Dáil Éireann - Volume 566 - 13 May, 2003

Written Answers. - Personal Injury Claims.

  173. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the IBEC estimate that the legal fee element of personal injury claims amounts to 44% of total costs; if he does not accept this estimate, his own estimate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12612/03]

  Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): My understanding is that the results of the IBEC survey indicate that legal costs amount to 44% of the compensation award rather than of the total outlay on the claim. In any event, the Deputy will appreciate that I cannot verify this or other estimates, which must remain the responsibility of their authors, though I note that this finding is broadly in line with data contained in the report of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board. It should also be borne in mind that legal costs in this context relate not solely to legal fees but include other costs, such as medical and other expert witnesses and reports, as well.

  It is widely accepted that the cost of delivery of personal injury compensation is too high and the Government are proceeding with a comprehensive programme of measures to deal with this. In relation to my area of responsibility, substantial progress has been made on preparation of legislative proposals which are, in part, intended to address this problem and I will put these to Government very shortly. In addition, I have requested the Committee on Court Practice and Procedure, which is chaired by Mrs. Justice Susan Denham, judge of the Supreme Court, to examine all aspects of practice and procedure relating to personal injuries litigation and this work is well under way.