Thursday, 2 May 2013

Questions (198)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

198. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding reform of the legal profession; the extent to which negotiations are continuing with respective interest groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21077/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Programme for Government 2011-2016 undertakes to "establish independent regulation of the legal profession to improve access and competition, make legal costs more transparent and ensure adequate procedures for addressing consumer complaints". These undertakings complement those structural reforms in the EU/IMF/ECB Troika Programme of Financial Support for Ireland aimed at removing restrictions to trade and competition in the provision of legal services and at the reform of the legal costs regime. Effect is being given to these structural reform commitments in the form of the extensive provisions of the Legal Services Bill 2011 which remains a priority under the Government Legislation Programme, has completed Second Stage in the Dáil and is due to begin Committee Stage. It will be recalled that priority also had to be given, during the intervening period, to the drafting and enactment of the Personal Insolvency Bill by the end of last year as a competing Troika programme objective.

Detailed preparation of the Legal Services Regulation Bill is ongoing at my Department in conjunction with the Offices of the Attorney General and of Parliamentary Counsel. We continue to encourage, receive and consider submissions from concerned stakeholders and I very much look forward to debating the relevant issues with Members in the course of the Bill's ongoing passage through the Houses. As I have previously indicated, amendments to the Bill will be made available for consideration prior to the commencement of Committee Stage which is now due to take place on 10-12 July 2013.