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Don’t be so negative

In everyday life we must, and try to, say what we mean. This is doubly the case in giving evidence. Look at this: QUESTION;   You didn’t call out for help? REPLY:           No. By this reply, the witness has now sworn that he/she DID call out for help. We see this if we express the intended reply at length – “Yes, I did not call out for help” (or, “I did not call out for help”). Counsel must be careful of […]

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Injustice

What is the economic cost of a proper defence? Inevitably, it will vary from case to case, but Clive Stafford Smith estimates that 1,000 hours will be needed for the task. That’s 83 days. Now assume an hourly rate for the lawyer at €300 (because that is less than the rate allowed by the Irish High Court for some company liquidators) and we can work out the cost of the defence, – €300,000.

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High Court Personal Injury trials

If a Defendant knows that the system will deliver a judgment for the Plaintiff and knows what the compensation for the Plaintiff is likely to be only two issues remain to be vouchsafed; that the costs will increase with the passing of time and that those costs will have to be met by the Defendant.

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Flying a Balloon?

The Gardaí have had a history of their own difficulties with search warrants and the like.

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Conventional Wisdom

We don’t know. The reason we don’t know is that it has not been considered. The question is not one of fact; it is an issue to be decided by Irish society. Irish society has decided the issue already and that is reflected in the status quo. The status quo is this; a civil trial in Ireland is a contest and counsel for the parties will and does decide what and how much evidence should be adduced in a trial.

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Medical Accidents

The frequency with which patients are injured in Irish hospitals is very high. The current estimate is of 160,000 per year. Who knows the exact figure? Presumably, the Health Service Executive does. If it does, why is that information not made public? If it does not know, why does it not know? Let us assume that the HSE is a competent body and infused with goodwill towards the patients. Would it not be a good idea to try to eliminate […]

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You Know What I Mean…

Readers will have seen reference HERE to a plea in a medical negligence case as to the meaning of a “consent” signed by the patient (who was having an operation to make her sterile). In Fitzpatrick v National Maternity Hospital [2008] IEHC 62 the Defendant claimed that the mother (in labour) declined an episiotomy or a forceps-assisted birth (leading to the damage to the infant). The court rejected this plea, and rejected the evidence of the Defendant, intended to evidence […]

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Litigation

Failure to settle a case, or failure to settle until “the door of the court” may be caused by a failure to assess where the balance in the case lies, or it may be evidence of a deferment of settlement to the day of trial to maximize the compensation discount a defendant would like to get from an injured plaintiff.

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Car Accident (Gotcha?)

The Defendant driver admitted he did not see the Plaintiff pedestrian. The Plaintiff was an admirable witness, given that he was thrown into the air by the Defendant’s taxi. The Defendant gave evidence of the Plaintiff’s head hitting his windscreen. The judgment does not record the Plaintiff’s evidence in detail on the point, but if it was tendered it would probably have been in terms of the Defendant’s windscreen hitting him on the head.

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The Viewing

From an evidential point of view this is equivalent to looking at the murder weapon in a criminal trial, or looking at a large machine which cannot be brought to court with convenience.

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