D.S. v Minister for Health and Children & Anor, [2005] IEHC 58 (2005)

Docket Number:2004 16CT
Judge:O'Neill J. / O''Neill J.
 
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Neutral Citation No. [2005] IEHC 58THE HIGH COURT [2004 No. HP16CT]BETWEEND.S. APPLICANT AND

THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND CHILDREN AND

THE HEPATITIS C COMPENSATION TRIBUNALRESPONDENTJUDGMENT of O'Neill J. delivered the 2nd day of March, 2005.

The applicant in this case applied to the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the Tribunal) for compensation under two headings first, loss of consortium and secondly for compensation for losses incurred by the applicant as a carer under the provisions of s. 4 sub-s. 1 (d) of the Hepatitis C Compensation Act 1997, (hereinafter referred to as the Act). The applicants claim for compensation for loss of consortium was successful and an award was made to him but his claim for compensation under s. 4 sub-s. 1 (d) of the Act was refused by the Tribunal.

The applicant appealed to this court. At the commencement of the hearing of that appeal the Minister for Health and Children (hereinafter referred to as the respondent), surprisingly raised as an issue the question of whether or not the respondent was entitled to cross-examine the applicant in the appeal. I say surprisingly, because appeals as provided for in the Act have been heard by this Court, now, for in excess of five years and I personally have heard in excess of 250 of these appeals, all of which have proceeded on the basis, frequently acknowledged by the respondent that the respondent didn't have an entitlement to cross-examine an applicant.

Nevertheless be it late in the day it was quite clear that the respondent had raised an issue of great substance and a separate hearing in relation to same took place on 16th December, 2004.

Before considering the submissions of both sides it is well to set out the relevant statutory provisions and part of the Rules of the Superior Courts (No. 7) (appeals from the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal) [1998] S.I. No. 392 of 1998."3.(1) On the establishment day there shall stand established a Tribunal to be known as the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal to award compensation to claimants referred to in subsection (1) of section 4 in respect of the matters referred to in that subsection or in any regulations made under section 9 in respect of matters referred to in those regulations, in accordance with this Act.(2) The Tribunal may sit in divisions of itself to hear claims before it.

(3) The Tribunal shall consist of a chairman ("the Tribunal chairman") and such number of ordinary members as may be prescribed.… (11) Subject to this Act, the Tribunal shall determine its own procedures and, in so doing, shall as far as is practicable adopt procedures which are informal.

(12) The Tribunal shall conduct its hearings otherwise than in public.

(13) The Tribunal may appoint its own counsel who may call such expert witnesses to give...

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