Serious Spinal Surgical Incidents

It has been reported in the Irish Times and various other media outlets that an external review of spinal surgeries is to be carried out by a UK expert, Mr. Nayagam, based in Liverpool, following on from two reviews, both internal and external which were set up to look into the care provided by one consultant to some seventeen patients being children who had undergone complex spinal surgery at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) in Temple Street.

Worryingly, it has also come to light that unauthorised devices were implanted in three patients during spinal surgical procedures. These two reviews were undertaken after two serious post-operative incidents occurred in July and September 2022.

An analysis of post-operative complications found that:

  1. Of the sixteen cases reviewed, thirteen patients required a further unplanned surgery. Tragically, one of these patients subsequently died and this death is currently the subject of a serious investigation.
  2. Patients with minor complications who did not require further surgical procedure but who had superficial wound problems were treated with oral antibiotics and wound management undertaken in the Outpatients’ Department.
  3. Additionally, nine of the sixteen cases required removal of metalwork arising from mechanical complications of metalwork previously inserted during the spinal surgical procedures. It is understood that the latest external report to be undertaken by Mr. Nayagam will examine the reports already prepared and will also complete a risk assessment of the surgeries undertaken at CHI. It is understood that this report is due to be published by the end of 2023 however this will almost certainly be delayed.

Unfortunately, a growing number of children have been affected and suffered serious complications arising from these procedures having been carried out at both Temple Street Hospital, Crumlin Hospital and Cappagh Hospital.

It is important for families who have concerns regarding their child’s care to take up the relevant medical records and seek expert advice from a team of legal and medical experts to identify any failures or negligence during treatment.

If you would like to arrange a consultation or would like further information please get in touch with Deirdre Rafferty of our office via phone or email

The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions, Act 2023

The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions, Act 2023 (the “Act”) was signed into law by President Higgins on 4 April 2023. The Act introduces measures which are aimed at supporting employees in Ireland in balancing their family life, work life and caring responsibilities.

Part 1, Part 2, other than sections 7, 8, 12 (a), 13 and 14, and sections 32 to 39 of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 will be commenced on Monday 3 July 2023.

As part of the legislation, there are a number of changes to an employees rights:-

Right to Request Remote Working (Section 20)

Under the new legislation, all employees will have a right to request remote work. An employer will be required to consider such requests in accordance with its needs, the needs of its employees and a new Code of Practice which is being developed by the Workplace Relations Commission.

Right to Request Flexible Working Arrangements for Parents and Carers (Section 13B)

Similarly, the right to request flexible working for parents and carers will be commenced following the preparation of a Code of Practice by the Workplace Relations Commission under Part 4. Employers must consider the request in accordance with its needs, the needs of its employees and must provide reasons if refused.

The employee can only request this leave if the affected person requires significant care or support for a “serious medical reason.” An employer is entitled to request relevant evidence of the serious medical condition such as a medical certificate.

In order for an employee to request flexible working arrangements for the care of a child, the child must be less than twelve years old or less than sixteen years old if they suffer with a disability or long-time illness.

Paid Domestic Violence Leave (Section 7)

The Act introduces this new leave which provides 5 days paid leave for victims of domestic violence. It is envisaged that the leave will allow the affected employee to seek medical advice, legal representation and to engage with specialist support services such as counselling.  The Government has indicated it plans to commence the legislative provisions introducing domestic violence leave in the autumn.

Unpaid Leave for Medical Care Purposes for Parents and Carers (Section 6)

The new right to leave for medical care purposes will give parents and carers access to a flexible short-term form of unpaid leave, providing certainty at difficult moments, should they need it.

Amendments to the Maternity Protection Acts (Section 34)

The entitlement to breastfeeding breaks will be extended from the current period of six months — a time which coincides with maternity leave — up to two years. The Government has outlined that this extension is to support women who continue to breastfeed after their return from maternity leave and is in line with best practices from a public health perspective.

The Act also provides for the extension of maternity leave entitlements to transgender men.


State Litigation Principles

The Attorney General, Rossa Fanning, has today published The State Litigation Principles.

These 15 Principles are the first clear statement concerning how the State should conduct litigation and confirm that the State should act honestly, efficiently and in the public interest in the conduct of litigation.

The Attorney noted they are “not intended to radically change how the State conducts litigation”. They do not create rules of law nor do they have any binding legal effect.

The Principles acknowledge that the State cannot be precluded from contesting proceedings, appealing a decision, settling proceedings (with or without admission of liability), relying on legal professional privilege or applying for the recovery of the State’s costs in an appropriate case.

The Principles explain that the State will take steps to avoid, prevent and limit the scope of legal proceedings, wherever this is possible, a policy that is clearly consistent with the policy intent underlying the Mediation Act, 2017. This does mean a greater emphasis on early engagement to try and avoid unnecessary litigation.

The Principles advise that, where appropriate, the State will encourage the settlement or compromise of proceedings by the making of settlement offers, tenders or lodgments.

The Principles also emphasise the importance of adherence to best practice in the discovery process. Once ordered or agreed, the State ought to seek to comply with its obligations in a timely fashion, which can be challenging in cases where discovery is extensive.

The Principles also give guidelines on the role of apologies. There are occasions where the Courts determine the State has acted unlawfully. There are also occasions where it emerges in the course of litigation, without judicial determination, that the State has acted unlawfully. In an appropriate case where the circumstances demand it, an apology may be warranted as part of the appropriate response to the litigation.

The Principles recommend the State will seek to agree claimant’s costs without the requirement for formal adjudication and engage constructively on the issue without the requirement for the costs to be formally adjudicated.

Tips on Making a Will

A WILL is a declaration of what a person wishes to be done with their estate after their death. The person making the declaration is the testator/testatrix.

Before making a will you should:-

  • Give the matter some serious thought and
  • Take professional advice
  • If you have children under 18, it is especially important to decide who you would like to raise them in your absence and to obtain that person’s agreement.  Don’t forget to consider money for education and other child rearing expenses and provide clarity how these assets will be managed and by whom.
  • Pick your Executor. An executor is responsible for exercising your estate in accordance with your instructions after your death. It can be a very challenging role so choosing the right person is very important. Not everyone will want to take on this level of responsibility so choose carefully and confirm with the person they are happy to act.
  • Choose a Substitute Executor. In the event you are married you will probably choose your spouse as your Executor. In the unfortunate event that you are both in an accident without a substitute executor there will be no one to execute your will. People will often have their Solicitor as their Executor.

After you have made your will it is essential you:-

  • Must sign it in front of two witnesses otherwise it won’t be valid. This means that all the time and effort that has gone into drawing up your will, will have been for nothing.
  • Store it safely! There is no point hiding it somewhere that it can’t be found after your death. It should be stored somewhere that is protected from flood, fire or damage. Your Solicitor can store your will for you or your bank.
  • Each year, you should update a list of all your assets such as property, bank accounts etc. and keep it attached to your will or with a copy of it.
  • Your will should be updated when your personal or financial circumstances change.

If you need help making a will in Ireland, contact us today. Our Team can advise you on the best course of action when making your will. 


The Sick Leave Act 2022 became law on the 20th of July 2022 and has now commenced.  The provisions of the Act are to be phased in over a four-year period and the Employees Sick Pay entitlement will start once the law is commenced. The scheme will commence with three days per year rising to five days payable in 2023 and, seven days payable in 2024.  It will be the latest in a series of actions that have improved social protections for workers and the self-employed over the last five years, including:

    • paternity benefit
    • parental leave benefit
    • enhanced maternity benefit
    • treatment benefit
    • the extension of social insurance benefits to the self-employed

Main provisions of the Act:

    • 70% of an employees wage, subject to a daily threshold of €110. This may be revised over time by ministerial order in line with inflation and changing incomes.  The rate of 70% and the daily cap are set to ensure excessive costs are not placed solely on employers, who in certain sectors may also have to deal with the cost of replacing staff who are out sick at short notice.
    • Employees must have a minimum of six months service with the employer to be eligible to receive statutory sick pay.
    • It applies to both fixed term and part time employees.
    • The employee must be medically certified as unfit to work. The Employer must deduct taxes in the normal manner.  Once the entitlement to statutory sick pay from the employer ends, employees who need to take more time off may qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection subject to PRSI contributions.
    • Employers should be aware that the draft legislation will not erode existing contractual rights where an employee’s current contractual entitlement to sick pay exceeds the amount of paid sick leave envisaged by the draft legislation.
    • The Act does not provide for any further top up of salary for the employee and nor will any compensation scheme be provided for employers to assist them with the costs of sick pay.

It is envisaged that Employers will eventually cover the cost of 10 sick days per year in 2025. The Legislation is being phased in to help employers, particularly small businesses, to plan ahead and manage the additional cost, which has been capped.  Therefore, businesses around the country must now make provision for this new regime and consider where changes to existing policies are required once the scheme is introduced. The right to sick pay will be legally enforceable by employees through the Workplace Relations Commission and the Courts and will be another arsenal in an Employees complaint against an Employer.  If you are an employer who is concerned about issues surrounding Sick Pay policies and need to review your employment contracts, contact our Employment Law Expert Anthony Shields by telephone on 021 239 0620 or by email: