ISME has written to the Justice Minister about a recent High Court personal injuries case in which a golf club was successfully sued by an apparently lapsed member. While acknowledging that the injury suffered by the plaintiff was real and serious, the fact that any club can be sued by a member who has paid only part of their annual membership subscription will be a matter of deep worry to sports clubs throughout the country.
ISME is further concerned at the manner in which the award of €100,000 in general damages was arrived at in this case, which appears to be a departure from the Personal Injuries Guidelines set out by the Judicial Council in March of this year.
ISME has asked the Minister to urgently address amendment of the duty-of-care provisions in the Occupiers Liability Act, which is one of the issues we have consistently lobbied the Department upon for a number of years. The Australian Parliament legislated reforms to their duty of care provisions in the early 2000’s, providing a model which the Dáil could quickly and easily follow here.
In view of the apparent undermining of the Judicial Council’s own guidelines on damages, ISME has also asked Minister McEntee to provide for the set-up of a quasi-judicial body (such as PIAB) to adjudicate general damages in the first instance. Such a body would adhere to legislative guidelines on damages, and would also remove very significant amounts of legal fees from our personal injuries industry. We do not have the time to continue long-fingering liability reform.