Jurisdiction of the High Court over the Cervical Check Tribunal

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Jurisdiction of the High Court over the Cervical Check Tribunal

Published 30 marzo 2023

In the Matter of the Cervical Check Tribunal Act 2019 -J.M and S.M v Health Service Executive, Medlab Pathology Limited and Clinical Pathology Laboratories Incorporated 2022 IEHC 401

This is a case taken through the CervicalCheck Tribunal where a settlement was reached between the Plaintiff and one of the Defendants at mediation and just prior to the Tribunal hearing date. While DAC Beachcroft Dublin were involved in the underlying case, they were not involved in this application as they were not a party to the settlement.

Two daughters brought a claim for damages arising out of what they say was the wrongful death of their mother following cervical cancer. The claim was brought on behalf of all the statutory dependents of the deceased which included: four children, five grandchildren and four siblings. Three of the five grandchildren were under eighteen and therefore the settlement needed to be ruled as it included a payment of solatium to the statutory dependants. In addition, one of the four children had lost contact for over eighteen years with his other siblings and, in circumstances where he was not on notice of the proposed settlement in a fatal injuries case, it was considered necessary to bring this to the attention of the Court, particularly as an immediate relative of the deceased.

The issue that arose was that there was no provision in the CervicalCheck Tribunal Act (which established the Tribunal) to approve an agreed settlement. The dilemma represented a novel jurisdictional issue where the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to approve a compromised settlement and in circumstances where there are no proceedings before the Court. The question was whether the High Court had jurisdiction to approve the proposed settlement.

While the CervicalCheck Tribunal shall hear and determine cases in the same manner as the High Court, it follows that the provisions of the Civil Liability Act, 1961 that relate to fatal injuries claims are also applied by the CervicalCheck Tribunal. As such, in this particular case, given the statutory dependents involved minors and an absent relative, this case had to be approved and ruled by the High Court.

Mr Justice Simons determined that the High Court had a supervisory role under the CervicalCheck Tribunal Act, 2019 and as such enjoyed an implicit jurisdiction to rule upon a proposed settlement of a fatal injuries claim in circumstances where there were vulnerable family members involved. This decision is very helpful in clarifying the Court’s jurisdiction involving settlements agreed between parties where there are no proceedings are before the Court.


Niamh McKeever

Niamh McKeever


+ 353 1 231 9697

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