Monday 18 December 2017

Shatter is pressed by Gilmore to go easy on lawyers

Dearbhail McDonald and Sam Smyth

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore is pressing Justice Minister Alan Shatter to water down his controversial plans to overhaul the legal profession.

The Irish Independent has learned that the Labour Party has produced an alternative document aimed at diluting some of the more far-reaching proposals mooted by Mr Shatter. The minister secured government approval last Tuesday to publish the Legal Services Regulation Bill.

Labour's alternative document was put together after concerns about the independence of a new regulator were raised directly with Mr Gilmore by senior party figures who had analysed the bill.

There were also concerns raised about lawyers forming partnerships with other professionals and allowing solicitors to hold on to clients' files until they were paid.

Mr Gilmore has produced his own private document, outlining his concerns about the possible effects of the far-reaching laws, which will strip the Law Society and Bar Council of their power to regulate the profession.

The Labour document was produced after Mr Shatter had first brought his draft bill, running to more than 350 pages, to the Cabinet last month.

The Tanaiste, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton all raised concerns about the contents of the Bill.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted that "there is no rift" in Cabinet over the Bill, which will give effect to key reforms agreed with the EU, ECB and IMF.

Irish Independent

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