PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE GARDA COMPENSATION ACT
Posted in [Blog] on Thursday, April 13th, 2023
The Garda Siochana (Compensation) Act 2022, when it comes into operation, will change the Garda Compensation Scheme.
The Act requires a Commencement Order and this has not occurred yet so it has not come into being as of 3rd April, 2023. It is anticipated that it will over the next couple of months.
What Happens to Existing Claims
The Act provides that where, before the commencement of the Act, the Minister for Justice has issued a Consent (permission to issue Proceedings) then the old Garda Compensation Scheme will continue as if the Act has not come into place.
The Act provides that where, on the commencement of the new Garda Scheme, the Minister for Justice has not issued a Consent or made a refusal, then the Minister will return the Application to the person who made the Application, together with a Notice informing the Applicant that an Application can be made under new system (see below).
An Application for an Initial Assessment (see below) must be made not later than 6 months after the date that the Notice is provided to the Applicant that they can apply under the new system.
- If the Consent has issued (on commencement of the Act), the old system applies;
- If no Consent has issued (on commencement of the Act), the new system applies.
The New System.
The Act provides that an Application for an Initial Assessment (concerning injuries (on death) as a result of a malicious incident) may be made to the Garda Commissioner by;
- A Member;
- A former Member;
- Where a death of Member is involved, the deceased Member’s next of kin.
Time Limits for Making an Application
The Act provides that an Application shall be made not later than 6 months after;
- The date of the injury or death or;
- The date of knowledge of the injuries.
The Act will provide that, where a person fails to make an Application within the 6 months the Commissioner may decide to extend the period on request.
The Application Process
The Commissioner shall specify the form in which the Application for an Initial Assessment is to be made. It would appear that this has yet to be done. The old system was Form Number 2.
The Commissioner shall appoint a Reporting Officer to deal with the Initial Assessment.
The Reporting Officer must investigate the Application and produce a Report (Initial Assessment Report) which shall outline a determination as to whether the incident the subject matter of the Application has occurred and was a malicious incident.
The Applicant can provide further information to the Reporting Officer, not later than 60 days from being notified that the Reporting Officer is preparing an Initial Assessment Report.
The Reporting Officer shall provide to the Commissioner, not later than 4 months from the date of his appointment, the Initial Assessment Report.
Where the Initial Assessment Report concludes that the Incident occurred, and was malicious, the Garda Commissioner shall, within 30 days after the date the Commissioner received the Report, send a Notice of Determination and a copy of the Initial Assessment Report to the Applicant.
The Garda Commissioner shall, not later than 30 days from the date on which he receives the Initial Assessment, cause an Application to the Personal Injuries Board to be made on the Applicant’s behalf.
If the Initial Assessment Report concludes that there was no malice, the Report must be furnished to the Applicant with information in respect of the Applicant’s right to seek a review of the determination, which must be made within 30 days after the date of the issue of the Report.
Personal Injuries Assessment Board
The Act provides that if the matter proceeds to PIAB (formerly the Personal Injuries Board), the Commissioner shall be liable to pay any charges imposed by the PIAB.
The Application will then be assessed by PIAB and in due course an Assessment (Award of Damages and Special Damages (out of pocket expenses)) will be made. Once the Assessment is made there will be a time limit on both sides to accept or reject the Assessment. Under the current PIAB system the Applicant has 28 days to decide whilst the Respondent has 21 days.
Post Personal Injuries/Authorisation
If the Applicant and Commissioner accepts the Assessment of PIAB, then the matter is at an end and PIAB will issue an Order for Payment.
If the Applicant rejects the Assessment, then PIAB will issue an Authorisation to issue Court Proceedings.
The Act provides that an Applicant may bring Court Proceedings against the Garda Commissioner on foot of an Authorisation.
The Act provides that Proceedings against the Commissioner shall be brought not later than 6 months after the date of the issue of the Authorisation.
This is a fundamental change to how the Garda Compensation Scheme is now going to be run and when the Act comes into law we will further comment on the new Act and until then the above is a brief Summary of what is proposed by the Act.
Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 -4275673 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.