The new Garda Síochána Compensation Bill of 2012 has proposed significant alterations to the existing Garda Compensation Scheme. The new Bill seeks to reform the existing Garda Compensation Scheme which has been in existence since 1941.
Under the present Scheme, two groups of individuals are eligible to apply for compensation under the Acts, i.e.
Members of An Garda Síochána who sustain personal injuries (not causing death) maliciously inflicted upon them during the course of their duties or acting in their general capacity as a member when off duty or merely because of them being a member of An Garda Síochána.
Dependents of deceased members who were fatally injured in circumstances similar to those set out at 1 above.
Trainee Gardaí who have not completed phase IV of their training are not eligible under the Acts at the present of time.
Under the current Garda Compensation Scheme, awards are made by the High Court.
The new proposed Scheme will be administered by the State Claims Agency on behalf of the Garda Commissioner. Garda Reserve members and trainees will also have a right to apply for compensation.
The new Bill contains many of the provisions that existed under the Garda Síochána Compensation Acts of 1941 and 1945. Applications in case of death must be made within three months of death and in case of injury, within three months of the date of knowledge of the injury. The Commissioner will have the right to extend the time limits for applications in exceptional circumstances.
The Bill provides that the Garda Commissioner should pay to the Applicant such compensation as he considers reasonable. If the Applicant is dissatisfied with the award, he/she has the right to appeal the decision of the Garda Commissioner to a Judge of the High Court.
In the present scheme, it is necessary to prove that the injuries sustained were non-minor in nature. Under the new Scheme, it is proposed to include all injuries, minor or otherwise.
There are approximately 170 to 200 claims submitted each year by Gardaí under the Acts and 200 awards made annually. Unfortunately with the existing scheme, it can take anything from between three to seven years on average to have an award made by the Court and there is no facility for early settlements of cases.
It is hoped that the new Scheme proposed will help to properly compensate members injured on duty within a reasonable timeframe.
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.