Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004

The Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 is an important piece of legislation in Ireland that addresses various aspects of civil liability, including personal injury claims and the jurisdiction of courts in certain cases.

What is Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004?

An act to provide for certain procedural and other changes in actions to recover damages for personal injuries; to provide that an action for personal injuries shall not be brought after the expiration of 2 years from the date of accrual of the cause of action or the date of knowledge of the cause of action whichever occurs later; to provide that where a plaintiff in a personal injuries action gives false evidence, the court may dismiss the plaintiff’s action; to make provision in relation to the assessment of damages in a personal injuries action; to make provision in relation to the jurisdiction of the circuit court in proceedings relating to land; to provide for the disposal of part of the funds of suitors vested in the accountant of the courts of justice; to make provision in relation to the publication of reports, and production of documents prepared for the purposes, of proceedings to be heard otherwise than in public; and, for those and other purposes, to amend the statute of limitations (amendment) act 1991, the civil liability act 1961 and certain other enactments; and to provide for related matters. [21st july 2004]



Here are the key components:

Personal Injury Claims:

  • Book of Quantum: The Act introduced the Book of Quantum, which provides guidelines for the assessment of damages in personal injury cases. It categorizes injuries and assigns a range of compensation amounts based on the severity of the injury.
  • Limitation Periods: Sets out limitation periods within which personal injury claims must be brought forward. Typically, plaintiffs have two years from the date of the incident (or the date of knowledge of the injury) to initiate legal proceedings.

Jurisdiction of Courts:

  • Increase in Jurisdictional Limits: The Act increased the jurisdictional limits for the District Court and Circuit Court in civil matters, allowing these courts to handle a broader range of cases involving varying amounts of compensation.

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • Costs and Legal Fees: Introduces provisions regarding costs and legal fees in court proceedings, including rules aimed at regulating legal costs to prevent excessive fees.
  • Liability of Public Authorities: Addresses the liability of public authorities for negligence, outlining procedures for claims against such entities.

Impact on Personal Injury Cases:

The Act aimed to streamline the process of personal injury claims, particularly by introducing the Book of Quantum as a reference for assessing damages. It also aimed to alleviate the burden on higher courts by increasing the jurisdictional limits of lower courts to handle a larger number of civil cases.

Influence on Litigation:

The Act has had a significant impact on personal injury litigation in Ireland by providing clearer guidelines for compensation assessment, setting time limits for claims, and altering the court structure’s jurisdictional boundaries. It aimed to create more efficiency in the legal process while ensuring fair compensation for personal injury cases.

Overall, the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 sought to bring about reforms in civil liability matters, especially in personal injury claims, by introducing measures to standardize compensation assessments and regulate court jurisdictions.


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