A woman recently lost her High Court medical negligence claim on the grounds that in 1963 prophylactic symphysiotomy was not a practice "without justification". The court acknowledged that while it was a controversial practice, it was strongly defended to the point where it was impossible to conclude that the plaintiff had proved her case.
The Court of Appeal recently overturned a High Court ruling that the insolvent plaintiff's after-the-event (ATE) insurance could effectively substitute security for costs. The court accepted that an ATE insurance policy could provide security for costs in principle. However, it did not accept that the policy in question provided sufficient security. The decision was influenced by the existence of a condition precedent.
The latest Financial Services Ombudsman annual review has revealed that insurance complaints represented 44% of all consumer complaints filed in 2014. However, it is significant that 80% of these were not substantiated. Payment protection insurance continued to be a significant source of complaints.
A recent High Court decision reconsidered the circumstances in which a shareholder or director may represent a company in legal proceedings. The court confirmed that it will exercise discretion to permit such representation only in exceptional circumstances, and in exercising such discretion it will look to establish whether the company has a real or bona fide case.
A recent decision offers a useful reminder of the obligation on a party seeking an ex parte order to ensure that it fully and frankly puts all material facts before the court. Failure to do so can not only result in the interim order being set aside, but may preclude that party from obtaining the relief sought on an interlocutory basis pending the ultimate trial.
In a recent High Court case the plaintiff applied for permission for Mr O'Donoghue (a former solicitor) to represent him. The court noted that there was no reason to doubt O'Donoghue's integrity, but as he was not a solicitor currently in practice he was therefore not subject to codes of professional conduct. If an individual does not wish formally to instruct legal representation, he or she is obliged to represent himself or herself.
The High Court recently upheld the validity of an after-the-event insurance policy and expressly confirmed that after-the-event insurance does not fall foul of the tort of maintenance or champerty. The court held that the rules against maintenance and champerty remain applicable in an Irish context and after-the-event policies must comply with these rules in order to be valid and enforceable.
Historically, there has been some confusion over the exact interpretation of the disclosure rules. Based on a recent High Court decision, experts can provide written commentary on an opposing party's expert report, without an obligation to disclose, as long as they are dealing simply with views expressed by the opposing expert and they are not extending or expanding the substance of their own evidence.
In 2012 the Central Bank of Ireland undertook a widespread review of PPI sales, which resulted in refunds of €67.4 million. To date, both the Financial Services Ombudsman and the Irish courts have largely found in favour of credit institutions and ruled that PPI was not mis-sold to policyholders. However, this has not discouraged claimants and challenges to PPI sales persist.
Following newspaper allegations about the plaintiff, proceedings commenced. By late 2002 trial seemed imminent, but then everything stopped until April 2010, and in 2013 the defendant requested that the proceedings be discontinued. When this was not done, the defendant issued a motion seeking to strike out the proceedings. The court had to consider whether the defendant had sufficient basis to resist the application before it.
A plaintiff's claim for failing to establish negligence on the part of a prominent consultant orthopaedic surgeon has been dismissed. The court ruled that there was no evidence of negligence on the part of operating surgeon and therefore the case must be dismissed. Further, the plaintiff had failed to prove, "on the balance of probabilities", that his explanation of causation was correct.
A recent decision has reaffirmed that, depending on the facts, terms and conditions of lending can be incorporated and apply to a bank/client relationship in circumstances where it is contended that those terms and conditions were never furnished to the borrower as part of a summary judgment application.
The landmark approval of adult stem cell research at the CCMI and the availability of funding make Ireland an attractive location for ground-breaking research and clinical trials using adult stem cells. Ireland has broken new ground in the field of adult stem cell research in recent months.
Once a statement of claim has been formally delivered, a party can amend it only by obtaining leave of the court. A recent decision provides a useful summary of the principles applicable to the amendment of a statement of claim and confirms that the question of prejudice to the defendant is a major factor to be considered in deciding whether to permit the amendment.
A family member can apply to the coroner to submit a request to the Legal Aid Board for legal aid or legal advice in certain circumstances. A coroner can make a request if the continuance or recurrence of the circumstances of death would be prejudicial to the health or safety of the public. This could apply to a death due to a systems failure in a hospital.
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.
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
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.