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Courts given power to award periodical payments for damages

Archive image of Gibraltar's Supreme Court. Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

Gibraltar’s law courts now have the powers to order periodical payments for claimants without consent from all parties following an amendment to the Damages Act.

The legislation would apply to payments for damages from the Gibraltar Government, the GHA, or the Care Agency, Parliament heard on Friday.

Minister for Health, Albert Isola, told the House that the draft legislation was based on similar legislation in the UK following a consultation.

The House heard periodical payments could be made if there was consent by all parties, but this amendment does away with that requirement.

“It was agreed that the courts should have the power to order periodic payments without the consent of the parties in certain circumstances,” Mr Isola said.

“While some damages awards take the form of a lump sum payment, periodical payments are considered a much better and fairer way of compensating those who face long-term loss and care needs.”

“Periodical payments generally have a number of advantages over lump sums,” Mr Isola added.

“Periodical payments should also avoid the need for argument over life expectancy during the litigation which may be stressful for the claimant.”

Mr Isola said there will be “greater security” for claimants to plan for the future “without the anxiety of a lump sum payment”.

The Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, asked for further clarification on the Bill, asking whether there was a pending case where this issue has been raised.

But Mr Isola told the House this was decided upon by the Government’s legal department.
The amendment was voted unanimously by Parliament.

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