20th April 2022

The show kicked off this morning by way of a telephone link. The challenge which commenced in the High Court midweek against the Judicial Council’s adoption of the Personal Injury guidelines was highlighted as having potentially serious implications for the public and the insurance industry. Our contributor Seamus Gunn explained with the introduction of PIAB in 2003, the emphasis was on trying to bring some certainty to awards and to reduce legal fees in respect of the pursuit of such claims. He said that the case in point was being brought by a lady in Dungarvan as a result of a fractured bone in her ankle and that while the accident occurred prior to March 2021, it was not assessed until the new guidelines were in place. He explained that under the old system she could have expected General Damages of € 18,000.00 – € 25,000.00 in respect of such an injury, but that the award came in at € 3,000.00 and was obviously going to be challenged. He said that it would be interesting to see how this was going to play out as the very purpose for which the Injuries Board was set up would now be frustrated as all such claims would likely go down the Judicial route, therefore adding significantly to legal costs as it was highly unlikely that such awards would be accepted. He said that PIAB and the book of quantum had been working adequately and that 70 – 80% of claims were being dealt with at this level. A lot of interested parties will be awaiting the outcome of this case. 

The collapsing of the 2020 Health Act was discussed by our contributor Seamus Gunn, who explained that the purpose of the legislation was for the preservation and protection of the public health and to allow the Minister for Health to introduce appropriate measures to curtail the spread of Covid 19. He said that it had already been extended in 2021 and he thought that it beggared belief that it was not extended for a further period in light of the escalating Covid figures in recent weeks. He referenced Shanghai with a population of 26 million at 50% lockdown, with a minute number of symptomatic cases which were non comparable to the figures in the island of Ireland, averaging at 12,000 per day. He said that the WHO spokesperson Dr. Mike Ryan stated that Covid 19 remains an acute global emergency. He said that while it may not be envisaged that the emergency powers would be needed and at least this was the aspiration, it was best to have the legislation in place. Greg Hughes was of the opinion that the public may not buy into any further restrictions. Seamus Gunn said that this could be the difficulty in trying to reintroduce such measures with the change in sentiment.  

The Q&A that followed ranged from the Succession Act to the tricky subject of Separation and can be listened to online.