‘Slopping out’ claims that may lead to €330m bill

Prison

16 October 2021

The State is facing a potential liability of €332.7m concerning nine separate mass action personal injury claims including those being taken by former ‘slopping out’ prisoners.

The 2019 annual report of the State Claims Agency (SCA) confirmed the total potential liability from all claims to the State soared by €480m in a year, rising to €3.63bn at the end of December.

At the end of 2019, the SCA was dealing with 11,580 active claims and 2,472 or 21pc related to mass action claims.

The majority of the claims, 1,562, related to the lack of in-cell sanitation claims taken by former and current prisoners against the Irish Prison Service (IPS) for conditions such as the requirement for slopping out.

Last November, the Supreme Court found that the plaintiff in the lead case, Gary Simpson, should be paid €7,500 in compensation.

The court ruled that having to use a bucket as a toilet, and empty it each morning, for almost eight months in 2013 in Mountjoy Prison, was a violation of his constitutional right to protection of his person.

The SCA said arising from the judgment, the agency has devised a settlement scheme under which offers of damages and legal costs are being made to qualifying plaintiffs. Some 66 in-cell sanitation claims were resolved last year and 84 new claims lodged.

Other mass action claims are listed under the headings of ‘Prison based TB’, involving 23 active claims.

The estimated liability of €1.97bn from catastrophic injury claims at the end of last year makes up 54.5pc of the overall potential liability.

The potential liability from other clinical claims total €745.6m, while the potential liability from general claims was €909.8m at the end of last year. 

The report said the estimated outstanding liability associated with active catastrophic injury claims has increased by 105pc over the period 2015 to 2019.

Last year, the SCA resolved 2,704 claims and received 3,516 new claims.

The cost of resolving and managing all ongoing active claims totalled €416.9m, an increase of 20pc on the 2018 total of €347.1m.

The costs were last year made up of settlements of €307.3m and legal and other costs of €109.6m.

Last year, clinical settlements accounted for €251.7m of settlements and €73.5m was spent on legal and other costs.

If you would like to see if you might be entitled to compensation for slopping out, complete a free enquiry and one of our experts will review your circumstances and let you know whether your case has merit and how much compensation you might receive. There is no obligation and no charge for this service. It is freely provided to the public by the ICA.

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