Periodical payments legislation

Queen Elizabeth II was not the only prominent woman announcing significant legislation on Wednesday 27th May. That same day, Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD published a Draft Bill that seeks to introduce a regime of periodical payments for catastrophic injury claims in Ireland.

Despite some conflicting rumours circulating in mid-2014 about the possible scope of the regime, it is notable that the draft Bill as published is very clear in covering not only claims against the state but also claims indemnified by motor and casualty insurers.

The Bill is modelled on the current regime in England & Wales. As it stands – and disregarding for the time being the prospect of it being amended significantly in the Oireachtas – the Bill could be said, from a defence perspective, to improve on the English scheme by reducing uncertainties for compensators in (a) locking in the index by which annual payments will increase and (b) by omitting the prospect of future variation. We outlined the key measures in the Bill in this news piece on the firm’s main website.

Minister Fitzgerald’s press release refers in addition to “a broader package of reforms” for medical negligence, including measures on open disclosure and the prospect of pre-action protocols. We would expect to see real progress on all of these initiatives in the next few months. The Minister confirmed that her aim is for the new legislation to be enacted this year.

About the Author

akAlistair Kinley is BLM’s Director of Policy & Government Affairs.

Alistair is responsible for BLM’s engagement with government departments and regulators on policy and public affairs issues and consultations affecting the firm and its customers. He coordinated BLM’s market-facing activities in connection with the Insurance Act 2015 and the consultations which preceded its publication and introduction in Parliament.

He is a member of the Civil Justice Council (CJC), a regular speaker and experienced commentator on legal and procedural reforms and was a contributing editor to the Law Society’s Litigation Funding Handbook (September 2014).

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