Personal injury guidelines committee to be established through legislation
A statutory committee of judges will draw up guidelines on personal injury pay-outs under plans approved by the Cabinet yesterday.
The Government will table amendments to the Judicial Council Bill to give effect to the recommendation of the Personal Injuries Commission chaired by former judge Nicholas Kearns, which delivered its final report last September.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan had earlier suggested that an interim ad hoc committee could be pulled together prior to the passing of the Judicial Council Bill this summer.
However, the Law Society of Ireland urged “extreme caution” out of fear for the constitutionality of such a move.
In a statement published by The Irish Times, the Government said: “The committee will be comprised of judges and will be tasked with drawing up the guidelines taking account of factors including the level of damages awarded in personal injuries actions not just in this State but in other comparable jurisdictions.
“Guiding principles drawn from those set down in recent Court of Appeal decisions which affirm that modest injuries should attract modest damages will also be relevant as will the need to promote consistency in the level of personal injuries damages awarded by the courts in this jurisdiction.
“The courts will be required to have regard to the guidelines when assessing damages in a personal injuries action.”