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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 24 Apr 1991

Vol. 407 No. 4

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Solicitors' Advertising Feature.

Noel Dempsey


11 Mr. Dempsey asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if, in view of his stated opposition to the high levels of personal injury claims against insurance companies, he intends to take any action in response to an advertising feature for a firm of solicitors (details supplied) which appeared in a Sunday newspaper (details supplied).

The Solicitors (Advertising) Regulations, 1988, (S.I. No. 344 of 1988) which were made by the Incorporated Law Society under the Solicitors Act, 1954, permit advertising by solicitors subject to certain limitations. Any breach of these regulations is a matter for the Council of the Law Society. As the Deputy has raised the matter I am drawing the society's attention to the advertisement in question.

Would the Minister agree that the article entitled "Free Help for Accident Victims" amounted to an invitation to every Tom, Dick and Harry to claim for every mishap which has befallen them no matter where they happened or in what circumstances? Would he further agree that the invitation to take legal action on a no win, no fee basis is irresponsible and likely to increase the level of spurious claims?

I share the Deputy's views about the advertisement but it is a matter for the Incorporated Law Society, to whom I have referred it, to take such action as they see fit. My attitude is that advertising as such is not just permissible but is to be encouraged. However, I have read the advertising feature to which the Deputy referred and the whole tone of it was absolutely deplorable.

Are the Department monitoring the level and nature of claims, and repeated claims, in that area? Does he intend to take action as a result of such monitoring?

That is a separate question and is more akin to a question further down the list today. It would, of course, be impossible for my Department to monitor individual claims but more than a year ago I urged insurance companies to monitor their claims in a way which would help prevent the apparently high level of fraudulent claims. Many of the companies have begun to do that with some success. I hope the number of fraudulent claims will decline as a result of this monitoring.