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Tort Reform

Description

The determination of whether limits should be placed on non-economic damages awarded in medical malpractice cases.

Terms of Reference

The issue of tort reform was referred to the Law Reform Commission by the Hon. Attorney General on May 13, 2010. The general purpose of our examination was to determine whether (i) legislative caps should be placed on the award of non-economic damages in cases of personal injury with a particular focus on medical malpractice and (ii) whether there should be a reduction of the limitation periods applicable to claims for damages for personal injury.

Outcomes

The Consultation Paper was published and submitted to several stakeholders in the medical, legal and insurance fraternity and to the general public in order to solicit views on the Commission’s provisional recommendations. However, in light of the fact that a Government Bill was sponsored and gazetted on 31st December, 2010 for the express purpose of limiting the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded by a court in cases of “a health care liability claim in tort” the Commission thought it prudent to cease further work on this project.

The Government’s decision and the Bill that was in the Legislative Assembly made the issue a moot one. Since our decision to discontinue work, the Medical Negligence (Non-economic Damages) Law, 2011 has been enacted in order to deal with the issue of limiting non-economic damages.