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Ex gratia scheme for historic school sex abuse closes 20 July
Pic: Cian Redmond

12 May 2023 / law society Print

Ex gratia scheme for school sex abuse closes 20 July

Solicitors with clients eligible for the ex gratia scheme in relation to sexual abuse in schools should be aware that the deadline for applications for redress is on 20 July.

The scheme arises as part of the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in O’Keeffe v Ireland.


Stephen Kirwan of the Law Society Human Rights Committee said: The introduction of an ex gratia scheme for historical sexual abuse in schools is an important and vital step in providing vindication and recognition for victims.

"It is hoped that as many eligible applicants apply as possible, and we would encourage as many members of the legal profession to ensure that claims are lodged as a matter of priority,” he added.

Those eligible for the scheme may have engaged solicitors in the past.

The “specific category of people” eligible are those who “had commenced domestic litigation, but who had discontinued those proceedings following the High Court [2006 IEHC 13] and Supreme Court [2008 IESC 72] judgments in the [O’Keeffe case], and who were unable to re-commence their litigation in the domestic courts.”

Final closing

The final closing date for applications to the scheme is 20 July.

Eligible clients must have issued legal proceedings against the State by 1 July 2021, seeking damages for childhood sexual abuse in a recognised day school.

The cases must relate to abuse which occurred before November 1991 in respect of a primary school, or before June 1992 in respect of a post-primary school.

The proceedings must also demonstrate that, had the guidelines for Procedures for Dealing with Allegations or Suspicions of Child Abuse been in place at the time the sexual abuse occurred, there would have been a real prospect of altering the outcome or mitigating the harm suffered by them as a result.

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