Following the Supreme Court judgement of Zalewski – v – Adjudication Officer and WRC, Ireland and the Attorney General 2021.
As a result of the judgement on the 6th April 2021, a number of changes will now take place in WRC Hearings.
The WRC Hearings will now be open to the public and the names of the parties will be published whereas prior to this judgement, Hearings were not open to the public and the names of the parties were not published. Where there is serious or direct conflict of evidence between the two parties, an amendment is being made to the WRC Act 2015 to give the adjudication officer the power to administer an oath or affirmation, and to provide for sanctions for the giving of false evidence. This legislation is not yet in place and currently cases are being adjourned if there is a serious and direct conflict of evidence until this legislation is enacted.
See the below link for further detail in relation to the above.
On the 6th March 2021 the Judicial Council (made up of all judges in the country) voted to adopt new guidelines which are aimed at reducing general damages awards for some personal injuries particularly the injuries which they describe as “minor injuries”. Prior to this, the guidelines in relation to personal injuries could be found in the Book of Quantum which gave general guidelines as to the amount of compensation to be awarded or assessed for personal injuries. This Book of Quantum is now to be replaced by the Personal Injury Guidelines. The proposals are to be brought to cabinet tomorrow the 9th March and will take affect once the minister commences Section 99 of the 2019 Judicial Council Act.
Once the guidelines come into effect the guidelines will apply to any personal injury action which is currently with the Injuries Board. The guidelines will not apply to any action which is no longer with the Injuries Board (having not been assessed or either party having rejected the assessment). Whilst judges retain their discretion in these particular actions it is envisaged that they will have regard to the recommendation in the judicial guideline.
At the moment it appears that the guidelines relate to “minor injuries” and does not as yet appear to relate to other types of what are described as “more severe injuries”. A definitive list of the guidelines will be published and we will include this on the website. The link below highlights examples of the type of changes to the awards being proposed.
A question which we are frequently asked in Bruce St. John Blake is whether an employer is obliged to pay an employee who is injured in an accident at work.
There is no legal obligation on an employer to pay an employee’s wages despite the fact that the injury occurred at work. In this situation, the injured employee is only entitled to Social Welfare payment from the state.
The exception to this position is where there is a condition in the contract of employment where the company agrees to pay the employee’s wages whilst he/she is off work due to the injuries for whatever length of time stated in the contract.
Similarly, the medical or hospital expenses may be paid by the employer, but again there is no obligation to do so unless provided for in the contract of employment. Also, some employers might pay all or part of the medical expenses but decline to pay the loss of earnings.
However, the loss of earnings and medical expenses will often form part of a claim in the event that the employee makes a claim to the injuries board or in any legal proceedings.