‘Fierce shortage of judges’ causes personal injuries case to be delayed (Via Irish Times)

Judge forced to abandon case mid-action to work on family law list

Judge Kathryn Hutton highlighted the shortage of judges on Monday when she had to abandon a personal injuries case mid-action in order to tackle the family law list.

The judge had been hearing a case in the Circuit Civil Court when she received the call to move to another court to deal with family law matters.

“I will have to reserve my decision in this case and leave to take up the list in Phoenix House,” she said. “We are all aware of the fierce shortage of judges.”

Judge Hutton had almost finished dealing with her first case involving a Dublin man who had complained of injuries to head, neck, back, right knee, right ankle, left wrist, left hand including a broken little finger, and abrasions to his left hip.

Alex Timbal, of Rushbrook Park, Templeogue, Dublin 6W, had told his barrister Conor Kearney that he had been hit by a car while cycling on the Walkinstown Roundabout in December 2018.

He said he had somersaulted on to the bonnet of a car driven by Thomas Slater, Captain’s Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin 12, before being thrown on to the roadway. He said he had been taken by ambulance to Tallaght Hospital where he had undergone a series of X-rays and treatments before his discharge.

Mr Kearney, who appeared with Holmes O’Malley Sexton Solicitors, told Judge Hutton that liability had been conceded by Mr Slater’s insurers and the court was being asked to assess damages on medical evidence.

Judge Hutton said she had been called to take up the family law list in another court and would reserve her decision in this case.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine, former President of the High Court, on her retirement last year criticised what she described as evidence of under investment in the justice system leading to a significant shortage of judges in all courts.

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