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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 24 Mar 1981

Vol. 327 No. 12

Written Answers. - Legal Professions' Indemnity Insurance.


asked the Minister for Justice if he has any proposals to make the professional indemnity insurance at present held by members of the legal professions compulsory; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I assume that the question refers to insurance to cover damages for professional negligence. I have not received any evidence that there is a case for a law that will make it obligatory on members of the legal profession in particular to take out such insurance.

The law already contains special provisions to protect solicitors' clients from losses arising from dishonesty and the introduction of an additional legal provision relating to negligence would raise questions as to why it should apply only to members of the legal profession and not to members of other professions or occupations whose work if negligent could adversely affect others, as to the limits, if any, on such insurance, as to how the provision would be enforced and as to the effects on legal fees.

The question of the liability of barristers and solicitors for professional negligence was considered in the Fourteenth Interim Report of the Committee on Court Practice and Procedure which was published in 1971. While the committee only touched incidentally on the question of insurance, it may be mentioned that they made no recommendation for any legislative changes in the area.