Waterford woman’s challenge to personal injury award guidelines to be heard next month

Four Courts at Night

23 February 2022

The High Court has fixed a date next month for the hearing of the lead challenge against new guidelines for personal injury awards.

The case, which is expected to run for six days, will be heard by Mr Justice Charles Meenan, who last week dismissed an application to determine whether a judge who was a member of the Judicial Council when it voted to approve the new guidelines should recuse themselves from hearing a case challenging those rules.

The vote on the guidelines did not interfere with a judge’s duty to be fair and impartial, the judge found.

Feichin McDonagh SC, on behalf of the lead challenger, Bridget Delaney from Co Waterford, said his client will not be appealing the recusal decision.

Ms Delaney’s action is one of several proceedings against the State, and the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), a body that makes personal injury awards. It is aimed at setting aside guidelines regarding awards for personal injury claims.

Counsel for PIAB, Douglas Clarke SC, said the proceedings have an impact on the board’s ongoing operations and asked for a hearing date as soon possible.

Mr Justice Meenan fixed a date for March 22.

In her judicial review proceedings against PIAB, the council, Ireland and the Attorney General, Ms Delaney wants orders overturning the assessment PIAB made in respect of her claim and the council’s decision to adopt the guidelines.

Ms Delaney, of Cruachan, Knockateemore, Dungarvan, also seeks several declarations including that PIAB acted outside its powers, breached her rights to natural and constitutional justice, and that the council acted outside of its powers in adopting the personal injuries guidelines.

She claims she injured her ankle when she tripped and fell on a public footpath at Pinewood Estate, Dungarvan, on April 12, 2019. She alleges she suffered her injuries due to the negligence of Waterford City and County Council.

She alleges the appropriate awards for the injury she sustained range from €18,000 to €34,000 but PIAB subsequently awarded her €3,000, which she rejects and says does not compensate her for her injuries.

She also claims the adoption of the guidelines has violated her constitutional right to access to the courts. The claims are denied.

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