State Claims Agency costs up €3.6 million

Public liability cases taking longer to settler but employer liability claims settled quicker

 Minister for Finance  Michael Noonan: said the State Claims Agency  was mandated to ensure the liability of the State ‘is contained at the lowest possible level’. File Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: said the State Claims Agency was mandated to ensure the liability of the State ‘is contained at the lowest possible level’. File Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 12:26

Total legal costs for the State Claims Agency rose by €3.6 million between 2012 and 2013.

The agency, which manages personal injury and property damage claims against the State, had legal costs totalling €39,096,582 in 2012 and €42,757,540 last year.

These figures included €21.9 million in fees to solicitors in 2012 to defend claims managed by the agency, which rose to €24.3 million last year.

The figures were released in a written parliamentary reply by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary.

Public liability cases currently take an average of three years to complete, an increase from 2.4 years since 2011, while employer liability cases take 3.7 years, down from 4.1 years in 2011. Third-party property damage cases take 350 days, up from 335 days in 2011, while clinical claims take an average of four years, up from 2.9 years.

Mr Noonan said the agency was mandated to ensure the liability of the State “is contained at the lowest possible level”. The agency “has a strong track record in reducing the cost of managing claims under its remit”.

The agency directly employs 20 solicitors and two barristers; 12 of the solicitors are employed as specialists in clinical negligence claims.