Claims agency explains delays

Agency responded to criticism from Ms Justice Mary Irvine

A spokesman for the agency was responding to queries from The Irish Times after Ms Justice Mary Irvine said the case of the family of Dhara Kivlehan against the HSE was the third in a week whereby the HSE had admitted liability – but had “held out almost to the bitter end”.

A spokesman for the agency was responding to queries from The Irish Times after Ms Justice Mary Irvine said the case of the family of Dhara Kivlehan against the HSE was the third in a week whereby the HSE had admitted liability – but had “held out almost to the bitter end”.

Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 01:06


The State Claims Agency has said long delays in relation to admissions of liability are due to the nature of assessing “expert medical evidence” in relation to cases.

A spokesman for the agency was responding to queries from The Irish Times after Ms Justice Mary Irvine said the case of the family of Dhara Kivlehan against the HSE was the third in a week whereby the HSE had admitted liability – but had “held out almost to the bitter end”.

He said he did not wish to comment on any of the specific cases “other than to note that Judge Irvine said in court this afternoon that she would withdraw any criticism that she had made earlier today regarding the late concession of liability in the case Michael Kivlehan versus the HSE”.

“The policy of admitting liability in medical negligence cases is to admit liability when the expert medical evidence indicates that there has been a breach of duty in any particular case.

“The commissioning of such expert medical evidence may take considerable time and may involve commissioning multiple reports from experts in different specialties, having regard to the complexity of individual cases.” He added that the High Court medical negligence working group, on which the agency is represented, has produced two recent reports “advocating changes to the rules of superior courts and the adoption of pre-action protocols with the specific aim to significantly reduce the period of time to resolve medical negligence cases”.

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