Latest News on PIAB
Re: ‘Maintenance of fairness between the strong and the weak’ – Law Society welcomes today’s High Court judgment on victims’ right to representation when dealing with PIAB
The Law Society is delighted by today’s judgment which fully vindicates the arguments made to the court by the applicant’s solicitor, Denis Boland, and the Society in this case.
The judgment confirms that legal representation exists for “the maintenance of fairness between the strong and the weak”. “The lawyer/client relationship exists in the common good”, its says, “to guarantee equality of arms.”
The judgment confirms that failure to comply with PIAB’s procedures “may be fatal to the claimant’s case”. PIAB’s procedures “…by reason of their complexity, importance and potential consequences are such as to justify, not only access to legal advice, but also such rights to legal representation as have been identified by the applicant in this case. Nor are such rights rendered irrelevant by the fact that the Board does not conduct hearings.”.
As the judgment says, “legal representation involves conduct as well as advocacy. It involves employment of skill and judgement in the obtaining of necessary information and instruction.”.
Welcoming the judgment, Law Society Director General, Ken Murphy, said:-
“The judgment shows that PIAB cannot be trusted to act fairly towards accident victims. Legal representation is necessary to guarantee the rights of victims of accidents against the interests of big business and the insurance industry that PIAB was designed to protect.
The judgment exposes the imbalance and anti-claimant bias of PIAB. It would be a very foolish claimant who would not use a solicitor in dealing with PIAB.
The judgment is a serious blow to PIAB with its anti-claimant culture. Whether PIAB has been holed above or below the waterline only time will tell.”
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