The tide appears to be turning on fraudulent and exaggerated personal injury claims, an issue that has contributed to a huge rise in insurance premiums for businesses, home owners, and motorists.
The manner in which some lawyers contribute to the problem has been recognised publicly by a Circuit Court judge, who, during the course of a hearing yesterday, suggested that “some solicitors should be a bit more selective about who they take on”.
Judge Jacqueline Linnane’s remarks came as she dismissed five fraudulent claims by members of the travelling community.
In April, business lobby group Isme told the Oireachtas finance committee that the judiciary was too soft on people making false and exaggerated injuries claims, but Judge Linnane belies that characterisation.
In May, she dismissed a defamation action against a sports shop as “an appalling waste of time”.
Insurance reform is already underway in the shape of the Judicial Council Bill, which passed through the Oireachtas on Tuesday.
Though not part of the Government’s plan for reducing insurance costs, the Judicial Council, to be established under the bill, will also look at introducing guidelines for personal injuries awards.
The strong, independent voice of Judge Linnane is an important and welcome addition to reform.
It is now time for the tide to turn more quickly.