The Central Bank recently published a revised Corporate Governance Code for Credit Institutions and Insurance Undertakings. The revised code will apply to all credit institutions and insurance undertakings (including reinsurers, but excluding captives) licenced or authorised by the Central Bank. It imposes minimum statutory requirements on how these undertakings should organise the governance of their institutions.
Fifty percent of complaints made to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) in 2013 related to insurance. For the first time since 2007, there has been a significant decrease in the number of complaints made, although complaints requiring formal investigation have increased. The FSO welcomed the reduction in complaints but highlighted that payment protection insurance continues to be a concern.
Irish procedure has a specific summary procedure for cases suitable for summary disposition without pleadings and on affidavit. A recent High Court decision confirms that for summary proceedings, the master of the High Court's jurisdiction is limited to the specific empowerments provided for therein.
A recent case addressed whether Irish courts have jurisdiction to deal with defamation proceedings if the alleged online defamation was published by a party not domiciled in Ireland and if the publication was accessed by parties outside of Ireland only. The case clarifies that evidence of online publication is insufficient; there must be proof of access of the relevant material from Ireland.
A bill setting out a draft framework for the regulation of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use was recently defeated in Parliament. However, the government is still consulting on the Draft Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulations, which would allow for a newly authorised medicinal product containing cannabis extract to be prescribed, supplied and used by patients
A recent case considered the test applicable to the ordering of security for costs. The court noted that the central elements in such an application are for the applicant to show that it has a prima facie defence and to satisfy the court that the plaintiff would be unable to pay the defendant's costs. If the defendant can meet these requirements, security for costs will usually be granted.
A recent case considered an alternative means of serving proceedings and offers guidance where the defendant seeks to have the substituted service and any default judgment obtained on foot of it set aside. The court accepted that there may be exceptional circumstances where the otherwise inflexible rule would be an obstacle to a defendant, but found that there were no such circumstances in this case.
In a recent High Court case a retired insurance broker had invested in a property-based fund which was unsuccessful because another development had attracted tenants away. The appellant argued that had he known all the facts, he would never have invested. The court concluded that the contract was not one of assurance but one of investment, and the principle of utmost good faith did not apply.
In a recent case the Supreme Court considered three separate, but closely connected, applications seeking a time extension in which to appeal three separate orders. The case represents a restatement of the test applicable to the extension of time in which to bring an appeal, but it requires additional considerations to be addressed where the bases of an appeal stem from factual circumstances outside of materials considered in the High Court.
Healthcare professionals are often faced with a dilemma when a child discloses information relating to a potentially serious criminal offence, but requests that it not be disclosed to the authorities. According to the Criminal Act and the National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children, practitioners must report this information. However, a child's welfare is paramount and decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.
A recent case on injunctive relief usefully restated the principles applicable to the grant of such relief as a matter of Irish law and reflected how practical considerations can impact on the court's determination. A party should think carefully about whether the steps that it has taken are consistent with arguments that it wishes to advance and, if necessary and possible, take steps to correct the position.
Marie Fleming's challenge to the ban on assisted suicide recently ended. The Supreme Court sympathised with the appellant, but was ultimately constrained by its constitutional obligations to protect public health and safety. The appellant relied on the right to life in the Constitution, but the court found that there is no corresponding right to die. The court was mindful that any dilution of the ban on assisted suicide would run the risk of abuse.
The Central Bank published a consultation on the review of the Corporate Governance Code for Credit Institutions and Insurance Undertakings. Proposed amendments include prohibiting the chairman or chief executive officer (CEO) from holding more than one chairman or CEO position in another credit institution or insurance undertaking at any one time.
The High Court recently found that it was unnecessary to provide documents prepared in anticipation of repudiation of a life insurance policy, as the documents were protected by litigation privilege. Litigation privilege protects confidential documents assembled with the purpose of preparing for a litigation. Insurers should keep in mind that they may wish to claim privilege over confidential documentation prepared during an investigation.
The Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013 was recently signed into law. The act puts in place the foundations for pharmacists to substitute a cheaper generic medicine when a more expensive branded medicine has been prescribed. However, it will have no effect in the marketplace until the Irish Medicines Board has published its list of interchangeable medicines.
Two recent High Court decisions have provided much-needed clarification as to the scope and operation of Section 62 of the Civil Liability Act 1961. The decisions related to applications by insurers to strike out the claim against them on the basis that no reasonable cause of action was disclosed. Both insurers were successful.
The increased use in recent years of social media by doctors raises concerns around important issues such as patient confidentiality. The Irish Medical Council has not yet published specific guidelines but has stated that the guidelines set out in its Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners include the use of social media by doctors.
The EU Falsified Medicines Directive is yet to be transposed into Irish law. However, the Irish Medicines Board has issued guidance on the registration requirements for manufacturers, importers, distributors and brokers of active substances. All entities in the supply chain should consider the impact that the new regime will have on their existing contracts and implement any necessary changes.
An Irish parliamentary committee has published a report on offshore oil and gas finds in Irish coastal waters, with recommendations including a substantial increase in the tax take from any future licences. The report calls for a more transparent system regarding licensing and public consultation, while also recommending regular reviews of fiscal and licensing terms.
The Commission for Electricity Regulation (CER) recently issued a important decision paper that should be reviewed by anyone that is considering a contestable build of connection works to connect its generation assets to the distribution or transmission system. In making its decision, the CER sought to balance the interests of system operators and independent power producers.
Contrary to high-profile criticism of the Irish planning system, energy projects in the 'strategic infrastructure' process have a success rate of almost 100%. The strategic infrastructure planning process is a fast-track process allows applications for certain energy developments to be made directly to the Planning Board. Although the system has its critics, the evidence is that it has delivered good results in the energy sector.
The Department for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has published a welcome update on the status of the main public support scheme for renewable energy projects in Ireland. The proposed terms and conditions of eligibility for support under RE-FIT 2 and RE-FIT 3 have not yet been published, but the inclusion of these details on the department's website provides welcome confirmation that further support for renewable electricity generation in Ireland is at an advanced stage of planning.
The Commission for Energy Regulation recently published its final assessment on the deregulation of the domestic retail electricity market and duly removed all remaining price regulation from the retail electricity market. This deregulation decision occurred at the final stage of the commission's Roadmap to Deregulation, in which it outlined its plan to phase out the remaining price controls.
The Law Reform Commission has issued its Report on Alternative Dispute Resolution, specifically focusing on mediation and conciliation. It remains to be seen how many of the report's recommendations will be adopted, although it is likely that many – if not all – will eventually find their way onto the statute books in some form, particularly since a draft Mediation and Conciliation Bill is annexed to the report.
President Mary McAleese has signed the Energy (Biofuels Obligation and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2010 into law. The act is a significant piece of legislation as it obliges fuel suppliers in Ireland to sell a specified amount of biofuels (ie, fuels derived from sustainable sources) each year. It is hoped that this obligation will aid Ireland in reducing its carbon emissions and developing its biofuels production capacity.
The government has published the details of its bank guarantee scheme. Announced on September 30 2008, emergency legislation was subsequently passed within 48 hours to allow the minister for finance to provide guarantees of both the deposits and certain borrowings of certain domestic banks and building societies.
The government is looking to public private partnerships (PPPs) to provide funding, as well as specialist skills and innovation, in its plan to revitalize public transport in Dublin. The PPP model is currently being used in the LUAS light railway project, and has been proposed for several other forthcoming projects.