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Minister expects action on personal injury awards ‘early next year’

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan expects to see action from the Judicial Council on the issue of high personal injury awards by “early next year”.

The council, which is in the process of being set up, has been tasked with “recalibrating” awards for less serious injuries, such as whiplash.

A report by the Personal Injuries Commission last year said compensation for whiplash claims in Ireland was over four times the level found in England and Wales.

“I am very keen that early next year we will see real progress on this important issue,” said Mr Flanagan.

The minister said there was an “urgent need to ensure a greater level of consistency and the bringing down of awards in some personal injury cases”.

He also expressed concern about revelations in an unpublished Mater Hospital study, which found over 90pc of whiplash patients failed to return for additional treatment once their legal action was completed. The minister’s comments come amid ongoing concern that high awards are fuelling insurance premiums and forcing businesses to close.

He expects the council to be up and running by the end of the year and hoped it would “at the very earliest date early in the new year deal urgently with personal injury claims”.