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Monday 21 October 2019

Coalition sets aside three days for legal reform bill debate

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE Government has set aside three days for TDs and senators to debate controversial plans to overhaul the legal profession.

It is understood that the Government has come under pressure from the troika to progress the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011, which Justice Minister Alan Shatter has said will "revolutionise" the legal profession.

The troika, composed of the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission, has made structural reform of the legal profession a condition of financial bailouts for countries stricken by the economic crisis.

The draft law will be subject to a series of amendments following concerns about the independence of the planned Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) and Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (LPDT) which will strip barristers and solicitors of their right to self-regulate. The bill has been awaiting committee stage since it completed the second stage in the Dail in February 2012 and will now be debated at committee stage for three days in July.

Mr Shatter has denied the committee hearings have been brought forward and said that there was an expectation that the bill would go to committee in autumn of last year.

Meanwhile, the Government has nominated Senior Counsel Anthony Collins for appointment as a judge of the European General Court, the High Court arm of the European Court of Justice.

Last month Mr Justice Kevin O'Higgins (66), whose six-year renewable term on the European General Court runs out in August, was informed by an official acting on behalf of Mr Shatter that the Government would not renominate him for the prestigious post in Luxembourg, a move which upset many members of the judiciary.

Irish Independent

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