CIVIL LIABILITY AND COURTS ACT 2014- FIRST CONVICTION FOR FALSE AND MISLEADING EVIDENCE

A Claimant who knowingly gave false or misleading information to a solicitor at his home in an affidavit in the course of Personal Injury proceedings has been the first to be convicted under the provisions of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.

Sections 14 & 26 of the Act are reproduced below

Verifying affidavit. 14.—(1) Where the plaintiff in a personal injuries action—

(a) serves on the defendant any pleading containing assertions or allegations, or

(b) provides further information to the defendant,

the plaintiff (or in the case of a personal injuries action brought on behalf of an infant or person of unsound mind by a next friend or a committee of the infant or person, the next friend or committee) shall swear an affidavit verifying those assertions or allegations, or that further information.

(2) Where the defendant or a third party in a personal injuries action serves on another party to the action any pleading containing assertions or allegations, the defendant or third party, as the case may be, shall swear an affidavit verifying those assertions or allegations.

(3) Where a personal injuries action is brought on behalf of an infant or a person of unsound mind by a next friend or a committee of the infant or person, an affidavit to which subsection (1) applies sworn by the next friend or committee concerned shall, in respect of assertions, allegations or further information, of which he or she does not have personal knowledge, state that he or she honestly believes the assertions, allegations or further information, to be true.

(4) An affidavit under this section shall be lodged in court not later than—

(a) 21 days after the service of the pleading concerned or such longer period as the court may direct or the parties may agree, or

(b) in the case of a requirement to which subsection (8)(b) applies, 7 days before the date fixed for the trial of the personal injuries action concerned.

(5) If a person makes a statement in an affidavit under this section—

(a) that is false or misleading in any material respect, and

(b) that he or she knows to be false or misleading,

he or she shall be guilty of an offence.

(6) The reference to court in subsection (4) shall—

(a) in the case of a personal injuries action brought in the High Court, include a reference to the Master of the High Court, and

(b) in the case of a personal injuries action brought in the Circuit Court, include a reference to the county registrar for the county in which the proceedings concerned were issued.

(7) An affidavit sworn under this section shall include a statement by the deponent that he or she is aware that the making of a statement by him or her in the affidavit that is false or misleading in any material respect and that he or she knows to be false or misleading is an offence.

(8) This section applies to personal injuries actions brought—

(a) on or after the commencement of this section, and

(b) before such commencement, where a party to the action requires (not later than 21 days before the date fixed for the trial of the action) another party to the action to swear an affidavit in accordance with this section.

Fraudulent actions. 26.—(1) If, after the commencement of this section, a plaintiff in a personal injuries action gives or adduces, or dishonestly causes to be given or adduced, evidence that—

(a) is false or misleading, in any material respect, and

(b) he or she knows to be false or misleading,

the court shall dismiss the plaintiff’s action unless, for reasons that the court shall state in its decision, the dismissal of the action would result in injustice being done.

(2) The court in a personal injuries action shall, if satisfied that a person has sworn an affidavit under section 14 that—

(a) is false or misleading in any material respect, and

(b) that he or she knew to be false or misleading when swearing the affidavit,

dismiss the plaintiff’s action unless, for reasons that the court shall state in its decision, the dismissal of the action would result in injustice being done.

(3) For the purposes of this section, an act is done dishonestly by a person if he or she does the act with the intention of misleading the court.

(4) This section applies to personal injuries actions—

(a) brought on or after the commencement of this section, and

(b) pending on the date of such commencement.

Practitioners should remind Plaintiff’s when swearing Affidavits of verification pursuant to Section 14 above, that the Court will dismiss the Plaintiff’s claim in the event that the Court is satisfied that the Plaintiff has given false and misleading information and that there is real danger of a criminal prosecution in such circumstances.

Insurers may be more disposed to reporting Plaintiffs whose claims have been dismissed pursuant to Section 26.

A press report of the case can be found here: http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/personal-injury-fraudster-avoids-jail-616907.html#.UsqcA0hNB4k.twitter

Damian McGeady, Lacey Solicitors.

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