The government has committed to introduce legislation on assisted human reproduction, surrogacy and gamete donation following a November 2014 Supreme Court decision on surrogacy. The Supreme Court ruled that a genetic mother of twins born to a surrogate is not entitled to be registered as their legal mother on the birth certificates. It is hoped that new legislation will end the regulatory vacuum in Ireland regarding this complex area.
In a recent case, the High Court held that any claim for damages for personal injury arising from a claim for product liability against a producer requires authorisation from the Injuries Board before court proceedings are issued. This case will have implications for future cases involving defective medical products where no authorisation has been obtained and only the manufacturer, producer or supplier has been sued.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
A recently signed ministerial order marks the formal introduction of long-awaited periodic payment orders (PPOs) in Ireland. This should be a welcome development for insurers as it will avoid upfront compensation payments in catastrophic injury cases. It will also align the Irish regime of awards in case of catastrophic injury with the UK system, under which PPOs are already available.