Thursday 26 April 2018

Former top civil servant to head legal regulator

Don Thornhill
Don Thornhill
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A former top civil servant is set to be chairman of the new legal services regulator.

Ex-Department of Education secretary general Don Thornhill is expected to be nominated to the position today by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

His appointment to head up the board of the long-awaited Legal Services Regulatory Authority will then have to be ratified by the Dáil and the Seanad.

Mr Thornhill is to head an 11-person board, made up of five people nominated by bodies representing the legal professions and six nominated by non-legal bodies.

He has previously been a director of Forfás, the Irish Management Institute, the Irish Taxation Institute and the Irish Hospice Foundation, as well as chairman of the Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board and the National Competitiveness Council.

Mr Thornhill was chairman of the inter-departmental expert group that designed a local property tax in 2012 and also advised the Government on changes to the tax last year.

The new authority, which will begin operation on a phased basis from October 1, will provide a complaints mechanism, independent of the legal professional bodies, for dealing with allegations of misconduct.

It will also be tasked with shepherding in a new legal costs regime that will bring greater transparency to how clients are charged.

Irish Independent

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