At PA Duffy and Company, we believe in working with other solicitors toward a common goal. With registered businesses in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland we are uniquely placed to deal with cross border legal issues that other solicitors are unable to action due to jurisdictional restrictions.
We offer a range of services to solicitors and law firms, including expert advice on some of the common pitfalls involved in cross border litigation and the danger of leaving yourself open to a professional negligence claim.
Personal injury proceedings can be issued either where an accident happens or where the defendant resides. Take, for example, someone who is involved in a road traffic accident in Northern Ireland and the at fault third party driver is resident in the Republic of Ireland. Most solicitors will simply issue proceedings in Northern Ireland as it may be seen as a more straight forward option.
However, the level of damages payable to claimant’s is much higher in the Republic of Ireland. Therefore, failure to advise your client of this may amount to professional negligence. It is almost always more beneficial for clients to make their personal injury claim in the Republic of Ireland.
The key distinctions between the claims process in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is the existence of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) and the Statute of Limitations in the Republic. All personal injury claims, with the exception of medical negligence claims, must be sent to PIAB for an assessment of damages to be carried out. After PIAB have completed their assessment they will provide an offer for damages. The claimant, with the advice of their solicitor, must then decide whether to accept the offer or to issue proceedings.
In certain cases, PIAB will provide authorisation to issue proceedings without carrying out an assessment, this may be because the defendant did not consent to the application being assessed or perhaps the case was too complex. In any event, the next step will usually be to issue proceedings.
Given the unique legal dynamic on the island of Ireland there is much to be gained from having knowledge of both distinct legal systems and being able to bring proceedings either side of the border.
Another common pitfall with cross border litigation is that personal injury claims in the Republic of Ireland become statute barred if they are not issued within two years, as opposed to the three-year limitation in Northern Ireland. It is, therefore, important if you have a case of this nature to act quickly.
By building a working relationship with our cross-border firm you can rest assured that your cases will be dealt with by solicitors with a high level of expertise and knowledge in navigating the claims process in the Republic of Ireland.
Another pitfall that Northern Ireland based solicitors may not be aware of is that personal injury proceedings must be issued within two years of the accident date, as opposed to the three-year limitation allowed in Northern Ireland. The PIAB process can delay this as time is stopped when the claim enters PIAB. Nonetheless, it is vitally important for solicitors to be wary of these jurisdictional distinctions.
How We Can Help
With offices in County Tyrone and Dublin PA Duffy and Company are uniquely placed to offer support and advise to solicitors on cross border issues, which are becoming more prominent in the context of Brexit. While each case will be different, we will we will generally ensure that Solicitor Agency work is carried out in the following manner:
1. Initial Phone call/Meeting – If you are interested in our services, we are happy to arrange a meeting or simply a phone call to flesh out some of the particulars. At this stage we will discuss the case and will let you know if it is something we can deal with. We will also discuss fee splits at this point and how we can reciprocate this work with a view to building a future relationship.
2. Expert Services – At PA Duffy and Company our services are departmentalised. You can, therefore, rest assured that your case will be handled by a specialist in areas such as personal injury, medical negligence and commercial law for example.
3. Communication Between Solicitors – Our solicitors will keep you informed of the progress of your case throughout. Communication with client’s can be retained by the original solicitor if they so wish. This is a detail that can be agreed upon in our initial phone call or meeting.
4. Building a Mutually Beneficial Relationship – the key consideration with Solicitor Agency work is building connections with other solicitors and firms which can ultimately be mutually beneficial. For example, we often need to transfer cases to another solicitor because of a conflict of in interest or jurisdictional difficulties.