Former High Court president says personal injury guidelines may not lead to cheaper insurance

Mr Justice Kelly
Mr Justice Peter Kelly

Former High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly has cast doubt on whether reduced personal injury payouts will lead to cheaper insurance premiums.

In an interview with The Irish Times, he compared the introduction of new personal injury guidelines to the abolition of juries in High Court personal injury cases in 1988.

Mr Justice Kelly, who retired last summer, told the newspaper: “Juries were abolished, but I didn’t notice my insurance premium coming down.”

He said the downward pressure on payouts would “probably give rise to a fairly substantial increase” in the number of cases coming before the District Court rather than the High Court, and there would need to be “some sort of special arrangements” for the increased caseload.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee last week announced that the personal injury guidelines drawn up and agreed by the Judicial Council will apply from Saturday 24 April.

The guidelines will apply to applications already made to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) except where an assessment has been made.

The Book of Quantum will continue to apply where PIAB assessments have been made or where a hearing is already before the courts.

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