Tuesday 20 August 2019

Caps on personal injury awards and perjury law set to be examined

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy heads the Law Reform Commission
Ms Justice Mary Laffoy heads the Law Reform Commission
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Caps on awards for personal injury claims and the introduction of a perjury law are among measures to be examined by the country's law reform body.

Further reforms in the area of divorce are also set to be scrutinised following the passing of the recent referendum.

The areas are among 15 projects to be examined by the Law Reform Commission, which is headed by Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, over the next three years. The lack of consequence for people who give false evidence in personal injury claims is likely to attract the most interest given the ongoing concern over the high cost of insurance.

The commission's Fifth Programme of Law Reform, which is being published today, is to look at whether caps on damages would be allowed under the Constitution.

If it finds caps would be permissible, it will examine whether it is desirable to legislate for caps on general damage, which covers pain and suffering, in personal injury cases.

The examination of the issue was recommended by the Cost of Insurance Working Group and the Personal Injuries Commission (PIC).

The PIC last year found awards for soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, were 4.4 times higher in Ireland than in England and Wales.

The project will take into account that the courts have, in a number of cases in recent years, laid down what have been described as "caps" or "tariffs" on general damages which take account of the injuries suffered by a plaintiff and, in some instances, the level of special damages awarded for loss of earnings and medical care.

A further area where reforms will be examined will be in relation to sexual offences, where some legislation dates back to the 19th century.

Irish Independent

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