THE scale of awards being made by the Irish courts will lead to the end of ice-skating and other outdoor events in Ireland, according to the directors of Cool Running Events, the company responsible for the very popular ice- skating rinks in Cork, Dublin, Mullingar and Waterford.
Bill Cremin, MD, Cool Running Events was speaking after the recent decision by the Court of Appeal to uphold a High Court judgement of €65,000 for a personal injuries claim.
“We began our business 15 years ago and, every year, more than 200,000 people enjoy ice-skating at one of our purpose-built rinks. The vast majority of our customers have a very pleasant experience. But there is an inherent risk in ice-skating and it’s ludicrous to go ice-skating and not expect to have a fall.
“Our insurance company took this case to the Court of Appeal because it felt the award was completely at odds with the injury — and we lost,” said Mr Cremin.
“The courts have told us that we have a duty of care to prevent people from falling when they’re ice-skating. We are now left wondering whether any insurer will insure us, on the back of this judgement.
“People all over Europe enjoy ice-skating every winter. Ireland is the only country where the courts will effectively cease an activity enjoyed by more than 200,00 people annually through the scale of disproportionate awards.
“The Irish judiciary is very much an outlier in Europe when it comes to personal injury awards and ice skating is simply the latest industry to be hit by disproportionate court awards. The Judicial Council is currently preparing Personal Injuries Guidelines to replace the Book of Quantum which is designed to give guidance on the assessment of personal injury awards.
“We are asking, for the sake of our business, the businesses of other outdoor event organisers that the scale of awards simply be proportionate to the scale of any injury.”