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State Claims Agency

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 6 October 2020

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Questions (274)

Duncan Smith

Question:

274. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Finance the reason State Claims Agency figures have doubled since the previous year; the reasons for this; if the cause can be clarified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28620/20]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I assume the Deputy is referring to the figures provided in the response to PQ 26142-20 answered on 24 September last (Dáil reference 103) which set out amounts paid on claims finalised by court award between 1 January 2010 and 31 August 2020. The State Claims Agency (SCA) which is part of the NTMA has advised me that the figures that relate to court awards are not representative of the trends in damages, legal fees or expert costs experienced by the SCA as court awards account for a very small percentage of the total amount of damages, legal fees and expert costs that relate to claims managed by the SCA.

As set out in the 2019 NTMA Annual Report, damages awarded by a court accounted for 0.5% of all claims resolved by the SCA in 2019. The total costs incurred by the SCA in 2019 in resolving and managing ongoing active claims, as set out in the 2019 NTMA Annual Report, were €416.9m (2018: €347.1m).

The 2020 figure set out in the PQ referred to above is higher than in previous years due to a significant award in a catastrophic injury case relating to an infant plaintiff. High awards/settlements in such cases are driven by a requirement to provide for complex lifelong care needs. It should be noted that costs relating to cases included in the response to PQ 26142-20 are all apportioned to the year they are finalised (all associated payments will have been issued or will be in process of being paid). In practice such costs may have been paid over a number of years.

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