Back to School (and to Court)

While it is back to school time, it is also back to court time this month. Usually, the superior courts do not sit in August and September, but this year the High Court has resumed sitting from 1 September and this is a very positive development.

As well as sitting this month, the High Court also returns to what is hoped to be close to full-time duties this month, which means we expect to see personal injury and medical negligence trials resume in earnest. These types of cases had been put on hold during the lockdown period because they involve multiple parties and witnesses being physically present in court to give evidence etc.

The fact that personal injury and medical negligence matters are now moving again is now unreservedly good news for people who have been waiting to have their cases dealt with; justice delayed is justice denied.

It is also hoped that much of the work of the High Court will be able to be carried out remotely from October and in this context, we hope that this will be an opportunity for the recently introduced Statements of Truth to come into their own in practice.

As part of getting High Court personal injury and medical negligence trials moving again, we now have a new Practice Direction from the Court which provides that solicitors acting for parties in court proceedings will have to:

  • obtain contact details from ALL persons attending court on behalf of the party whom they represent
  • seek their consent to the retention and the delivery up to the HSE of that information if so requested and
  • upon obtaining such consent, keep the said information safe and available for a period of four weeks following the said application or proceeding and thereafter ensure safe disposal of same in accordance with Data Protection Regulations.

So, if we are acting for you in any proceedings coming before the courts for the foreseeable future, you might note that will have to obtain and retain this information and consent and you might bear with us while we do so. Thanks in anticipation for your co-operation.

This is just another aspect of the new reality which we find part of our lives as we work our way through this pandemic; but as with getting our kids back to school, if it also allows us to get our clients’ important personal injury and medical negligence matters moving through the courts again, it seems well worth it.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

Flor McCarthy is one of Ireland’s leading lawyers, certified by the Law Society of Ireland in Data Protection Practice. Flor has extensive expertise and hands-on practical experience in privacy, data protection and GDPR issues for marketers. He was chosen as Munster Solicitor of the Year at the Irish Law Awards in 2018.