IEHC 449
This was an application pursuant to Order 36, Rule 9 of the Rules of the Superior Courts to separate the hearings on the questions of liability and quantum. The application was brought by the defendant.
The plaintiff was claiming damages for personal injury arising out of a road traffic accident that occurred on the 9th September 2007, and it was pleaded that he suffered very severe injuries including head injuries that left him with severely disabling brain damage. There was a major issue on liability and also considerable questions regarding the extent of the injuries caused by the collision (in circumstances where the plaintiff had been in a previous road traffic accident on the 23rd September 2000 in respect of which he recovered general damages of €257,000, having sustained, inter alia, a major head injury.
Order 36, Rule 9 provides as follows:-
“Subject to the provisions of the preceding rules of this Order, the Court may in any cause or matter, at any time or from time to time order that different questions of fact arising therein be tried by different modes of trial, or that one or more questions of fact be tried before the others, and in all cases, may order that one or more issues of fact be tried before any other or others”.
The High Court (Ryan J.) held as follows:-
“On the face of it, this application makes good sense. It is very likely that there will be issues of considerable complexity in regard to the plaintiff’s head injuries and their consequences and causes. The relevance of that evidence is entirely contingent on the outcome of the liability issue. If that is known it may be possible for the parties to reach agreement on quantum, subject to the approval of the Court. Since liability is very much in issue, if it happens that the plaintiff fails in the action, then there would be a substantial saving of costs and inconvenience and time in scheduling the quantum issue separately”.
The court went on to comment that there was really no legitimate argument against the application and also stated that “The surprising thing is that there have not been many other applications of this kind brought by way of separate motion rather than by application in the personal injury list”.
The court almost went so far as to confirm that practices in the personal injury list are unprofessional, stating that complex brain injury cases often involve
Link to judgment on courts.ie