PD Amicus Curiae Submissions – High Court

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has argued before the High Court that a State requirement for survivors of historic sexual abuses in schools to have taken legal proceedings against the State before 1 July 2021 – proceedings that, would be doomed to fail — “is indefensible.” The Commission is amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) in a significant case which challenges the Ex Gratia Scheme providing payments to victims of historic sexual abuse in schools.

The case focuses on the requirement under the Scheme for survivors to have, on or before 1 July 2021, issued legal proceedings against the State seeking damages for sexual abuse in day schools before 1991 and 1992 in primary and post-primary schools respectively, and following the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in O’Keeffe v Ireland.

The man taking the case (‘PD’) was a victim of sexual abuse by a teacher, a Christian Brother, in his primary school between 1967 and 1970. In October 2011, he initiated civil proceedings claiming damages against his abuser and the Christian Brothers but did not join the State as a defendant.

PD is now excluded from the State Ex-Gratia Scheme because he did not issue legal proceedings against the State before 1 July 2021. He now challenges that exclusion on the basis that it is unreasonable and discriminatory.