Lawyers are stymieing reforms of the insurance industry and the way the courts deal with compensation claims, an Oireachtas committee will be told on Thursday.
In what is expected to be a strongly worded submission, Isme, the small and medium business representative organisation, will tell the committee that in every instance where the interests of ordinary citizens and small businesses collide with the legal profession, interventions by lawyers ensure the profession invariably wins out.
Offence of perjury
Isme will say that lying under oath is facilitated by the absence of a statutory offence of perjury and that some lawyers cynically encourage false claims by what the business group will term a "form of legalised extortion".
It will say that if the Garda is unable to investigate lying under oath and pursue the white collar crime of fraudulent claims, a dedicated agency should be given the task.
The committee will also be addressed by the Alliance for Insurance Reform, which says insurance costs are “crippling”.
The alliance represents 26 civic and business organisations and has over 36,000 members, with 639,000 employees.
“Small businesses are now closing on a weekly basis,” Ms Murray said in a statement, “and members right across the spectrum are reporting savage increases in liability insurance renewals. Businesses across the leisure, childcare and hospitality areas are threatened. It is clear to us that the dead hand of vested interests and a lack of sufficient political will are grinding the response to the crisis to a halt.”
The alliance wants a dedicated Garda Insurance Fraud Unit, the recalibration of the book of quantum, which sets indicative monetary amounts for particular personal injuries, to reflect international norms and norms already established by the Court of Appeal and a commitment by insurers to a schedule of premium reductions if necessary reforms are made.