the case of the Judicial Council Act is the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan.

 

On 9 September Minister Flanagan signed a commencement order (SI No. 457/2019).

 

Minister Flanagan has brought into operation sections relating to Judicial Conduct, the appointment of a Secretary to the Council and Panels of inquiry.

 

Minister Flanagan has not brought into operation Sections 18-22 of the Act which would set up the Personal Injuries Committee.

 

No recalibration of awards can begin until this Committee is set up.

 

Ends.

 

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