History of the Firm

Since the Firm was founded it has acted for many thousands of clients.  Some have had minor injuries, some more serious and some have sustained catastrophic injuries.  No matter how big or small your injury is Cantillons have the expertise to deal with this claim.

Our Firm's ethos is to surpass clients expectations by setting precedents, not just following them.

In each of the decades since the Firm was founded in 1980, the Firm has been involved in the cases that have yielded the highest damages in each of those decades.  Currently, the largest award in a personal injury case (in excess of €17.8m) was awarded to a client of the Firm for catastrophic birth injuries. We have achieved the highest awards in Irish legal history. We have been involved in a number of precedent making cases in these and other areas. By way of example:

Best -v- Wellcome

This groundbreaking case sought to establish, for the first time, in Europe, an association between a vaccine administered to humans and brain damage. The research in this case, including medical, scientific and factual was painstaking.  The research was so detailed that for example we examined the evidence as to how the animals who had been administered a test dose of the vaccine had performed in the drug company’s laboratory.  We looked at the weight gain of the animals (mice) to see whether or not they had gained weight after being administered the vaccine.  We discovered that a number of them had not flourished compared to those animals that had not received the vaccine.  Some mice died.  We then examined the toxicity of the vaccine.  We discovered that it was the most toxic batch that was ever issued by the drug company, Wellcome.  In litigating on behalf of this injured Plaintiff, we were faced with the might of Wellcome.  They had allied to them the insurers for the doctor who had administered the vaccine.  In addition, the State and the relevant Health Board were sued.  We were faced with formidable teams in opposition.  The case was won in the Supreme Court.  The young boy involved in this case, Kenneth Best, had suffered horrific injuries as a consequence of being administered the vaccine and he requires 24 hour care each and every day for the rest of his life.  This settlement, which was the highest ever awarded at the time, resulted in Kenneth being provided with the care which he clearly deserved.  The financial burden had been lifted for the family.

Ingle -v- HSE and Petmania

In June 2011, the team achieved the highest ever interim settlement awarded in personal injury litigation on behalf of a 22 year old from Limerick.  Patricia Ingle sustained a profound brain injury as a result of an infection contracted during the course of her employment at a pet store.  This infection was subsequently mismanaged by the Midwestern Regional Hospital, Limerick.  When we first met this young lady, Patricia was in hospital in Limerick and she faced a lifetime there.  The team carried out detailed scientific and medical investigations which resulted in us being in a position to establish to the Court that there was a cause and effect relationship between firstly her condition and her employment and secondly the subsequent mismanagement of the infection which she contracted during the course of her employment at the pet store.  The multi-million euro structured settlement award was historic in that it was the highest ever interim settlement awarded in a High Court Personal Injuries Action in the State.  The monies obtained from the settlement most importantly secured the release of this young lady from hospital to her home.  She was facilitated with rehabilitation and security for the future.  She no longer has any worries in relation to the costs of funding her care, aids, equipment, appliances, therapies and accommodation.  Outside the Court, following the settlement, this client stated, “I am so grateful for the legal assistance. Only for it, I would still be imprisoned in a hospital room through no fault of my own.”

Russell -v- HSE

With inflation, the amount of damages are constantly going up.  We pride ourselves on achieving the maximum return for our clients. In this ground breaking case, the Firm achieved a change in the method by which future damages are calculated.  This was a complex area involving research into economic issues dealing with the Real Rate of Return.  As a consequence of the decision in this case, the damages awarded to persons catastrophically injured will be far greater in the future and hopefully will provide for such persons ongoing care. 

Louise O’Keeffe -v- Ireland and the Attorney General

The Firm represented Ms. O'Keeffe in her groudbreaking case against Ireland.  Ms. O’Keeffe was sexually abused in a National School by her teacher.  The Firm pursued the case throughout the Irish Courts and ultimately to the European Court in Strasbourg where Ireland was found to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Paul O’Donoghue (a minor) -v- The Minister for Education

Our Firm has been to the forefront of establishing rights to education for persons with intellectual disabilities. We have pioneered the law in the area of education with many groundbreaking cases.  Up to the time that this case was taken, the State had taken a view that they had no obligation to educate persons with intellectual disabilities.  The State in fact argued that persons with profound intellectual disabilities were ineducable.  That was a view that was current right up to the 1990s.  Up to that point, education had been very much viewed by the Department of Education as being confined to scholastic education.  However, persons with profound intellectual disabilities will never benefit from such education. Small steps such as being taught how to dress or tie a button is education in a very real sense for persons with disabilities.

This groundbreaking case, established that persons with disabilities (no matter how profound) were capable of benefiting from education.  The case established that the State had a constitutional obligation to educate such persons and that such education was primary education.

Jamie Sinnott and Kathy Sinnott -v- The Minister for Education

These cases established that the right to a primary education did not end at the age of twelve (as the Department of Education contended) but extended to the age of eighteen for persons with intellectual disabilities.  The cases also established that if the State failed to provide such education as the person with disabilities was entitled to then that person could be entitled to significant damages.

As a result of the O’Donoghue and Sinnott cases, not alone did the young men involved (Paul and Jamie) benefit by having their education provision significantly improved, but so also did a whole range of persons with disabilities throughout the country.

The Firm has also pioneered educational litigation for persons with autism.  As a consequence of this litigation a number of specialist autistic units have been set up throughout the country.  As a consequence of this litigation the educational provision for persons with autism and other special needs have been considerably enhanced, as has the quality of life for their carers and families.

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 or proportion of any award or settlement.




Cantillons Solicitors is OPEN. We are meeting new and existing clients at our office at 39 South Mall, Cork. We have taken the necessary precautions within our office to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all those who attend at our office. For those not in a position to attend in person at our office, we can facilitate online meetings (via Zoom and Skype). Please feel free to call us on +353 21 4275673 or email us on [email protected].