Specialist personal injury lawyers Thompsons Solicitors have branded the Irish Personal Injury Assessment Board's (PIAB) move to fixed damages as "incredibly unfair".

The PIAB was set up by the Irish government in an attempt to reduce the cost of insurance in the republic.

It published its Book of Quantum, setting out appropriate compensation awards for personal injuries, on 1 June.

A spokesman for Thompsons Solicitors said any move towards fixed damages would be incredibly unfair for the claimant. She said they would "absolutely oppose" a move towards fixed damages in the UK.

But Forum of Insurance Lawyers president Claire McKinney said the idea of fixing tariffs to injuries was not new, and compared the PIAB's Book of Quantum to the judicial studies board guidelines in the UK.

She said the move to fixed damages would not restrict people's access to justice.

"If a claimant isn't happy with a settlement then they still have the option of going to a solicitor and taking it to court.

"In reality this is not preventing people from accessing justice, but it is setting guidelines for awards."

ABI spokesman Malcolm Tarling said the book was an interesting idea, and that the ABI was looking at initiatives from a variety of countries to see if they were applicable or appropriate for the UK.

  • To access the PIAB's Book of Quantum click here .