Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Questions (250)

Jim O'Callaghan


250. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the review of the administration of civil justice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49031/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Group reviewing the administration of civil justice in the State is continuing its work. Chaired by the President of the High Court, Mr. Justice Peter Kelly, the Group is expected to make recommendations for changes with a view to improving access to civil justice in the State, promoting early resolution of disputes, reducing the cost of litigation, creating a more responsive and proportionate system, and ensuring better outcomes for court users.

It will also take into account the body of work and range of initiatives already developed such as the 2010 Report of the Law Reform Commission on Consolidation and Reform of the Courts, as well as the legal costs provisions of the Legal Services Regulatory Act 2015, among others.

The Review Group includes representatives from the: judiciary; Courts Service; Departments of Justice and Equality, Taoiseach and Public Expenditure and Reform; Bar Council; Law Society; Office of the Chief State Solicitor and the Office of the Attorney General.

The Group requested submissions from interested persons or parties in relation to its work. The broad topical areas to be pursued by the Group will, in an overall context of improving access to justice and reducing costs of litigation, be:

(a) Improving procedures and practices and removal of obsolete, unnecessary or over-complex rules of procedure,

(b) Reviewing the law of discovery,

(c) Encouraging alternative methods of dispute resolution,

(d) Reviewing the use of electronic methods of communications including e-litigation and possibilities for making court documents (including submissions and pleadings) available or accessible on the internet,

(e) Achieving more effective outcomes for court users, particularly vulnerable court users.

I understand the Group received over 90 submissions including from individuals, Government Departments, legal practitioners and the judiciary. Those submissions are currently under consideration and a final report is being drafted.