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Shatter vows to 'sweep out cobwebs' from legal system

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter says he is "revolutionising" the legal system and has accused the legal profession of resisting change.

"We need to sweep the cobwebs out of our legal system," said Mr Shatter, who has been on a collision course with the judiciary and parts of the legal profession about a planned overhaul of the legal sector.

Mr Shatter was speaking last night at the launch of a new Young Fine Gael (YFG) branch at King's Inns – the body that educates barristers – on planned reforms of the courts and the legal profession.

Reforms planned by the Government include the Legal Services Regulation Bill, which will lead to independent regulation of the solicitor and barrister professions.

Mr Shatter said that he was "one of the few oddities" when, as a solicitor, he exercised his rights to appear in the High and Supreme Courts.

But the new legal services bill, which he says will be operational in early 2014, would allow lawyers and other professionals to work together, a move that would help abolish the distinction between solicitors and barristers.

The Courts Bill 2013 will also relax the 'in camera' (privacy) rule on some family cases and raise the monetary jurisdiction of the civil courts.

The Government is also planning a constitutional referendum with a view to establishing a new Court of Appeal and specialist courts.

"I believe that for far too long that crucial reforms to the legal profession have not been implemented," he said.

Irish Independent