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Second lawyer body argues against cap on injury awards


Stock Image: Getty Images/Maskot

Stock Image: Getty Images/Maskot

Getty Images/Maskot

Stock Image: Getty Images/Maskot

A second body representing lawyers has urged the Law Reform Commission against recommending a legislative cap on personal injury awards.

The Law Society, which represents solicitors, said it favoured a system where the courts would continue to determine award levels through case law, supplemented by guidelines from a new judicial committee.

A similar conclusion was also reached by the Bar of Ireland, which represents barristers.

A number of possible models are being examined by the commission, amid ongoing concern over the high cost of insurance. These include consideration of a cap on general damages - the sum awarded for pain and suffering - set by primary legislation.

But in a submission, the Law Society said it did not regard this proposal as constitutional.

It said it believed the only model which would fully respect constitutional requirements for the separation of powers and the administration of justice by the courts was one where judges would determine awards based on case law and Judicial Council guidelines.

Former attorney general Paul Gallagher SC was involved in drafting the submission.

It also said it had not been established by the Government that damages awards are too high or that capping general damages would result in lower insurance premiums.

However, in another submission to the commission, the Alliance for Insurance Reform said the insurance crisis could not be meaningfully addressed without reducing general damages for personal injuries.

Irish Independent