Too Much Of The Lion And Not Enough Of The Fox

Author:Mr Tom Hayes and Rebecca Ryan
Profession:Matheson
 
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In a recent ruling[1], the Irish High Court was asked to examine the extent to which a plaintiff was required to respond to a notice for particulars. The judge examined how the obligation is affected by legislation that requires plaintiffs to provide detailed information 'up front' in a personal injuries summons. The judge was critical of defendant solicitors who, despite this legislation, persist in the "habitual and indiscriminate" use of notices for particulars to elicit unnecessary information from plaintiffs. In this case, the defendants are being sued by the plaintiff for damages for personal injuries she sustained after she fell from an examination couch. The case is, therefore, a personal injuries case and not a medical negligence action. The defendants sought detailed particulars from the plaintiff. In his ruling, the judge clarified that the purpose of particulars is to convey "in broad outline" the nature of the case a party has to meet, but not the nature of the evidence the other party will use at trial. Against this backdrop, he refused, for example, to order the plaintiff to give a detailed narrative of the accident. He also refused to order the plaintiff to disclose other "irrelevant" information, such as whether she has legal cost insurance. Taking a strict stance, the judge stated that...

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