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Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries

Every case where a person is caused to suffer personal injury is unique and the impact upon the injured party can only be measured against that own person’s experience and treatment. Nonetheless, certain categories of injury are so severe as to merit separate consideration under the term ‘catastrophic injuries’. This refers to those injuries whose impact is so severe and lasting, that they can be considered life-changing. Often the injured party is left permanently impaired and rendered unable to resume gainful employment either as they had previously, or at all, and may suffer from a reduced life-expectancy. Treatment in cases of catastrophic injuries is usually multidisciplinary (i.e. requiring palliative care, rehabilitation, occupational therapy etc) and often continues for years or the remainder of a person’s life. The effect of the injuries can be all-encompassing, not only for the person injured, but also for their family, friends and co-workers, physically, emotionally and financially. In the most extreme cases, a person can be rendered unable to live independently or to undertake day-to-day tasks without assistance, particularly in tragic cases involving birth injuries. Special equipment may be required for the injured person to perform normal tasks and their home may need to be… Read More…



What to Consider Before a DIY Divorce

By their very nature, Separation and Divorce proceedings can often be lengthy and complex, and there may well be a good deal at stake, particularly where the rights and protection of children are involved. Owing to this, and the workload attendant on bringing such proceedings to resolution, a certain level of legal fees will have to be charged. It is in light of these charges, and the drawbacks and restrictions on legal aid, that many websites and services have popped up which offer to troubled spouses what has been termed a ‘DIY Divorce’, whereby a spouse involved in, or beginning, family law proceedings is provided with certain publicly available standard documents together with information on how to have them issued and served, and how to get into court. Inviting in times of financial difficulty, such a service may in certain instances suit some separating or divorcing spouses, particularly where there are no children, no assets to divide, no pensions or complex financial products, or there is agreement and understanding as to the issues between the parties. However, even for parties in such circumstances, there exist many potential drawbacks and risks in failing to consult with a family law solicitor. The… Read More…



Enduring Power of Attorney

An EPA is an instrument put in place by a person, referred to as the donor. It allows another specially appointed person or persons, referred to as the attorney(s), to manage the donor’s affairs and property if, and only if, the donor becomes unable to do so due to mental incapacity. The attorney(s) must be aged 18 and over, and are subject to certain other requirements. If a person becomes incapacitated in this way without having put in place an EPA, all of their assets and property are frozen, with no-one able to deal with them. It is possible to have the person made a ward of court in that eventuality. The Wards of Court process involves the courts and the Office of Wards of Court to a greater extent. An EPA is more straightforward and likely to be less expensive that the alternative. It permits the donor to choose the person or people who will make decisions on his/her behalf, and the extent of those powers. The procedure for executing an EPA is primarily governed by the Powers of Attorney Act 1996 (as amended), SI 196 of 1996 and Ord 129 rl 3 RSC (as inserted by SI 66… Read More…



How Long Do I Have to Appeal?

  Appeal from: Time Limit What to Lodge? District Court to Circuit Court 14 days from District Court decision Notice of Appeal in District Court Circuit Court to High Court 10 days from when Circuit Court Order pronounced Notice of Appeal in High Court (with exception); Copy Order; Books of Pleadings Master to High Court 6 days from perfection of Master’s Order Notice of Motion in High Court High Court to Court of Appeal / Court of Appeal to Supreme Court 28 days from perfection of Order Notice of Appeal; Books of Pleadings Where the time set to Appeal has expired it may be possible to make an application to extend the time to appeal. The court to which such an application is made has discretion to grant an extension. The test applicable is that as set out in Eire Continental Trading Co Ltd v Clonmel [1955], that: A bona fide intention to appeal was formed before the expiration of the time permitted There was an element of mistake An arguable ground for appeal exits It will be necessary to serve the appeal papers in the manner prescribed by the rules and upon those persons prescribed, including the Respondent to… Read More…



Penalties in Drink Driving Offences

Penalties for drink driving are prescribed in the Road Traffic Acts and vary depending on: The amount of alcohol detected in your system Whether or not it is your first offence All convictions for drink driving carried a mandatory disqualification from driving. Administrative (Non-Court) Penalties Driver type Concentration of alcohol Penalty   Experienced drivers (a) 50mg to 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (b) 67mg to 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine (c) 22mcg to 35mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath €200 fine3 penalty points Experienced drivers (a) 80mg to 100mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (b) 107mg to 135mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine (c) 35mcg to 44mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath €400 fine6 month disqualification Other drivers (a) Not over 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (b) Not over 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine (c) Not over 35mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath €200 fine3 month disqualification Motorists who pay the fine stated on the notice within 28 days, incur the penalty stated without going to court. Motorists can only avail of the fixed penalty notice system once per 3 years. Minimum Court Disqualification Periods Concentration of… Read More…



The Companies Act 2014 for Private Limited Companies

The Companies Act 2014 (“the Act”) was signed into law by the President on 23rd December 2014. The Act, a substantial piece of legislation comprising 1,448 sections, will enter into force when it has been “commenced” by means of Statutory Instrument. The Act will commence 1st June 2015, with the majority of its provisions coming into force at that point. The Act replaces the current, multiplicitous, Companies Acts 1963-2013, and combines the dual aims of consolidation and reform. The new regime under the Act will have a wide range of implications for existing private limited companies (“existing companies”) from the position under the previous regime, and will depend upon the company type which existing companies choose. For the majority of existing companies, this will mean choosing between registering with the CRO as a ‘Designated Activity Company’ (“DAC”) or registering as a Company Limited by Shares (“CLS”). The Act makes provision for other types of company which are not covered in this article, but upon which it would be prudent to take legal advice. The DAC is the company type which most closely resembles the current regime as it applies to private limited companies; however companies which chose to register as a DAC type… Read More…



Medical Negligence Claims in Ireland

When an injury is caused to a person by reason of the negligence of a medical practitioner, that injured party may be entitled to damages commensurate to the harm they have suffered. The injury may be caused by a surgeon, a dentist, a chiropractor, a general practitioner, or a physician from any one of the many categories of specialisation. Medical negligence claims are particularly complex, and establishing the essential elements can prove difficult and time consuming. A claim arises where a practitioner falls below the ‘standard of care’ expected of them, causing injury to a patient. Experiencing a negative outcome after a procedure is not of itself a reason for an action, however it may be indicative of negligent diagnosis and/or treatment. Practitioners owe a duty of care to patients both in relation to diagnosis and treatment. The test applicable is that devised by the Supreme Court in Dunne v National Maternity Hospital. The standard of care is to act with the reasonable care expected of practitioner of equal specialisation and/or of the same general status and skill. The Courts will have regard to a general and approved practice adhered to by a substantial number of practitioners. If the practitioner in question… Read More…



Deed of Separation, Judicial Separation or Divorce?

Spouses faced with a breakdown of a marriage, or looking to formalise a past separation, are faced with a number of difficult and far-reaching decisions they must make. Not least among these is the decision as to how exactly to regulate the dissolution of the legal ties created by a marriage. There are broadly three means by which to do so: by Separation Agreement (or Deed of Separation), Judicial Separation and Divorce. In limited circumstances it may be possible for a spouse to seek in the alternative a Decree of Nullity, which would render the marriage null and void from its very outset. This can be obtained where one of the parties to the marriage lacked capacity, an essential formal requirement was absent or there was a lack of consent. Separation Agreement / Deed of Separation A Deed of Separation is at its essence a contract drawn up by way of negotiation between the parties or their legal teams. The document is a consent agreement and can be the most beneficial way to separate in cases where all matters can be agreed and the parties are amenable to compromise. Once signed, a Deed has the force of a legally binding contract… Read More…



High Court Litigation

The High Court (An Ard-Chúirt) consists of thirty six ordinary judges along with the President heading up the court. By virtue of their office, the President of the Circuit Court and the Chief Justice are judges of the High Court. A list of all the judges can be found on the Courts Service website. The High Court is established pursuant to Article 34 of Bunreacht na hEireann, which provides for full original jurisdiction in and power to determine all matters and questions whether of law or fact, civil or criminal. The High Court sits in Dublin and a number of provincial locations. High Court cases are usually heard by a single judge sitting along, except where the President of the High Court decides otherwise. In certain civil cases, such as defamation, assault and false imprisonment, a judge will sit with a jury. The High Court is the court of first instance for all cases where damages claimed are in excess of €70,000, or in cases of personal injury €60,000. Cases below these thresholds are heard in the Circuit Court or District Court. The Role of the High Court The High Court’s functions include: The ability to determine the validity of any law having… Read More…



Medical Reports in Personal Injury Claims

In personal injury claims, it is usually required that the injured party be medically examined by a medical practitioner to discover the extent of the injuries sustained. Depending upon the nature and severity of the injuries, an injured party may attend immediately at the accident and emergency department of a local hospital, or sometime later perhaps with a general practitioner. When it comes to seeking recompense for one’s injuries, and for the consequent out-of-pocket expense, it will be necessary to obtain a medical report (sometimes referred to as a medicolegal report) describing the extent of the injuries, and offering, where appropriate, a prognosis. This report can then be used in negotiations with the third party or the third party’s insurer. As the medical report defines the extent of the injuries suffered, it is vitally important that it is accurate and captures the full breadth of the injuries, and also their duration. In meeting with one’s treating physician, it is therefore very important to give an accurate and full description of the injuries and their effect. It is often the case that there is an element of uncertainty about the nature of injuries, particularly as to when they will be fully resolved. Accordingly,… Read More…



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