For the first time a defendant has delivered evidence to a Mullingar Court via video link from the UK demonstrating the trend toward greater reliance on digital technology in Ireland’s judicial system.
Natalie Crooks gave evidence to the court from offices in London belonging to insurance risk and commercial law specialists, BLM and was accommodated due to childcare commitments for her young children. The case determined an insurance claim following a car accident in 2015.
Commenting on the use of new technology, Gavin Campbell partner at BLM in Dublin said: "We welcome the use of new technology as we remain committed to not only defending fraudulent claims but eradicating them through working with leading insurers to help develop policies that meet their business objectives. The use of video technology in this case was a success and proves that courtrooms across Ireland can rely on new tech to streamline services, cut costs and deliver results. Fundamentally we are committed to innovation and aim to help clients reduce the time and money spent on managing risk and resolving disputes, whilst offering a practical, commercial and solutions driven approach to resolving cases.”
In this case the defendant accepted responsibility but told the court there was no damage to either vehicle, so no Garda involvement was necessary. The Plaintiff claimed that his bumper was damaged and furnished an invoice for repairs dated seven weeks post accident. A witness on behalf of the hire company who leased the vehicle to the Defendant gave evidence that when the defendant’s vehicle was returned to them, it was inspected on numerous occasions by a number of employees of the hire car company and that no damage was picked up which might relate to the accident. Judge Karen Fergus was not satisfied the Plaintiff had proved their case and dismissed the matter.
Commenting on the case Sarah Dick solicitor at BLM in Dublin said:
“We had served a minimal impact defence pleading that the impact was of such a minimal nature it was not possible for the claimants to suffer injury. An engineer giving evidence on behalf of the plaintiff accepted that best practice would be to inspect both vehicles. In this case, neither the plaintiff’s or defendant’s insurers were given this opportunity as neither were made aware of the accident until some two years later when the defendants received a solicitors letter. While logistically, running a case where the lead defendant didn’t actually have to be in the same jurisdiction was of great benefit, it was ultimately the strength of the evidence obtained and presented in court which won the case.”
In 2018 Mullingar Courthouse was refurbished as the final part of a €140 million investment in a bundle of seven new courts which created almost 1,000 jobs in the construction industry and eased the integration of new technologies into the process.