THE respect our courts and the legal professions need has been diminished by a litany of suspicious compensation claims. The courts’ occasionally incomprehensible response to those claims has also undermined their position.
The Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland suggests that one in eight cases falls into the “suspicious” category. The bureau has decided it will share claims it regards as dubious with the gardaí to combat misleading claims which, insurers say, lead to more expensive policies. As part of that campaign, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan may consider bringing perjury laws up to date to make it easier to prosecute those who lie in court. That this issue has not been tackled before now is one of the reasons these cases have become so numerous. They are, in the absence of dissuasive legislation a free bet. This might be a good opportunity too for Mr Flanagan to consider awards made in our courts which are far greater than those offered in other EU countries.
The legitimacy of the seven out of eight cases that the bureau does not regard as suspicious cannot be overlooked, however. A person injured by another’s neglect is entitled to seek compensation and it is unfortunate that some of these cases are seen to be under a cloud. There are many sticky fingers in this rich pie but it is time the issue was tackled and to enact legislation to make that possible. After all, a refusal to tackle dishonesty is just another form of dishonesty.
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