I wish to inform the Deputy that the requested information has been collated and is set out as follows:
Bills for which Heads of Bill have been approved
Criminal Justice Bill 2011
The purpose of the Bill is to amend the criminal law to improve certain procedural matters and strengthen Garda investigative powers. The intention is that such improvements will assist in reducing the delays associated with the investigation and prosecution of complex crime, in particular white collar crime.
The Bill proposes to make more effective use of detention periods by allowing persons detained for questioning to be released and their detention suspended so that further investigations can be conducted during the suspension period. A range of powers are proposed to require persons to produce material and make statements, as are new measures relating to how detailed information is to be provided to assist in the investigation and prosecution of complex crimes.
European Arrest Warrant (Extension) and Extradition (Amendment) Bill
The purpose of this Bill, which is at an advanced stage of drafting, is to give effect to the EU-Norway/Iceland agreement on surrender (extradition) by extending the application of the EAW Act to this agreement. It amends the Extradition Acts to streamline procedures and it will also enable ratification of the protocols to the 1957 Council of Europe Convention on Extradition.
Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010
The main purpose of this Bill is to give effect to five EU decisions:
Council Decision 2009/426/JHA on the operation of Eurojust.
Council Framework Decision 2006/783/JHA on mutual recognition of confiscation orders.
Council Framework Decision 2005/214/JHA on mutual recognition of financial penalties.
Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA on judgements in absentia.
Council Decision 2008/617/11 on enhancing the operation of special intervention units in crisis situations.
Criminal Justice (Cybercrime) Bill
The purpose of this Bill, which is at an advanced stage of drafting, is to enable ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and the transposition of the EU Framework Decision on attacks against Information Systems. Consideration is being given as to whether the terms of a recent EU Draft Directive could be incorporated into the Bill.
Jurisdiction of Courts and Enforcement of Judgments Bill
This Bill will provide for implementation of the Lugano Convention.
Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Amendment Bill
This Bill will provide for better regulation of criminal legal aid under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962 and for transfer of its administration and management to the Legal Aid Board.
Mental Capacity Bill
This Bill will reform the law on mental capacity (taking into account the Law Reform Commission's Report on Vulnerable Adults and the Law).
Sale of Alcohol Bill
This Bill will codify the law relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol.
Judicial Council Bill
This Bill will provide effective remedies for complaints about judicial misbehaviour including lay participation in the investigation of the complaints.
The Explosives Bill 2011
The Explosives Bill 2011 proposes the repeal in its entirety, of the Explosives Act 1875 and its replacement with a modern statutory framework for the control of the manufacture, importation, storage, transport and supply of explosives (for legitimate purposes only).
Bills yet to be approved
Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill (No. 1)
This Bill will give effect to criminal law recommendations in the Second Interim Report of the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children (including recommendations of the majority of members, where agreement not achieved). A draft General Scheme has been completed.
The Bill reduces age of consent from 17 to 16, introduces more objective test in relation to defences for defendants, strengthens offences by persons in authority, amends the criminal evidence act to make court proceedings less intimidating for children, and amends the law on incest to address a gender anomaly in sentencing — currently maximum sentence for males is life compared to 7 years for females.
The purpose of the Bail Bill is to consolidate and update bail law and to provide for certain improvements to ensure that the bail regime can operate in as tight and effective a way as possible. The preparation of the Bill includes the examination of the extent to which greater guidance could be given to the courts on the need to protect the public against those who present an unacceptable risk of committing a serious offence if granted bail.
Criminal Justice Europol (Amendment) Bill
The purpose of the Bill is to give effect to a Council Decision of 6 April 2009 (2009/371/JHA) which expands the operation of Europol removing the requirement that an organised criminal structure must be involved before Europol can act.
Probation Service Bill
This Bill will provide a modern statement of the law governing the role of the Probation Service in the criminal justice system and will also give effect to the EU Framework Decision on the supervision of probation measures.
Garda Síochána Act 2005 (Amendment) Bill
This Bill will amend the 2005 Act when proposals to be submitted by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission have been considered and agreed.
Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (No. 2) Bill
This is a wider Bill to provide further protections to vulnerable persons against sexual abuse and exploitation, including amendments to the Sex Offenders Act 2001 (e.g., risk assessment, disclosure of information to the public, amendments to strengthen provisions relating to civil sex offender orders).
UN Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT)
Ireland signed this protocol on 2 October, 2007 but has not yet ratified it
It provides for a system of visits to places of detention by both the UN Sub-Committee on Prevention (SPT) and national bodies — National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) — with whom the State would engage to implement recommendations
The international inspection regime would be similar to existing Council of Europe arrangements — Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) — to which Ireland is subject
A draft General Scheme empowering the Minister to designate NPMs and a Central Co-ordinator is well developed
Implementation will have resource and cost implications and an open consultation with civic society regarding the structures to be put in place is required.
Criminal Law (Corporate Manslaughter) Bill
The Minister's proposals for the preparation of a Corporate Manslaughter Bill were approved by the Cabinet on 14 December. A draft General Scheme has yet to be prepared. The Bill will give effect to the 2005 "Law Reform Commission (LRC) Report on Corporate Killing". The LRC's principal recommendations were for a statutory corporate manslaughter offence and a derivative individual offence of "grossly negligent management causing death". In its recent decision the Government approved the establishment of a cross-Departmental Committee to conduct a Regulatory Impact Assessment.
Criminal Justice Corruption (Consolidation) Bill
The law on the prevention of corruption is embodied in 7 separate, interlaced statutes starting with the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889 and including the recently enacted Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2010. In light of recommendations from the OECD and in order to clarify the law in this area, a commitment was made to bring forward a bill to consolidate the law in this area. The Bill may need to go further than mere consolidation to address any issues arising from consultations with the Garda Síochána on the need to streamline arrangements for reporting corruption.
Legal Costs Bill
This Bill will provide for the regulation and assessment of legal costs and for the establishment of a Regulator to replace the Office of Taxing Master and to give effect to Report of Legal Costs Working Group.
Landlord and Tenant Bill
This Bill will provide for the reform and consolidation of the law on landlords & tenants on the basis of recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.
This Bill will provide for the reform and consolidation of the law relating to trustees in order to ensure better overview and the protection of trust assets on the basis of recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.
Mediation and Conciliation Bill
This Bill will provide for the implementation of recommendations of the Law Reform Commission which are intended to set out the principles and arrangements applicable to mediation and conciliation in civil and commercial disputes.
Family Law Bill
This Bill will make provision for pension adjustments in the context of separation agreements and certain other reforms of family law.
Courts (Consolidation and Reform) Bill
This Bill will provide for the implementation of recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.
Personal Insolvency Bill
This Bill will provide for a new framework for settlement and enforcement of debt and for personal insolvency taking into account recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.
Children Act, 2001
I gave approval in principle in July 2010 to draft the heads of a Bill in respect of amendments to the Children Act, 2001. My Department is working on drafting Heads of a Bill as well as engaging with relevant stakeholders.