Garda Compensation Scheme
- Who can apply?
- How do I apply?
- Three months have elapsed since the date of the incident, can I still apply?
- Do I need a solicitor to make an application?
- How long does it take for a decision?
- How do I get an appointment with the Garda Chief Medical Officer?
- What is the role of the Chief Medical Officer?
- What is the role of the Garda Commissioner?
- What does the Department mean when it refers to ‘minor injury’?
- What is ‘special risk’?
- What is a certificate of authorisation?
- What do I do when I receive a certificate of authorisation?
- Can I appeal the Minister’s decision if my application is refused?
- What is the McGee Judgement?
- What is the Merrigan Judgement?
- Will a compensation tribunal be established?
Two groups of individuals are eligible to apply for compensation under the Garda Acts:
- Members of An Garda Síochána who sustained personal injuries (not causing death) maliciously inflicted upon them in the performance of their duties or acting in their general capacity as a member when off duty or merely because of their being a member of An Garda Síochána.
Please note trainee Gardaí who have not completed phase IV of their training are not eligible under the Acts.
- Dependents of deceased members who were fatally injured while on duty or while acting in their general capacity as a member or merely because of their being a member of An Garda Síochána. Section 3(1) of the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Act 1941 states that the following dependants may be awarded compensation: the widow, children, step-children, parents, siblings, half brothers or sisters, grandparents of the deceased member or adopted children under the age of 21 years who were supported, maintained and educated wholly or partially by the deceased person.
Complete the relevant form below and return it to:
Garda Compensation Section
Department of Justice and Equality
51 St. Stephen's Green
Please ensure that you submit your application to the Department within three months of the date the incident occurred in accordance with the statutory time limit set out in Section 5 of the Garda (Compensation) Acts 1941/1945.
Form 1 (Microsoft Word – 43KB) - application in respect of the death of a deceased member from injuries maliciously inflicted
Form 2 (Microsoft Word – 26KB) - application in respect of personal injuries not causing death from injuries maliciously inflicted
Should your application be submitted outside the three-month statutory time limit, it is up to the discretion of the Minister as to whether the application will be accepted. The longer the delay, the less likely the application will be accepted, particularly if it is in respect of what could be considered a minor injury. The Department will seek an explanation if an application is submitted late but will not accept that the member is unaware of the existence of a time limit as a valid reason, as each member is provided with details regarding the scheme upon attestation.
No, you do not need to engage a solicitor to submit an application form to the Department. However, you may wish to engage a solicitor when you receive a decision regarding your application, particularly if the Minister authorises the application to proceed to the High Court.
The time taken to issue a decision on an application depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the injury, the recovery process, the time taken to provide all the relevant medical reports including a final prognosis to the Garda Chief Medical Officer.
Once all the relevant medical reports have been submitted to the Garda authorities, the member is placed on a waiting list to be examined by the Garda Chief Medical Officer. The Garda Chief Medical Officer then provides a report regarding his examination to the Department.
Applications are considered upon the receipt of the Garda Chief Medical Officer's report and information from the member's divisional office regarding the incident in which the member sustained their injuries. Generally, applications are processed in the order that the reports are received from the Garda authorities and not from the date that the injuries were sustained.
Once the Garda authorities are satisfied that a final medical report has been received, which includes a final prognosis, the member's name is placed on a waiting list. The member will be informed of arrangements for his appointment through his Divisional Office. Therefore any queries regarding the provision of medical reports and appointments with the Garda Chief Medical Officer should be directed to:
An Garda Síochána
Upon receipt of all the applicant's medical reports, including a final prognosis, the member's name is put on a waiting list to be examined by the Garda Chief Medical Officer. The applicant will be informed by their Divisional Office once an appointment has been made. The Garda Chief Medical Officer reviews the member's medical reports and provides a report to the Department, regarding the injuries sustained, the treatment received, present condition, past history (if relevant) and prognosis. The Garda Chief Medical Officer does not provide a recommendation as to whether the member's application for compensation should be granted or refused.
The Garda Commissioner confirms to the Minister that the incident did occur on duty and that it was not caused as the result of the wilful default or negligence on the member's part and whether the member was assigned to duties which included ‘special risk’. The Commissioner does not express a recommendation regarding the authorisation of an application.
Investigation reports regarding the background to the incident, the alleged culprit(s) responsible for the member's injuries and statements given with a view to bringing criminal prosecution against the culprit(s) are also forwarded to the Department but are subject to Garda privilege and are forwarded to this Department with this understanding.
The Minister is guided by previous judgements issued in the High Court, in particular the McGee and Merrigan cases (further details below) when deciding whether an injury should be considered minor or non-minor in nature.
The Minister would be of the opinion that a minor injury was sustained if the member returned to their pre-incident health level or recovered completely within a period of three months with no adverse medical sequelae anticipated in the future. The Minister reaches this decision by considering the medical evidence submitted in support of the application including the Garda Chief Medical Officer's report and medical reports submitted by the applicant.
The Minister is advised by the Garda Commissioner whether the applicant sustained injuries while performing duties which involved special risk. Generally, members are detailed for similar duties on a regular basis and in the majority these duties pass without any incident occurring. Similar incidents could arise on any day or night, when members are on routine patrol and public order disturbances occur, resulting in rioting or affrays. No special risk is considered to be attached to such incidents.
This is a document signed by an official on behalf of the Minister authorising the applicant to lodge proceedings with the High Court in respect of the incident which gave rise to a member's injuries.
The certificate of authorisation and your original application for compensation (which is returned by the Department when a certificate is issued) should be filed with the High Court within two months from the date the authorisation of the application by the Minister was communicated to the applicant.
An application to the High Court for compensation under the Garda Compensation Acts should name the Minister for Finance as defendant. The Chief State Solicitor, Osmond House, Little Ship Street, Dublin 8 will accept service of proceedings on behalf of the Minister for Finance.
There is no provision for an appeal in the relevant legislation when an application is refused. However, the Department informs the applicant when their application is being considered for refusal and gives an opportunity to the member to submit additional information or evidence in support of their application by a specific date. Upon receipt of further submissions, the application is reviewed and the Minister's decision is communicated to the applicant or their legal advisor.
Should no reply be received from the applicant by the date specified in the Department's notification letter, the Minister's decision will be made based on the information available.
On 19 April, 1996, Justice Carney issued a written judgement regarding an application for compensation before him in the High Court. The member sustained a blow to the nose causing a nose bleed with associated bruising which completely cleared within two weeks. Justice Carney stated inter alia that the Act was designed in the first instance to compensate the dependants of members of the Gardaí who had died from injuries inflicted in the course of their duties; secondly, the Act provides for compensation for members on whom personal injuries not causing death had been inflicted and was of the opinion from the wording of the 1941 Act that the minimum level of injury required to attract the benefit of the compensation code was considerably above that of a nose bleed and some associated bruising and discomfort.
On 28 January, 1998 Justice Geoghegan issued his judgement regarding judicial review proceedings brought against the Minister for Justice's decision to refuse an authorisation certificate. In his judgement, Justice Geoghegan stated inter alia that the Minister should only refuse an application if ‘there has been a complete recovery within a matter of weeks with no medically adverse sequelae’. In addition he stated that the Minister has to ‘consider the medical reports from both sides and is not entitled to form an opinion that the injuries were of a minor character if the opposite view would be reasonably open on the medical evidence furnished by the Applicant’.
See also the full text of the Merrigan judgement.