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Striking out the plaintiff’s claim was disproportionate and unjust

By: Colm Scott Byrne BL

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Court of Appeal allows appeal and overturns a decision of the High Court striking out the appellant's personal injuries proceedings against the respondent on grounds of inordinate and inexcusable delay, on the grounds that: (a) neither period of delay in question was, having due regard to all of the relevant circumstances, either inordinate or inexcusable; (b) the trial judge erred in attaching any weight to the alleged failure of the plaintiff to report the injury in the context of the application under consideration; and (c) the hardship of denying the appellant access to a proper trial of her action in regard to workplace injuries is, in all the circumstances, disproportionate and unjust.

Whelan J (nem diss): Appeal of a decision of the High Court striking out the appellant's personal injuries proceedings against the respondent on grounds of inordinate and inexcusable delay - the appellant alleges that she suffered personal injuries when she trip and fell in a stairwell in the coffee shop in which she was employed - the plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries to her back - the appellant reported the accident to her supervisor and managers - the appellant obtained authorisation against the second defendant on 30 May 2017 - after entering an appearance, the second defendant wrote to the plaintiff that they had not been providing cleaning services at the locus on the date of the accident but did not specify who had provided such service - the second defendant did not inform the plaintiff who had provided such service until 30 January 2019 despite correspondence between the parties - authorisation issued on 20th February to bring proceedings against the respondent - On 25 February 2019 a motion issued on behalf of the appellant seeking an order substituting the respondent as defendant in lieu of the second defendant - the respondent issued a motion seeking to strike out the claim against it for want of prosecution pursuant to Order 122, rule 11 of the Rules of the Superior Courts and/or on the grounds of inordinate and inexcusable delay whether the plaintiff’s delay could be considered inordinate - whether the delay was inordinate or inexcusable - Section 8 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 - balance of justice - whether there was any prejudice - appeal allowed - order set aside.

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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