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Court upholds refusal to set aside third party notice in personal injuries case

By: Colm Scott Byrne BL

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Court of Appeal dismisses appeal and upholds decision of the High Court refusing to set aside a third party notice in personal injuries proceedings, on the grounds that: (a) the evidence did not establish that this was in fact a claim for contribution rather than subrogation; (b) the trial judge appropriately exercised his discretion in this case in a proportionate manner in directing the joinder of the third party; and (c) the third party failed to demonstrate any error of principle or injustice in the judgment of the High Court.

Noonan J (nem diss): Practice and procedure - personal injuries - joinder of third party - circumstances in which a court may appropriately permit a defendant to seek the joinder of a third party to proceedings - plaintiff's claim against defendant was for personal injuries they suffered - the defendants claim against the third party is one for indemnity under a policy of insurance - appeal of a decision of the High Court refusing to set aside the third party notice - the defendants had a policy of insurance with the third party which was a commercial vehicle fleet policy that covered the vehicle, which dispensed cattle meal, from which the plaintiff was injured - the defendants also had a public liability insurance policy with a different insurer - the third party declined indemnity as they took the position that this was a matter for the public liability insurers - Order 19, rule 28 of the Rules of the Superior Courts - whether the third party was an appropriate or necessary party - whether the trial judge erred in holding that the defendant was entitled to enforce the contract of insurance by way of third party proceedings - whether the trial judge fell into error in concluding that this was a subrogation claim - whether this was a contribution case which should have been brought in the name of the other insurer and not the defendants - appeal dismissed

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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