An expert group is to be established by the Government to consider whether clinical negligence claims can be resolved without going to court.

Proposals to set up the group were brought to Cabinet today by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Minister Harris briefed his colleagues on the expert group, which will examine whether there are alternative ways to address clinical negligence claims in a more sensitive and timely way than the court system.

The group will be headed by an independent chairperson.

It will consider alternative processes to settle claims involving serious birth injuries and also certain cases involving vaccinations.

It will also review cases where liability has never been disputed. 

Once the group is established, it will report back to the minister with an interim report within three months and deliver a final one within six months.  

The establishment of the expert group is contained in the Programme for Government.

Speaking on his way into Cabinet this morning, Mr Harris said there had been far too many cases where people had to wait a long time for answers and to get support to look after themselves and their loved one.

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Separately, Minister Harris plans to introduce legislation before the summer break to deal with a loophole in the Children and Family Relationships Act. 

The new legislation will ultimately enable both parents in a same-sex relationship to be named on the birth certificate and passport of their child.