- Heartened by small decline of incoming cases before the courts, which reduced by 1.6%
- Out-of-court settlements in the Circuit and High courts rose 26%
- Personal injury awards by the District and Circuit Courts rose
- Most concern to the SME sector is the substantial uptick in incoming defamation cases – ‘resolved’ cases are up 86%
- More than 90% of defamation cases are resolved out of court – we have a very serious problem with defamation in this country
- Government has a mountain to climb in its tackling of the insurance crisis
We are heartened by the small decline in the overall number of incoming cases before the courts, which declined 1.6% from 2017 to 2018. However, the number of out-of-court settlements in the Circuit and High courts rose 26%.
The number of personal injury awards made by the District Court climbed by 24%, awards by the Circuit Court climbed 15%, and awards by the High Court climbed 6%. The average High Court award (which includes serious medical negligence) fell from €457,000 to €351,000, a fall of 30%. Average Circuit Court awards (which affect SMEs the most) rose 3% from €18,488 to €19,014. Average District Court awards, which also bear heavily on the SME sector, rose 4.5%, from €7,643 to €7,987.
Of most concern to the SME sector is the substantial uptick in incoming defamation cases. While the overall number is up just 4%, from 287 to 298, the number of High Court cases, i.e. those over €60,000, is up 22%. The number of ‘resolved’ defamation cases is up 86%. Considering the fact that the vast majority of these cases (more than 90%) are settled out of court, we have a very serious problem with defamation in this country.
The figures suggest that the Government has yet to do the heavy lifting in tackling the insurance crisis. On the basis of the Courts Service annual report, Irish businesses can have little hope of respite.
- ISME should be referred to as the Irish SME Association
For further information, please contact ISME offices T: 01 6622755 E: [email protected]