Update on the Garda Siochana (Compensation) Act, 2022
Posted in [Blog] on Wednesday, January 31st, 2024
Assaults on Garda surged last year (2023) with 409 incidents of assaults compared to 343 in 2022 and 223 back in 2020. It is not acceptable that a Garda who goes about his or her duty has a potential risk of being assaulted on any given day whilst carrying out their job. Thankfully, The Garda Siochana (Compensation) Act, 2022 has now come into operation and we at Cantillons Solicitors certainly welcome it and so do our large number of Garda clients.
The new Garda Siochana (Compensation) Act, 2022 Act repealed and replaced the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts 1941-1945 and introduced a new statutory scheme that will reduce the waiting times to Garda members or their family members associated with claims for injuries arising from a malicious incident.
The New System.
The Act provides that an Application for an Initial Assessment may be made to the Garda Commissioner by;
- A Member
- A former Member
- Where a death of Member is involved the person’s spouse etc
Alleging that injuries inflicted (or death) were as a result of a malicious incident.
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
Under the old Garda Compensation Acts it was not later than 3 months.
The Application Process
An Application to make a claim under the new Act can be made by completing Form 2A and lodging it together with a medical report, with the Garda Compensation Section, Garda HQ. It is most important to ensure that a medical report is obtained which details the full extent of the injuries sustained. It is also very important that the Form 2A is completed carefully and details of the injury on duty are set out carefully so that Malice can be established. The Form 2A states that “This Application should be accompanied by any other document (s) or information that you consider relevant to your claim.” It would be important for the Garda to consider whether or not to submit his or her Statement (made in relation to any related criminal prosecution) with the Application. The Statement should be lodged if the Statement is clear and unambiguous that the assault was maliciously inflicted by the assailant or assailants on the Garda.
On receipt of the Form 2A and the Medical Report, the Garda Commissioner will appoint a Reporting Officer to deal with the Initial Application.
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 Application can provide further information to the Reporting Officer, not later than 60 days from the issue of the notification that the Reporting Officer is preparing an Initial Assessment Report. An example of further information might be way of an Additional Statement made by you or by a Colleague.
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 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 in 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 seeking a review of the determination. This Request for a review must be made within 30 days after the date of the issue of the Report.
Personal Injuries Assessment Board
After the Commissioner lodges the Application with the Injuries Board, they will contact the State Claims Agency who will respond to the claim.
The Injuries Board will send the State Claims Agency Form 2A and the medical report or medical reports requesting their consent to assess the claim.
The State Claims Agency has 90 days from the date of issue of the Formal Notice of the claim to consent to an assessment by the Board or not. If Malice has been confirmed already by the An Garda Siochana then it is more than likely the State Claims will consent to the Assessment.
It is more than likely the Injuries Board will have the Garda independently medically examined by a Doctor, other than the CMO. In due course an Assessment (Award of Damages and Special Damages (out of pocket expenses) will be made by the Injuries Board. Once the Assessment is made there will be a time limit on both sides to accept or reject the Assessment. Under the current system of the Personal Injuries Assessment Act the Applicant has 28 days to decide whilst the Respondent has 21 days.
At this moment it does not seem clear as to whether the Garda Commissioner is obliged to accept the Assessment or not. The Garda Commissioner is now being represented by the State Claims Agency in all cases submitted to the Injuries Board for assessment. It may be the case that offers of settlement might be made by the State Claims Agency before the claim is assessed by the Injuries Board or ultimately the State Claims Agency reject the assessment as they might consider it to be over generous.
The Act will provide that if the matter proceeds to the Injuries Board. The Commissioner shall be liable to pay any charges imposed by the Injuries Board. It is important to note that the Injuries Board do not pay legal costs as part of their Assessment of the claim.
Post Personal Injuries/Authorisation
If the Applicant accepts the Assessment of the Personal Injuries Board, then the matter is at an end and the Personal Injuries Assessment Board will issue an Order for Payment.
If the Applicant rejects the Assessment, then the Personal Injuries Board will issue an Authorisation to issue Court Proceedings. The old Act provided that all Court Proceedings had to be issued in the High Court. This is no longer the case under the new Act and the Court jurisdiction will depend on the level of injuries sustained by the Garda.
The Act provides that an Applicant may bring Court Proceedings against the Garda Commissioner on foot of an Authorisation issued.
The process is still new and only time will tell how efficient it is going to be but it will certainly be faster than the old system and that will be a welcome to some of those unfortunate Garda who find themselves maliciously injured in the course of their Garda duties.
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.