157. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice when she plans to sign the commencement order in relation to the extension of the time period to three years for clinical negligence actions which is provided for in the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59386/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act 1991 provides for a special time limit for actions in respect of personal injuries and the period of limitation in cases of fatal injuries. Originally set at 3 years, the limitation period in respect of personal injuries and fatal injuries was reduced to 2 years by an amendment to the 1991 Act by the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.
Part 15 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 deals with clinical negligence actions and includes a further amendment of the 1991 Act in relation to the limitation periods applicable in the case of a clinical negligence action. Part 15 includes an amendment of the 2004 Act dealing with clinical negligence actions where a person has suffered personal injury or death.
Principally, the amendment of the 2004 Act provides for the introduction of a pre-action protocol relating to clinical negligence actions, the terms of which shall be specified in regulations to be made by the Minister for Justice. Part 15 also includes an amendment of the 1991 Act to increase from 2 years to 3 years the limitation period in respect of personal injuries and fatal injuries in the case of a clinical negligence action.
It is intended that this change in the limitation periods would be effective on the date to be fixed by order for the coming into operation of Part 15 of the 2015 Act. This date has not yet been fixed, primarily for the reason that amendments to the primary legislation to allow for regulations to be made dealing with the pre-action protocol is being developed in consultation between my Department and the Office of the Attorney General.