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Dublin - Health Matters – July 2021

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By Niamh McKeever, Aisling Crowley, Laurence Mulligan & Claire Morrissey


Published 15 July 2021


Case law Healthcare developments of interest this month include:

1. Vicarious Liability and Non-Delegable Duties in Healthcare Claims

The issues of vicarious liability and non-delegable duties have been both interlinked and evolving over the past number of years, particularly in the healthcare sphere.  Traditionally, the independent contractor had been viewed as a separate entity, both economically and from a liability perspective, from the principal.

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2. Reduction in levels of Personal Injuries awards

The Judicial Council Personal Injuries Guidelines were introduced in Ireland on 24 April 2021. These guidelines will apply to all personal injury cases to include medical negligence cases. The aim of these Guidelines is to reduce the level of damages in personal injury actions.  

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3. Court of Appeal Calls for Reform of Management of Medical Negligence Cases

In their recent decision in McCormack v Timlin and others, the Court of Appeal have considered a number of significant procedural and legal issues arising in complex and significantly contested professional negligence proceedings. 

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4. The Extent to Which Defendants Must Provide Particulars of a "Bald Denial" in Their Defence

In the case of Crean v Harty, HSE and South Infirmary – Victoria Hospital Cork Limited [2020] IECA 364, the central issue before the Court of Appeal was the extent to which s.13(1) (b) of the Civil Liability and Courts Act, 2004 (the “Act”) obliges a Defendant in a Personal Injuries action to provide particulars of a denial pleaded in their defence.

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5. Ireland’s first National Research Ethics Committees Established 

The Minister for Health has appointed the membership of Ireland’s first National Research Ethics Committees (NRECs) in the areas of Clinical Trials of Investigational Medicinal Products (NREC-CT) and Clinical Investigations of Medical Devices (NREC-MD).

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6. High Court Orders Discovery of Post-Accident Medical Records

In the case of McCorry v McCorry [2021] IEHC 104, the High Court granted an Order for post-accident discovery of a plaintiff’s medical records in a personal injuries action and reaffirmed the position that post-accident discovery may be granted in line with the usual rules of discovery.

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7. Vaccinations Claims Update

It is not that long ago since the last official pandemic. In 2009, just 12 years ago, the World Health Organization declared a swine flu (H1N1) pandemic. The predominant vaccines used to combat that virus were Pandemrix and Celvapan. Health Service Executive (“HSE”) clinics and GPs administered over 900,000 doses of Pandemrix in Ireland.

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