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British is Better

With very little bother or trouble, the Oireachtas could and should remedy a real and persistent injustice for many injured persons.

In Hu -v- Duleek Formwork Ltd & Anor [2013 IEHC 50,  the High Court declined to make a declaration that the Plaintiff was entitled to the benefit of an insurance contract taken out by the insolvent Defendant company. The insurance company, Aviva, took issue with the Defendant’s failure to pay the excess of €1,000 which, as between the Defendant and Aviva, it was the Defendant’s liability to pay in respect of the Plaintiff’s claim.

Aviva would not be able to do this in the UK.

Mr Hu was injured due to the Defendant’s negligence and, it seems, breach of duty. The Defendant had paid a premium to Aviva and insured itself against claims such as that of Mr. Hu. It would have got its indemnity entitlement if it had not been insolvent. Its insolvency prevented it paying the excess. Mr. Hu offered to pay the excess but Aviva would have none of that. Consequently Mr. Hu is left without compensation for his serious personal injury and Aviva have escaped paying him because there is no person to make them do it.

More than 80 years ago the UK decided that exactly these instances of  the doctrine of privity of contract, which doctrine was in essence the basis of the Irish High court decision, were indefensible and insupportable in such circumstances. Recently the UK law was updated.

All we Irish have to do is to copy what the UK has done.

The past is still here. 80 years is no excuse for perpetrating injustice; it is an inexcusable injustice. Laziness and indifference are human faults not explanations.