Personal injury attorneys across Ireland are in a quandary after a recent announcement by the Irish High Court. In the first week of January, 2021, the main personal injury judge, Justice Kevin Cross, announced that “only urgent actions” involving personal injury will be heard throughout the country’s third COVID-19 lockdown.
At the Four Courts, Dublin’s highest courts, Justice Cross made the announcement.
What constitutes an “urgent action” when it comes to personal injury in Ireland?
Justice Cross remarked that the cases open to the High Court during the current lockdown include those involving people who have suffered life-threatening injuries or who are dealing with life-threatening medical situations. Whether or not those injuries or medical conditions are a result of the injuries in the lawsuits, those cases will be open to the court.
Also, fair game are personal injury cases in which the litigants are undergoing personal and/or economic hardship.
What Determines Urgency?
Before the hearing begins, personal injury lawyers must demonstrate to the court that the case is urgent. Lawyers need to apply to the court early in the event that they are requesting an advance hearing date.
Routine personal injury lawsuits “will not be heard until further notice,” according to the president of Ireland’s High Court, Justice Mary Irvine.
During Ireland’s first COVID-19 lockdown, a backlog of 300 personal injury lawsuits built up on the court’s docket.
The most famous case in Ireland’s personal injury lawsuits recently has been that of Lynsey Bennett, a 32-year-old woman whose cervical smear slides were allegedly misread by her medical caregivers in the Irish national cancer screening program.