Crilly v T and J Farrington Ltd

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMrs. Justice Denham,Murray, J.,Mrs Justice McGuinness,FENNELLY J.
Judgment Date11 July 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] IESC 60
CourtSupreme Court
Docket Number[1990 No. 7308P.; S.C. Nos. 11 and 28 of 2000]
Date11 July 2001
CRILLY v. T & J FARRINGTON LTD & ORS

BETWEEN

DEREK CRILLY
PLAINTIFF

and

T. & J. FARRINGTON LIMITED and JOHNO'CONNOR
DEFENDANTS
AND IN THE MATTER OF AN ISSUE DIRECTED
TO BE TRIED

BETWEEN

THE EASTERN HEALTH BOARD
CLAIMANT/APPELLANT

and

DEREK CRILLY
FIRST NAMED RESPONDENT

and

FBD INSURANCE PLC
SECOND NAMED RESPONDENT

[2001] IESC 60

Denham J.

Murphy J.

Murray J.

McGuinness J.

Fennelly J.

APPEAL NO. 11/00
APPEAL NO. 28/00
NO. 730SP/1990

THE SUPREME COURT

Synopsis:

HEALTH

Hospital charges

Negligence - Personal injuries - Statutory interpretation - Statutory provision for charges to be levied by health boards in relation to persons injured in road traffic accidents - System of charging - Previous enactment provided for standard charge in relation to such services - "Kinlen Order" - Plaintiff injured in road traffic accident - Whether hospital charges payable at standard rate or on quantum meruit basis - Whether statements of minister in Dáil relevant to interpretation of statute - Health (Amendment) Act, 1986 section 2 - Health Act, 1970 (11 & 28/2000 - Supreme Court - 11/7/01)

Crilly v TJ Farrington Ltd - [2001] 3 IR 267 - [2002] 1 ILRM 161

The assessment of hospital charges under Section 2 of the Health (Amendment) 1986, Act was properly made on a quantum meruit basis rather than by reference to the standard maintenance charges provided for by the Health Act, 1970 (in respect of hospital services provided by health boards to persons who are not eligible to avail of them free of charge), or by reference to an averaging of costs of hospital beds. So held by the High Court in refusing the application of the Health Board. On appeal, Mrs. Justice Denham, delivering the leading judgment held that the charge imposed must be a reasonable one. The methodology proposed by the Health Board i.e. that of averaging, was reasonable and consistent. The appeal would be allowed. A note of caution was however sounded by the court regarding the use of ministerial statements in construing and interpreting statutes.

Citations:

HEALTH (AMDT) ACT 1986 S2

CRILLY V T& J FARRINGTON 2000 1 ILRM 548

HEALTH ACT 1970 S52

HEALTH ACT 1970 S55

HEALTH (AMDT) ACT 1986 S2(1)

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT 1988 S157

DPP, PEOPLE V MCDONAGH 1996 1 IR 565

HEALTH ACT 1970 S4

HEALTH (AMDT) ACT 1986 S2(1)

CONSTITUTION ART 15

CONSTITUTION ART 28

CONSTITUTION ART34

HEALTH (AMDT) ACT 1986 S2(2)

CASSIDY V MIN FOR INDUSTRY 1978 IR 297

MIXNAMS PROPERTIES V CHERTSEY URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL (UDC) 1964 1 QB 214

MCGABHANN V LAW SOCIETY 1989 ILRM 854

PEPPER V HART 1993 1 AER 42

WAVIN PIPES V HEPWORTH IRON CO LTD 1982 FSR 32

BOURKE V AG 1972 IR 36

NATIONAL IRISH BANK, RE 1999 1 ILRM 321

LAWLOR V FLOOD UNREP KEARNS 2.7.1999 1999/15/4583

BENNION STATUTORY INTERPRETATION 3ED 9

CRAIES STATUTE LAW 7ED 128

MILLER V TAYLOR 1769 4 BURR 2303

HERRON V RATHMINES & RATHGAR IMPROVEMENT COMMISSIONER 27 LRIR 179

HERRON V RATHMINES & RATHGAR IMPROVEMENT COMMISSIONER 1892 AC 498

PEPPER V HART 1993 1 AER 42

US V PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF CALIFORNIA 1953 345 US 295

R V SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT 2001 1 AER 195

DPP V MCDONAGH 1996 2 ILRM 468

EXTRADITION ACT 1965

EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON EXTRADITION 1957 ART 3

CRAIES STATUTE LAW 7ED 126

US V AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATION 1940 310 US 534

DPP V QUILLIGAN (NO 1) 1986 IR 496

HOWARD V COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS IN IRELAND 1993 IR 101

MAXWELL ON THE INTERPRETATION OF STATUTES 12ED 28

CONSTITUTION ART 15.1.2

CONSTITUTION ART 15.2.1

CONSTITUTION ART 25.1

CONSTITUTION ART 25.2.1

CONSTITUTION ART 25.4.1

CONSTITUTION ART 26

CONSTITUTION ART 6

BLACKSTONE COMMENTARIES ON THE LAWS OF ENGLAND 59

INTERPRETATION ACT 1937 S11(g)

EAST DONEGAL CO-OP V AG 1970 IR 317

ADOPTION (NO 2) BILL 1987, RE 1989 IR 656

IN THE MATTER OF ART 26 OF THE CONSTITUTION & S5 & S10 OF THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) BILL 1999 2000 2 IR 360

MCMAHON V AG 1972 IR 69

MAHER V AG 1973 IR 140

BEECHAM GROUP LTD V BRISTOL MYERS LTD 1983 IR 325

PEPPER V HART 1993 AC 593

VIENNA CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF TREATIES 1969 ART 32

VIENNA CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF TREATIES 1969 ART 31

FOTHERGILL V MONARCH AIRLINES 1981 AC 251

LAW REFORM COMMISSION CONSULTATION PAPER ON STATUTORY DRAFTING AND INTERPRETATION: PLAIN LANGUAGE & THE LAW CP14–1999

1

Mrs. Justice Denhamon the 11th day of July, 2001

1. Issues
2

In this case the matter for decision is whether the method of calculation of the charge payable under s. 2 of the Health (Amendment) Act, 1986, namely, the calculation of charge by the division of annual hospital costs by the number of occupied hospital bed days during the same year, as used by the Eastern Health Board (now known as the Eastern Regional Health Authority) hereinafter referred to as the claimant, is reasonable, proper and intra vires the Health (Amendment) Act, 1986. In addition the claimant has asked that regard be had to parliamentary materials when interpreting statutes. The second-named respondent in this appeal, F.B.D. Insurance Plc., is hereinafter referred to as theinsurer.

2. Background
3

Derek Crilly was severely injured in a road traffic accident. He was a patient in a number of hospitals and underwent extensive medical treatment. He sued T. & J. Farrington Limited and John O'Connor. In a reserved judgment on 26th August, 1992 Derek Crilly was awarded£1,667,078.20. As his injuries resulted from a road traffic accident the Act of 1986 applied. The claimant claimed a charge. I was the trial judge in the High Court in the said original action, as was noted in court at the commencement of this appeal. The parties had no objection to my presiding on the adjudication of the issues now before this court. In the said reserved judgment of 26th August, 1992 Istated:

"It seems unreasonable to the Defendants that they should bear the cost of a special road traffic accident rate in hospital over and above the ordinary rate. Consequently I am including in this judgment a figure which represents the cost for a private patient in Beaumont, but not the additional loading because the Plaintiff was a road traffic accident victim. This figure is not final. In relation to Our Lady's Hospital Drogheda where the Plaintiff was in a general ward I have set payment on the basis of £99 per day, i.e., semi-private. I grant the hospitals liberty to apply to explain why they consider it fair to charge this extra rate for road traffic accident victims to the defence. The evidence I heard from the hospitals merely established that there was this rate over and above the private rate or semi-private rate and its method of costing is set out."

4

The issue in this case between the claimant and the insurer is as to the method of charging of the Beaumont Hospital bill. In fact the bill has been paid and in this case in the High Court [2002] 1 I.L.R.M. 548Geoghegan J. questioned whether the subject was moot. However, in view of the fact that the declaratory relief sought is in relation to an issue which arises every day of the week between the claimant and the insurer the learned trial judge acceded to the request of the parties that the matter proceed.

3. The Statutory Law
5

The matter in issue requires the construction of the Health (Amendment) Act, 1986. The long title to the Act describes it as:

"An act to enable charges to be made by health boards for in-patient services and out-patient services provided for persons in respect of the treatment of certain injuries caused by the use of mechanically propelled vehicles in public places."

6

Section 2 states:

"(1) Where -"

(a) injury is caused to a person by the negligent use of a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place, and

(b) in-patient or out-patient services have been, are being or will be provided by or on behalf of a health board in respect of the injury,and

(c) any one of the following, that is to say, the person aforesaid, his personal representative or dependant, has received, or is entitled to receive damages or compensation in respect of the negligent use aforesaid from the person liable to pay such damages or compensation in respect of that injury, or any loss, damage or expense (or mental distress in the case of a dependant) arising therefrom,

7

the health board shall, notwithstanding anything in the Health Acts, 1947to 1985, make a charge upon the person who received or is entitled to receive such damages or compensation in respect of the said in-patient services or out-patient services.

8

(2) (a) A health board may waive the whole or part of a charge under subsection (1) of this section if it considers it proper to do so -

9

(i) having had regard to the amount of damages or compensation, and interest (if any) thereon, received by the person liable to pay the charge in respect of the injury to which the charge relates, and

10

a (ii) in a case where there was contributory negligence on the part of the person to whose injury the charge relates or of one for whose acts he is responsible, having had regard to any reduction in the amount which would have been received but for the contributory negligence.

11

(b) In proceedings brought by a person to whom injury is caused by the negligent use of a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place, or by the personalrepresentative or dependant, of such a person in respect of such negligent use as aforesaid, claiming damages in respect of that injury, or any loss, damage or expense (or mental distress in the case of a dependant) arising therefrom, paragraph (a) of this subsection shall be disregarded.

12

(3) (1) Any sum due by a person to a health board under section2 of this Act may be recovered by the health board from the person as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.

13

...

14

(4) (1) This Act may be cited as the Health (Amendment) Act, 1986.

15

(2) The Health Acts, 1947to 1985, and this Act may be cited together as the Health Acts, 1947to...

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