Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003

Discretion of Board not to arrange for making of assessment.

17

17.—(1) Despite—

( a) the making by a respondent of a statement referred to in section 14(1)(a) , or

( b) the fact that a failure by him or her of the kind referred to in section 14(1)(b) has occurred,

the Board shall not be required to arrange for the making of an assessment under section 20 of the relevant claim concerned (or, as appropriate, shall discontinue any such assessment the making of which it has arranged) if—

(i) in its opinion, there does not exist, or there has not been previously entered into, in relation to the type of personal injury or injuries to which the relevant claim relates, a sufficient body of case law or, as the case may be, a sufficient number of settlements to which regard may be had by the assessors for the purpose of making such an assessment, or

(ii) in its opinion, it would not be appropriate to do so—

(I) because of the particular complexity of the issues that would require to be addressed were an assessment of the relevant claim to be made such as (without limiting the generality of this clause) issues involving the interaction between each of a number of injuries the claimant alleges he or she sustained in the accident or incident concerned or the interaction between one or more such injuries and any existing condition or disease the claimant suffered from or any injury he or she previously sustained, or

(II) because the injury or injuries alleged to be sustained consist wholly or in part of psychological damage the nature or extent of which it would be difficult to determine by the means of assessment to which the assessors are limited to employing by this Act, or

(III) because aggravated or exemplary damages are bona fide (and not for the purpose of circumventing the operation of this Act) sought to be recovered in the relevant claim, or

(IV) in case the relevant claim arises out of a trespass to the person, because the making of an assessment of the claim by the means to which assessors are limited to employing by this Act would not respect the dignity of the claimant, or

(V) because the gravity of any injury or illness of the claimant is such that, were proceedings to be brought in respect of his or her relevant claim, an early trial of the claim would, in the Board’s opinion, be ordered to be held to meet the contingency of the claimant's dying before the time the claim would otherwise, in the ordinary course of events, come on for trial,

or

(iii) in its opinion, the period of time for which the making of such an assessment would have to be deferred (in order for a long term prognosis in respect of the personal injury or injuries to which the relevant claim relates to be made) would be likely to result in section 49 not being complied with, or

(iv) in its opinion, the person purporting to act as a next friend, or as the case may be, a guardian of the claimant or a respondent has a conflict of interest in the matter, or otherwise would not be entitled to act as a next friend or guardian of the claimant or respondent were the relevant claim to be the subject of proceedings, and steps are unlikely to be taken in a timely fashion to secure an appropriate replacement for him or her, or

(v) in its opinion, the relevant claim falls within a class of relevant claims as respects which the Board has, with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, for the time being declared there to be other good and substantial reasons for its not arranging the making of such an assessment in respect of F8 [ them, or ]

F9 [ (vi) the notice under section 13(1)(b) on the person or each of the persons who the claimant alleges in the application is or are liable to him or her in respect of the relevant claim cannot be served on, or given, or issued to the person in accordance with section 79 , or

(vii) the respondent has notified the Board of his or her intention not to accept the assessment when made, or

(viii) in its opinion, the relevant claim falls within a class of relevant claims to which Regulation (EC) No. 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 1 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II) applies, or

(ix) in its opinion, the relevant claim falls within a class of relevant claims where a settlement has been negotiated for the benefit of a minor or person of unsound mind (including a dependant minor or person of unsound mind where the relevant claim arises from fatal injuries) to be approved by the court. ]

(2) As soon as may be after the Board forms an opinion referred to in any of paragraphs (i) to (v) of subsection (1), the Board shall record that opinion in writing and the reasons therefor.

(3) In addition to the grounds specified in subsection (1) for its not doing so, the Board may, in its discretion, decide not to arrange for the making of an assessment under section 20 of a relevant claim if a charge imposed by it pursuant to regulations under section 22(1) on a respondent has not been paid to it; any such decision shall be recorded in writing by the Board as soon as may be after it is made.

(4) It shall be the duty of the Board, as soon as may be after recording an opinion or a decision referred to in subsection (1) or (3), to issue to the claimant concerned a document that contains the statement and operates to have the effect mentioned in subsection (6) .

(5) Such a document is also referred to in this Act as an “authorisation”.

(6) An authorisation under this section shall state that the claimant is authorised to, and operate to authorise the claimant to, bring proceedings in respect of his or her relevant claim.

(7) If an authorisation would fall to be issued under both—

( a) this section, and

( b) but for this subsection, section 14 as it has effect by virtue of section 15 ,

then an authorisation shall only be issued under this section.