Alliance expresses serious concerns regarding Judicial Council guidelines

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Calls on Judiciary to reduce damages for minor injuries by 80%

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has expressed serious concerns at reports that the Judicial Council is tending towards the adoption of guidelines that would reflect those in the Green Book, Northern Ireland’s personal injuries guidelines.

Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance, which represents charities, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and SMEs severely affected by insurance costs said “Such a development would be unlikely to lead to meaningful reductions in the cost of personal injury claims and hence insurance, unless it came hand-in-hand with wholesale reform of the Irish legal system. Otherwise, using the Green Book as a reference point would be the status quo masquerading as reform.

“We understand that the adoption and publication of new Judicial Personal Injury Guidelines have been postponed until the 20th February and we welcome any opportunity for serious reflection on the guidelines but we call on the Judicial Council, in their deliberations, to have regard to the common good in reducing general damages for fully recovered minor injuries by at least 80% to reflect international norms and norms already established by the Court of Appeal.”

Eoin McCambridge,  Managing Director of McCambridge’s of Galway and director of the Alliance said “The single biggest element of the cost of insurance, as determined by the Cost of Insurance Working Group, the Personal Injuries Commission and the Central Bank’s National Claims Information Database, is compensation; and general damages for minor injuries account for the vast majority of compensation payouts. What we award for minor, fully recovered injuries in Ireland is 4.4 times higher than in England & Wales and further multiples higher than other European jurisdictions. An 80% reduction on minor injuries would only bring us down to where England and Wales currently are and would still be nowhere near the equivalent damages in other European countries – and England and Wales are further slashing their damages for minor whiplash injuries later this year.”

Tracy Sheridan, owner of Kidspace play centres in Rathfarnham and Rathcoole and director of the Alliance said “Insurance costs remain an existential issue for Irish SMEs, charities, sports and cultural organisations, voluntary and community groups. The Irish economy is not going to recover from Covid-19 through SMEs, or Irish society through the voluntary & community sector, unless insurance is sorted.”

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