New law to give 'good samaritans' protection
MEMBERS of the public who act as 'good samaritans' are to be given legal protection under new legislation.
The Civil Law Bill 2010, to be published today, means that volunteer rescuers and good samaritans who come to someone's rescue cannot be sued if something goes wrong.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said that well-intentioned people, who help someone who is ill or hurt in an emergency, should not fear being sued as a result of their intervention.
The Government has been concerned that fear of civil liability can hamper volunteerism and may prevent individuals and groups from providing assistance to others. The new legislation is designed to give greater legal certainty.
It will stipulate that volunteers will be protected from liability in voluntary work for charitable or other purposes for the benefit of society, including sports, recreation and rescue.
Volunteers are required to act in a way that "does not constitute gross negligence", while the volunteer organisations with whose authorisation they operate will be judged on the lower standard of ordinary negligence.