PIRB Act confirms increasing popularity of mediation in Ireland

by | Jan 19, 2023 | Conflict Resolution, News

The Personal Injuries Resolution Board Act 2022 was signed into law on 13th December 2022 and gives the newly renamed Personal Injuries Resolution Board (formerly PIAB – Personal Injuries Assessment Board) increased powers and options when dealing with personal injury claims.

The purpose of this reform is to encourage more claimants and respondents to avail of the Board’s amended personal injuries framework which now offers mediation as a means of resolving personal injury claims and thereby reduce the cost of litigation and ultimately insurance premiums.

The Act also introduces other measures to expand the PIRB’s remit.

The main features of the new Act are:

  • PIRB will offer mediation as a means of resolving a claim
  • PIRB will retain claims of a wholly psychological nature
  • PIRB will have addditional time to assess claims where an injury is yet to settle, rather than releasing it to litigation
  • PIRB will seek proof of identity on application and disclose information to An Garda Siochana to reduce fraud
  • PIRB will deepen its analysis and public information roles
  • The new Act will amend 51A of the Principal Act to encourage early resolution of claims and minimise costs. Now, where a claimant proceeds to litigation, an assessment that has been accepted by a respondent will have the status of an offer of tender payment, as of the date the repsondent accepted the assessment.

With regard to mediation, the new Act defines mediation (in a very similar manner to the definition of mediation in Section 2 of the Mediation Act 2017) as a “confidential, facilitative and voluntary process in which parties to a relevant claim, with the assistance of a mediator, attempt to reach a mutually acceptable agreement to resolve the relevant claim. This is in conjunction but separate to the traditional assessment process.

The new Act also sets out:

  • The Mediation Process
  • The Mediation Outcome and Report
  • Appointment of Mediators
  • Power of PIRB to make procedural rules in relation to Mediation

Under this Act, the Board, where it considers appropriate, can invite the parties to consider mediation as a means of attempting to resolve the relevant claim and provide the parties with information about the objectives and benefits of mediation in attempting to resolve the relevant claim.

The inclusion of mediation in the new Act is a welcome addition and highlights the increasing popularity of mediation as an effective and cost-efficient alternative to litigation as a method of dispute resolution.

This article is intended to provide general and not legal advice.

For further information on mediation and dispute resolution, contact Lingwood Mediation.

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