The Attorney General has concluded that a state legal strategy in relation to charging medical card holders for nursing home care is “appropriate”.
The strategy was set over a decade ago and has been continued by civil servants, ministers and attorneys general.
Pressure has been mounting on the Government to explain whether the strategy sought to prevent cases going to court to minimise payouts after a Mail on Sunday report.
The Government denied that the legal strategy is inappropriate, saying the state has always contested whether medical card holders are entitled to unlimited compensation for private nursing home care.
A report by Attorney General Rossa Fanning, requested by the Government last week, said it was “surprising” that the state was being criticised for settling cases.
“This is the very opposite of ‘dragging plaintiffs through the courts’, which is what the state is sometimes criticised for when it does not settle cases brought against it.
“There is no basis for suggesting that any of the cases were compromised, required judicial resolution or that there was or is anything inappropriate in settling cases outside of court.
“It is self-evident that there is no need to pursue costly and time-consuming litigation in court where both parties, i.e. the state and the plaintiff, agree to a mutually acceptable settlement.
“All defendants are entitled to consider the appropriateness of settlement prior to the cost and inconvenience of making discovery, and prior to the requirement to provide internal documentation to a litigation opponent.
“That is a calculation made in every case, and there is nothing surprising about it being considered here.
“In summary, I am satisfied that the legal advice furnished by the office in respect of the litigation concerning charges levied for private nursing home care was sound, accurate and appropriate.”