If you are a member of An Garda Siochana and have sustained an injury inflicted upon you (during the course of your duties or even when you are off duty), you may be entitled to compensation.*
There are strict time limits that need to be adhered to, when bringing an application under the Garda Siochana Compensation Acts. Under the 1941/45 Acts, the time limit is three months. The Minister for Justice and Equality and Defence (hereinafter “the Minister”) does have discretion to extend the time limit, although the basis upon which this discretion can be exercised is not set out in the legislation. It is always safer to assume that one has a three month time limit and any application should be made within that period if at all possible.
It is also necessary to establish the injury was
(a) Maliciously inflicted and
(b) Serious in nature (i.e. non minor).
The legislation provides that you apply to the Minister for permission to take a claim. The application for permission to take a claim is made on what is known as a Form No. 2. This is just a short form which contains basic information relating to the claim and this is submitted to the Minister.
The preliminary investigation of the claim is dealt with by Human Resources Department at Garda Headquarters. They require a medical report from all treating doctors of the member and the claim will not proceed further until reports are forwarded from the member’s doctors setting out a final prognosis. Once Garda Headquarters are happy with the reports, an appointment will then be set up with the Chief Medical Officer (hereinafter “the CMO”). The CMO may then require other consultants to be engaged. Once the CMO and other consultants reports that may be retained by him are to hand, the CMO’s report is then forwarded to Garda Headquarters.
Apart from getting medical reports, Garda Headquarters will also look to the local station where the incident occurred and was investigated for a report. This will normally be the Criminal Investigation Report with a summary on it. This report is to determine if there is malice.
If Garda Headquarters are satisfied that there was malice and the CMO has determined that the Member has sustained a serious injury, they will then prepare a report for the Department of Justice and Equality and the matter goes back to the department for a decision by the Minister as to whether or not you have permission to proceed.
The Minister may at that stage decide that your particular case should be deemed a minor injury and give consideration to not issuing consent. Before a final decision is made, you will have the opportunity to make further submissions and furnish further medical reports if necessary.
If consent is forthcoming, the Minister grants permission to proceed and you have a period of two months from the date of notification to issue proceedings in the High Court. The proceedings are issued by way of a Special Summons. You then to have to prepare a Grounding Affidavit in which you would include the circumstances of the incident, the injuries sustained and details of your out of pocket expenses. Once both sides are ready to proceed, the matter can then be called on for hearing at the Garda Compensation callover list and a date will be assigned to your case.
Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 -4275673 or [email protected] if you would like more information.
* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.