ARTICLE
28 December 2023

PIAB Now Known As The Injuries Resolution Board And Offering A New Mediation Service

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Dillon Eustace

Contributor

Dillon Eustace is one of Ireland’s leading law firms focusing on financial services, banking and capital markets, corporate and M&A, litigation and dispute resolution, insurance, real estate and taxation. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, the firm’s international practice has seen it establish offices in Tokyo (2000), New York (2009) and the Cayman Islands (2012).
The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) has been renamed and will now be known as the Injuries Resolution Board.
Ireland Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration
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The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) has been renamed and will now be known as the Injuries Resolution Board.

In addition, from 14 December 2023, claimants and respondents to claims arising from workplace accidents can opt for mediation as a method of resolving employer liability claims. Over the course of 2024, the Injury Resolution Board will be making this service available for other categories of claims, including public liability claims and motor liability claims.

What is Mediation

Meditation is a dispute resolution process in which parties to a dispute, with the assistance of a mediator, attempt to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. It is a confidential and voluntary process and as such, for a mediation to go ahead, all parties to the claim have to agree to take part. Further, one or all of the parties can decide at any time during the mediation that they do not wish to continue. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the parties' legal rights are not affected. The mediator does not make any determination on the claim, with the role instead being to facilitate the parties in reaching an agreement.

Advantages of Mediation

Advantages of the process include

  • Allows for the possibility of an agreement being reached, with engagement facilitated by an independent third-party mediator.
  • The parties may avoid the risk and cost of court proceedings.
  • It is a flexible process and can promote the speedy resolution of disputes.
  • The process is confidential, and any information obtained in the mediation cannot be used elsewhere, for example in subsequent court proceedings if the mediation fails.

Consenting to Mediation

Injury Resolution Board application forms now include a new section which allows claimants to opt into mediation for applicable claims (currently only employer liability). This does not change any of the already existing application requirements but where mediation is chosen, it will be the first option advanced to resolve the claim.

For applicable claims, the formal notification to respondents/their insurers will now include a consent form that they will be required to return to the Injuries Resolution Board within 90 days of the notice issuing. The consent options provided are

  • Consent to mediation only
  • Consent to assessment only
  • Consent to both meditation and assessment
  • Decline consent to both mediation and assessment

Mediation requires express consent from the respondent and so a failure to return the consent form will mean mediation cannot proceed. To note, however, a failure to respond to the notification will continue to be deemed as consent to the assessment process.

There is no additional cost for engaging the mediation service. The expected timeline for resolution of claims in mediation is three months or less.

How will Mediation Work

If all parties consent to mediation, they will be informed of the identity of the mediator and provided with an appointment for the mediation, which will usually take place by telephone. Each party will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement and are also encouraged to complete a pre-mediation form to be provided to the mediator to assist with understanding the dispute. The parties will not need to talk directly to each other but instead will engage with the mediator who will work with the parties to attempt to seek a mutually acceptable solution. The Injuries Resolution Board have advised that the mediators will be experienced and will have knowledge of the personal injuries environment and Personal Injury Guidelines.

If the mediation is successful, the mediator will prepare a written agreement for signing by the parties. Once signed, there is a 10-day cooling off period, after which the agreement becomes legally binding. If the dispute is not resolved in the mediation, the case will move to assessment if the relevant respondent consent has been provided. The Injuries Resolution Board have advised that the assessment will be treated as a separate process, with assessors assigned to the claim having had no prior involvement in the case while it was in mediation. Where there was no consent to assessment, the Injuries Resolution Board will release the claim and the claimant may issue court proceedings.

Conclusion

The provision of a mediation service represents an expansion of the role of the Injuries Resolution Board. A mediation can explore all issues surrounding a claim which is in contrast to the assessment process where matters of liability cannot be dealt with. The speed at which the service is rolled out to other claims and the rate of uptake of the service will be awaited with interest.

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.

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