by Mary Hough June-18-2024 in Healthcare Law, Events


Hayes solicitors LLP hosted a major conference Embracing Change: Working Better Together on 18 June which focused on the need for reform of clinical litigation in Ireland. An audience of over 200 invited guests heard from distinguished and expert speakers who addressed the pressing need for changes to clinical litigation practice and shared their experiences from Ireland, England and other jurisdictions, providing valuable insights from patients’ and clinicians’ perspectives.

The audience included lawyers who represent patients and healthcare professionals, patient advocate groups, hospital representatives, professional bodies, State agencies, insurers, indemnifiers, clinicians and educators. Guests were welcomed by Hayes solicitors’ managing partner, Joe O’Malley and the conference was chaired by the Attorney General, Mr Rossa Fanning SC. Mr Justice Charles Meenan delivered the keynote address on Tort Reform and the Management of Clinical Negligence Claims, and conference guests heard from a distinguished and highly experienced group of speakers:

  • Professor Rhona Mahony, Obstetrician and Chair of a Government Working Group which recently reported on proposals for mechanisms to reduce the rising cost of health-related claims, spoke of the importance of the provision of integrated ‘no fault’ care for all.
  • Ciarán Breen, Director of the State Claims Agency, outlined the increasing cost to the State of clinical negligence claims. A key member of the Working Group on Medical Negligence and Periodic Payments, which made detailed recommendations in relation to reform in this area, Ciarán spoke of how reform could bring about a fairer system for patients and for clinicians.
  • Sara Grewar, Claims Lead at Medical Protection, spoke of doctors’ negative experience of clinical negligence claims in Ireland, her experience of reform in multiple jurisdictions and why she believes that the time for reform in Ireland is now. She cited a report published by Medical Protection earlier this year, ‘The Human and financial cost of clinical negligence claims: the case for Pre-Action Protocols’ in support of the need for reform.
  • Julianne Moore, partner in Medical Law at Irwin Mitchell solicitors, Sheffield, spoke of her experience representing patients and the positive impact of reform of clinical litigation procedures in England. She spoke of the importance of the duty of candour and the benefits of Pre- Action Protocols and court directed case management. She also spoke of the importance of having Periodic Payment Orders to ensure that those patients who are most severely injured have access to financial support to provide essential care and therapies for their lifetimes.
  • Simon Hammond, Director of Claims Management, NHS Resolution provided keen observations from the English experience. He explained how in England earlier resolution of health-related claims is facilitated by a Pre-Action Protocol and case management. He spoke frankly of the pros and cons of having a Pre-Action Protocol and of the benefits of Periodic Payment Order legislation.
  • Mary Hough, Partner and Head of Healthcare at Hayes solicitors, spoke of the pressing need for reform and how such reform will lead to a new landscape in clinical litigation where all parties will have the opportunity to work better together while embracing the changes which will facilitate their doing so. Talking about the need for reform she said

“My colleagues and I in the Healthcare team at Hayes solicitors, see at close proximity both the human and financial cost of clinical negligence litigation and we are keen to play our part in advocating for positive reforms which will benefit patients and clinicians alike. This conference brought together distinguished and expert speakers from this and other jurisdictions to share their experiences and insights in relation to many of the reforms recommended by the Expert Group chaired by Mr Justice Charles Meenan. It’s through bringing key stakeholders together, and sharing experiences and ideas, that we can work together to bring about positive change and improved outcomes for all involved.”

Recognised at the highest ranking of Tier 1 and Band 1 by legal directories Chambers and Partners and Legal 500, the Hayes solicitors Healthcare team is one of the largest specialist legal teams in Ireland, dedicated to the defence of clinical negligence claims, product liability claims and in representing doctors and allied healthcare professionals before their regulatory bodies.

Hayes solicitors provide a comprehensive range of legal services, focusing on the unique needs of our corporate, public and private clients offering expert and insightful legal advice, combining sectoral knowledge with technical excellence.


Back to Full News