Ireland: Dispute Resolution Update: Draft Periodic Payment Orders Bill Published

On 27 May 2015 Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, published the long awaited general scheme of the Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill 2015 which provides a statutory basis for the award of Periodic Payment Orders, instead of a lump sum, to catastrophically injured plaintiffs.

The risks inherent in the 'lump sum' approach, which were identified in the High Court's Working Group on Medical Negligence and Periodic Payments (2011), have long been the subject of judicial frustration. It poses risks to Plaintiffs with regard to:

  • 'investment risk', where the lump sum does not maintain its capital value;
  • 'mortality risk', where the Plaintiff outlives his expected life expectancy; and
  • 'inflation risk', where inflation runs higher than was predicted at the time of the award. It also presents a risk to Defendants, for example in cases where a Plaintiff dies earlier than predicted, there is no recourse to recover the 'unspent' remainder of the lump sum.

The recently published Periodic Payment Orders ("PPOs") Bill makes a number of key proposals to address these shortcomings and to ensure financial security for those who require long term care.

Key Proposals

  • While PPOs will apply to public and private defendants, the court must be satisfied that continued payment is 'reasonably secure' (see below).
  • PPOs will only apply to catastrophic injuries, defined as "a severe injury, involving serious impairment, the direct and proximate cause of which requires the plaintiff to receive life-long, permanent care and assistance". The definition is not based on a specific financial threshold or on the size of the award.
  • The decision whether to make a PPO will be at the court's discretion, having considered both the plaintiff's and defendant's preferences, as well as the needs of the plaintiff.
  • A PPO can still be made with the consent of the parties, but will be subject to approval by the court.
  • In deciding whether or not to make a PPO, a 'best interests' test will apply.
  • The PPO will encompass the costs of the plaintiff's future medical treatment, care, assistive technology, aids and appliances. It will not include future loss of earnings unless the parties consent.
  • The PPO can be increased or decreased (a 'stepped PPO') at specified times to account for changes in the plaintiff's circumstances, such as starting education, although the stepped PPO must be specific as to when the increased/decreased amount takes effect, and by how much.
  • To protect against inadequate future funding, the Bankruptcy Act 1988 will be amended to put a claimant's award beyond the reach of creditors in the event of him/her becoming bankrupt later in life.
  • Payments will be indexed to the Irish Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices as published by the Central Statistics Office, which will be reviewed at 5 year intervals.
  • The Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003 will be amended to allow the Board to make awards in the form of periodic payments, subject to the provisions of the proposed legislation.
  • Under Section 17 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004, a section 17 Formal Offer must now specify the portions of the offer which are attributable to future pecuniary loss and must be broken down into future medical treatment, future care, assistive technology or future loss of earnings. The formal offer will not apply to the costs of the proceedings which are attributable to any head of loss the subject of the PPO. However, when assessing costs attributable to these heads, the court will still be able to take into account any formal offers, or any other offers, made by the parties.

Security of future periodic payments: the position of private insurers

The court can only make a PPO if it is satisfied that the continuity of payment is reasonably secure (Head 51J). The draft Bill recognises payments through the State Claims Agency as providing such security. However, the position of non-State and private defendants is less clear.

The Working Group had recognised that such defendants may face difficulties demonstrating such security and while it considered a number of mechanisms by which such security could be guaranteed it ultimately recommended one of two options:

  • The provision by the National Treasury Management Agency of annuities to private insurers and others.
  • The introduction of a statutory scheme whereby payments made under PPOs would be statutorily protected and fully guaranteed.

The draft Bill does not advance either of those schemes. Instead, it proposes what it refers to as the Department of Finance's preferred mechanism for guaranteeing payments under a PPO, that the court be only permitted to make a PPO in respect of a non-State and private defendant if the PPO is eligible for payment from the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) or if the defendant can provide evidence it can guarantee security "by some other means".

To facilitate the involvement of the ICF, Head 51L abolishes the current limits which apply to pay-outs from the ICF in respect of meeting liabilities from PPOs. Any defendant not covered by the ICF, however, will have to prove on a case-by-case basis that it can guarantee continuity of payment. The "some other means" referred to above is not particularly well fleshed out in the draft Bill other than authorising the court to take account of whether the proposed mechanism is capable of making equal payments to the plaintiff over his/her lifetime and taking into account the likely effects of inflation over the plaintiff's lifetime.

The proposals will now go to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality for further scrutiny and to provide a further opportunity for the views of stakeholders to be heard. It will then go through the normal legislative process. Enactment is expected before the end of the year. In a related development the Department is currently drawing up proposals on pre-action protocols in medical negligence cases, also due for enactment later this year.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.