THE COURTS SERVICE annual report was published today, giving an overview of the civil and criminal cases that appeared before the courts last year.
Although there was a slight decrease in personal injuries claims, there was a 75% increase in the value of medical negligence awards.
The court service said that this “almost certainly” reflects the number of major catastrophic injury cases being dealt with: “where provision is made for a lifetime of needed care results in large awards, and where lower returns on investment require greater sums to provide that”.
There were 154 sentences given in rape cases. Of those, 36% (55) were sentences of 5-10 years; and 63% (97) were over ten years. No sentence was under two years was given, and only two (1.3%) were between two and five years.
There was a 30% decrease in new asylum cases lodged (368 down from 530). The High Court increased by 94% the asylum cases it decided or resolved in court. This is almost a reverse of the previous year, where more cases were resolved outside court hearings.
Offences in the district court included 226,000 road traffic offences; 33,000 drugs matters; 3,600 sexual offences; 37,500 larceny/ robbery/ fraud matters; and 46,000 public order/assaults.
Among the notable increases in cases lodged were: a doubling of employment cases (other than dismissal claims), from 113 up from 50; and a 30% increase in interim barring order applications.
The most notable drop in cases lodged, were: a 40% drop in new bankruptcies; and a 28% drop in possession cases initiated, with a 37% drop in possession orders.
154 sentences given in rape cases of which 36% (55) were 5-10 years; 63% (97) were over ten years. No sentence was under two years, and only two (1.3%) were between 2 and five years.
Modernising the courts
This morning I launched the @CourtsServiceIE 2019 Annual Report with Angela Denning, Chief Executive of the Courts Service, Chief Justice Frank Clarke and the other court presidents. pic.twitter.com/kEnUkbzfVM
— Helen McEntee TD (@HMcEntee) July 22, 2020
Source: Helen McEntee TD/Twitter
The Chief Justice Mr Justice Frank Clarke has presented the 2019 Annual Report of the Courts Service to the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee at a physically-distanced event in the Four Courts today.
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He said: “The report related to 2019 which, in so many respects, seems now like a different era. The report for 2020 will undoubtedly be very different. But this 2019 report perhaps provides a benchmark of where our courts stood prior to the pandemic striking”.
Welcoming proposed legal changes, the Chief Justice said that some additional legislative measures will help modernise how the the courts service operates – the use of video conferencing and filing electronically among the changes planned.
He mentioned that the Courts Service’s own Modernisation programme and the expected report of the Civil Justice Review Committee, expected in September, “will form important building blocks for the development of a significantly modernised civil courts structure in the coming years”.
Chief Justice Clarke also welcomed the additional funding for the Hammond Lane project – part of the the new family court structure that is proposed.
The report said that there were 445,000 criminal and 233,000 civil matters presented to the courts in 2019.