Burglars will no longer be able to claim for sustaining injuries
The Cabinet has agreed to change insurance laws to make it harder for personal injury claimants to take legal action against businesses and community groups
This move will also limit the circumstances in which a court can impose liability on the occupier of premises where a person has entered to commit an offence.
The amendments are intended to reduce the cost of insurance coverage.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee said she had Cabinet support to amend the Occupiers Liability Act to rebalance the duty of care.
It comes as courts have repeatedly been accused of imposing an absolute duty of care on businesses, charities, sports clubs and community groups, and of ignoring the role played by the injured party themselves.
Duty of care refers to the obligations imposed on people to act towards others in a certain way, in accordance with certain standards.
Ms McEntee said occupiers’ duty of care responsibilities must be balanced with personal responsibilities, including those of consumers.
The proposed reforms include voluntary assumption of risk.
The reforms envisaged also include the insertion into primary law of a certain number of recent court decisions which rebalance the duty of vigilance of the occupants towards visitors and recreational users.
There is also agreement to amend the standard to clarify that where the occupier of a property has acted recklessly towards a visitor or customer, the standard of recklessness rather than reasonable grounds should apply. apply to any consideration of liability.
The amendments are intended to limit the circumstances in which a court may impose liability on the occupier of premises where a person has entered there for the purpose of committing an offence.
And the legislative changes will allow for a wider range of scenarios where a visitor or customer can be shown to have voluntarily assumed a risk resulting in harm.
Minister McEntee said: ‘There is a shared determination across government to remove the barrier that high insurance costs have on our economy and our communities – on our community groups, community event organizers and businesses .
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the new legislation was part of a plan to make insurance more available and cheaper for customers, community groups, clubs and businesses and to give them more choices of insurers.
Peter Boland of the Insurance Reform Alliance said the broad outlines of the proposals for reforming due diligence legislation appear balanced, fair, practical and proportionate.
“We welcome them and look forward to seeing the detailed proposals. Speed is now essential to evolve these proposals into operational legislation,” he said.
He said the government “needs to be prepared and resist the fierce opposition from personal injury lawyers, just as they are currently seeking to derail court directives with constitutional and other challenges at this time.”
“Avocados won’t give up the goose easily,” he said.