Cause for Celebration

We had the wonderful news this week of our first day in so many with no deaths reported from Covid-19.

This really is worthy of celebration and something of which we should all be proud of the collective effort that made it happen. Well done you!

It is of course particularly poignant that this achievement is framed by the loss of so many of our fellow citizens and there is no getting over the great tragedy of that. But still, we have all done our bit and made sacrifices over a very long and difficult period, and it is good, at last, to see a positive result coming from all of that hard work.

Now that the conditions seem to be making it possible to do so, we are continuing our preparations to move towards opening up again.

Like everything else that is happening in the opening up of society, this is likely to be gradual and done in phases.

The courts are returning to activity; though the volumes of cases being dealt with are significantly reduced and are likely to remain so for some time. Cases requiring multiple witnesses to give evidence, such as personal injury and medical negligence cases, will be among the most difficult to accommodate with social distancing requirements and so we will just have to see what progress in the court lists will be like as the courts return to work.

There are other complicating factors that prevent cases from moving forward, non-urgent physical medical examinations are not currently going ahead which makes the preparation of essential medical reports impossible in many cases for the time being.

Similarly, physical inspections of accident scenes by engineers cannot go ahead in most cases and we are likely to have to work around practical issues like these for the foreseeable future.

We can still start claims on your behalf and it is vitally important if you do have a claim not to put doing something about it off because of the lockdown as legal time limits continue to run.

And while we can also keep much of the legal paperwork that needs to happen in the background in our client’s cases moving behind closed doors, there is one key stumbling block: affidavits. Affidavits are documents that are used to confirm the facts in every case. They are essential to progress in the legal process, both in litigation and in non-contentious matters like probate and enduring powers of attorney.

But affidavits must currently be sworn on oath in the physical presence of a commissioner for oaths. This involves multiple meetings that, in the context of the current pandemic, are frankly inadvisable and should be capable of being avoided. There is a very simple solution: to replace sworn affidavits with statements of truth and we have started a campaign to call on the new government about to be formed to make this change.

We now have over 400 signatures to this petition and if you haven’t already signed it, I’d really appreciate your support. You can learn more and sign the petition here.

Our first priority is to ensure that everything that we do as we move towards opening back up again is to ensure the safety of our team and our great clients.

We are currently planning to commence the process of opening back up again on 8 June in line with Government guidelines. We are working away in the background to prepare all of that for you to be able to do so safely.

We will provide more details on exactly how we will be doing all of that for you closer to the date.

Meanwhile, I hope you have a wonderful long weekend! The weather’s looking good; I hope you get an opportunity to get out there safely and enjoy it.

In contentious business, a legal practitioner shall not charge any amount in respect of legal costs expressed as a percentage or proportion of any damages (or other moneys) that may become payable to his or her client or purport to set out the legal costs to be charged to a junior counsel as a specified percentage or proportion of the legal costs paid to a senior counsel. A legal practitioner shall not without the prior written agreement of his or her client deduct or appropriate any amount in respect of legal costs from the amount of any damages or moneys that become payable to the client in respect of legal services that the legal practitioner provided to the client.

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.