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Vnuk – Recent decisions and case law in the European and Irish Courts

October 11, 2018 in News

In the High Court on 1st October 2018 Mr Justice Max Barrett made an Order joining a
motor insurer as a Third Party in circumstances where a Plaintiff’s claim had been initially
notified to and investigated under the Employers Liability/Public Liability Policy. In arriving
at his decision to join the motor insurer to the action as a Third Party, Mr Justice Barrett
referred to the judgement of Mr Justice Lavery in Gilmore v. Windle [1967] IR 323, 329:

“to avoid multiplicity of actions and to enable, so far as can be done with just regard
to the interests of the several parties involved, all issues arising out of the
particular incident or transaction to be determined by the one court at one time;
thus avoiding repetition of evidence and argument before different tribunals”

Read the full summary here

Second Report Of The Personal Injuries Commission

September 18, 2018 in News

The second report of the Personal Injuries Commission was published earlier today 18th
September 2018.
This report makes ten recommendations and our review and commentary in respect
thereof is set out below.
The background to the publication of this second report was by virtue of the establishment
of the Personal Injuries Commission which was a recommendation of the Report of the
Cost of the Insurance Working Group, published in January 2017.
The Personal Injuries Commission was established thereafter and is chaired by Mr. Justice
Nicholas Kearns.

Read the full summary here

Summary – Court of Appeal Judgement of Mr Justice Michael Peart

August 10, 2018 in News

On the 27th July the Court of Appeal issued a very important judgment highlighting the
Costs implications of bringing proceedings in the High Court where the proceedings should
ordinarily have been brought in the Circuit Court. The Judgment acts as a stern warning to
any Plaintiff who issues High Court proceedings where they should have issued
proceedings in the Circuit Court. In particular the Judgment addresses the circumstances
where the making of costs differential orders against such Plaintiffs can and should be
made by trial judges.

Read the full summary here

Costs Ruling when Plaintiffs do not settle

July 16, 2018 in News

O’Reilly -v- William Neville & Sons Construction – High Court: 2018/228

On the 18th of January 2018, Mr. Justice Donald Binchy delivered a Judgement in the above case. The case involved an Order for specific performance and building rectifications works which was successful and an Order was made in favour of the Plaintiffs on the 31st July 2017.

The matter of interest in the recent January Judgement for Defendants/Insurers/Indemnifiers is in regard to the costs implications in matters when Plaintiffs will not settle when a reasonable or fair offer is made.

In the costs application, the Plaintiff’s Counsel sought a full Order for costs on the basis that the usual rule “costs follow the event” applied. That is the general principle as per previous Supreme Court authorities.

The Defendants submitted that offers had been made in writing to address the wrongs claimed by the Plaintiffs. These offers were made at the commencement of proceedings and when the Defence was delivered. The ultimate offer was made on the 18th of February 2016, setting out compensation and a mechanism to rectify building works. This offer was made nine months before the matter came to Trial and with the benefit of expert reports.

Mr. Justice Binchy found this letter of offer was “a commendable offer” but accepted it could not address every issue of dispute between the parties. The determination that followed found that the Defendants should be awarded all costs in the proceedings from the 18th of February 2016 onwards. The Plaintiffs were entitled to an Order for costs up to that date.

This finding has implications in respect of the conduct and reasonableness of Plaintiffs in pursuing cases to Hearing where such offers have been made. A Plaintiff does not enjoy the blanket comfort of achieving a full Order for costs in such circumstances on the basis of the success of the case.

Mary Byrne

Partner – O’Brien Lynam Solicitors