Press Release

Government to establish new Expert Group to consider alternative mechanism to the court process for resolving clinical negligence claims

Group will be chaired by High Court Judge, Mr Justice Charles Meenan

The Minister for Health and the Minister for Justice and Equality, in association with the Minister for Finance, are to establish an Expert Group to consider an alternative mechanism to the court process for resolving clinical negligence claims.

The decision was made at Cabinet today. The Group will be chaired by High Court Judge, Mr Justice Charles Meenan. It will provide an interim report after three months and a final report within a six month timeframe from its establishment date.

Minister Simon Harris said “This Group will examine how we can deal more sensitively and in a more timely fashion with catastrophic birth injuries, certain vaccine damage claims, and claims where there is no dispute about liability from the outset. The Group will also examine whether an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, or a no fault system, would be effective in some cases. This follows on from a commitment in the Programme for Partnership Government.

This Group will examine tort law as it currently applies to personal injuries arising in the healthcare context and consider options for reform of relevant tort law. It will also examine whether clinical claims management systems are adequate and whether there may be an alternative mechanism by which claims could be managed and determined more efficiently and effectively from the perspective of the person who has made the claim and the culture of patient safety.

This is a very important piece of work for patients and the whole health service and I look forward to receiving the group’s findings and recommendations.”

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

  •  The Government today approved the Terms of Reference for the new Expert Group and agreed that it would be chaired by High Court Judge, the Honorable Mr Justice Charles Meenan.
  • Justice Meenan was appointed as a High Court Judge in 2017. As a Senior Counsel Justice Meenan specialised in the area of medical negligence. He appeared as Senior Counsel in many leading cases on medical negligence in the High Court and Supreme Court. He also acted as legal assessor to the Fitness to Practice Committee of and legal adviser to the Medical Council and also as legal adviser to the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.

Expert Group to review the law of torts and the current systems for the management of clinical negligence claims Terms of Reference