The Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal was established by legislation in 1997.
The purpose of the Tribunal was to make awards of compensation to persons who contracted Hepatitis C within the State from Anti-D Immunoglobulin, other blood products of blood transfusion and other connected matters. The Tribunal had prior to award compensation to claimants.
The Tribunal could sit in divisions. Its members were appointed by the Ministers. The Tribunal conducted at hearings in private. It to appoint counsel who may call expert witnesses to give evidence. It may appoint medical and other experts to advice.
In considering and assessing the claim, the Tribunal should rely primarily on written medical or written reports. Reports made available to the claimant at his or her request.
The Tribunal may in addition to hearing counsel for a claimant hear
- Counsel for anybody which represented any class of claimant
- Counsel for any party against whom allegations alleged to warrant the award of aggravated exemplary damages are made
- Counsel appointed by the Tribunal in relation to any matter it considers necessary.
The claimant and any witness giving evidence may be asked questions by the Tribunal or counsel for the Tribunal.
The persons who were entitled to make applications for, compensation were defined. These included
- persons diagnosed positive for Hep C resulting from the use of human immunoglobulin Anti-D within the State.
- persons who had been diagnosed positive for Hep C as a result of receiving a blood transfusion or blood product within the State,
- Children or any spouse of the above who have been diagnosed
- persons responsible for their care who incurred financial loss or expenses as a result of the same
- persons above who died as a result of having contracted Hep C where this was a significant contributive factor or cause of death and
- dependent of such person.
Persons who receive an award for many court or a settlement. Circumstances which should give place to a claim before the Tribunal are not entitled to make a claim.
Generally the claimant was not required to prove negligence on the part of the relevant agency (Blood Transfusion Board/IMB). He or she must on the balance of probabilities establish to the satisfaction of the Tribunal that the Hepatitis C in respect of which he has been diagnosed
- resulted from the use of human immunoglobulin Anti-D within the State.
- resulted from a blood transfusion or blood product received by the claimant within the state.
- was transmitted to the claimant from a person referred to above following such use, transfusion or receipt, as the case may be, or
- where such claimant was a person being cared for or who has died leaving a dependant.
The claimant may appear in person or be represented by counsel or solicitor. Evidence could given to the Tribunal by the claimant or medical practitioner or both.
The claimant was obliged to make an application to the Tribunal within three years of the date in which he first became aware of the fact that he or she may have been diagnosed positive for Hep C. In other circumstances the claim may be made within three years of the date upon which he first began to incur financial loss or expenses. The Tribunal had discretion to extend the periods.
An award is made in the same basis as an award damages by the High Court and on the same principles. The Tribunal could make awards for general or special damages on the basis of a single lump sum. There was provision for making awards of aggravated or exemplary damages.
There was provision for exemplary or aggravated damages when making an award. Reasonable costs and expenses may be awarded to the claimant. There was provision for the funding of the awards by the State.
Where the claimant accepted the award there must be an agreement in writing to waive any right of action which they might otherwise have against any party and to discontinue proceedings commenced. If the Tribunal made an award, the claimant to a period of one month or such greater periods as may be prescribed from the date of making the award during which to decide whether or not to reject the award he is rejected this if not accepted.
If the claimant did not wish to receive the of the award in a single payment he may apply to have it paid instalments. Where a claimant does not accept the award and proceeds with the right of action the period between the date of the application to the Tribunal and the date of abandonment did not account for the statute of limitations.
Regulations provided for voting of special damages and such matters as the Minister might prescribe insert the bit about funding here.
An appeal laid to the High Court by a claimant in respect of the decision. The Minister may appeal cross appeal and any such appeal. The Minister may appeal awards of aggravated or exemplary damages.
Appeals are heard otherwise in public a claimant who makes an appeal waves the right of action for damage. A decagons of the High Court shall be final say by leave to the court. An appeal from the decision shall lie to Supreme Court on a specified question of law only.