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Home > Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 [Seanad]: Second Stage.

[Oireachtas] Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 [Seanad]: Second Stage. (12 Jul 2011)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2011/07/12/00024...


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): I move: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

 

There are many important provisions in the Bill on a wide range of measures. The Bill provides for amendment of the law on civil legal aid, civil liability, private security services, intoxicating liquor, equality, bankruptcy, maintenance of spouses and children, coroners, immigration and citizenship, conveyancing, taxing masters, personal injuries, solicitors, statutory declarations, domestic violence, official languages and court matters. The changes are designed to strengthen the law and make it more efficient and effective. Some of the changes will help to modernise further the agencies that operate under the aegis of my Department.

 

While the Bill draws on the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010, which had commenced Second Stage examination prior to the dissolution of the Dáil, I have significantly amended aspects of the Bill and added new provisions, such as amalgamation of the coroner districts of Dublin, amendments to immigration and citizenship law and amendment of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 and the Registration of Title Act 1964 with regard to certain rights of way without the need for court order. I propose to highlight the most important changes in the Bill rather than run through all 15 parts of the Bill. Should Deputies raise matters I have not focused on, I will be glad to pick up on them by way of response at the conclusion of our debate.

 

Part 2 of the Bill gives statutory backing to allow the Legal Aid Board to provide legal advice on criminal matters to alleged victims of human trafficking offences. The provision will enable full effect to be given to the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings and to the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Both of these instruments were ratified in 2010 and are in operation in the State. The legal aid system operated by the Legal Aid Board is essentially intended to provide legal assistance in the civil law area. The Bill extends this into providing legal advice to those who are the victims of human trafficking so they are made fully aware of the law applicable, of the assistance they can give to An Garda Síochána, of what will occur should a prosecution take place and of the court processes.

 

Part 3 builds on recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission in its 2009 report, Civil Liability of Good Samaritans and Volunteers. It amends the Civil Liability Act 1961 in order to give clear statutory protection from liability to those who help others in good faith. The objective is to protect from liability those who, acting with good intentions, go to the assistance of others who are injured or ill as a consequence of an accident or emergency. Protection from liability is also provided for persons working as volunteers for charitable or other organisations for the benefit of society, including sports, recreation and rescue. Volunteers will be required to act in a way that does not contribute to gross negligence, while the volunteer organisations with which they operate will be held to the higher standard of ordinary negligence. While the higher standard will apply for volunteer organisations, provision is made for account to be taken of the benefit accruing to society as a result of the organisations’ work in determining whether it is just and reasonable to impose liability.

 

The effectiveness of the Private Security Authority will be improved by changes provided for in Part 4. The amendments provide for improvements to the licensing process of the authority, including technical changes to certain aspects of the renewal procedure and the power for the authority to grant temporary licences in particular circumstances. The Bill also increases the authority’s powers to request information about individuals who are involved in the running of security companies. This will augment further the controls on the management of security companies, in addition to the tax certification and other compliance measures which are already in place. Amendments provided for in the Bill also facilitate changes in the fee structure of the authority and will allow the authority to appoint persons in addition to its own staff to the position of inspector. The authority will be in a position to issue a temporary licence to an applicant who is a new entrant to the industry for a period not exceeding six months, during which the applicant can prove he or she has the necessary competence to perform the security services in question. The authority may in exceptional circumstances extend the temporary licence period for a further three months.

 

A small number of amendments were made to the Bill on Committee Stage in the Seanad. These were mainly of a technical nature, regarding definitions in the Act of 2004. Amendments were also made to section 37 of the Act of 2004, which relates to the prohibition of unlicensed security services. The effect of the amendment is to allow the Private Security Authority more flexibility in its current licensing practices. A further amendment was made to section 48 of the Act of 2004 to allow for the possibility of costs and expenses to be awarded to the Private Security Authority in cases prosecuted by the authority. There is currently no express jurisdiction to award costs, and the amendment rectifies this situation.

 

Part 5 introduces a new provision in licensing laws. Section 16 provides for the preparation and publication of codes of practice for the purpose of setting standards for the display, sale, supply, advertising, promotion or marketing of intoxicating liquor. Such codes are intended as a practical mechanism for promoting compliance with the licensing laws by licensees. They are not intended and will not operate as an alternative to Garda enforcement. Nevertheless, while breach of a code will not be an offence, it will constitute a ground on which an objection can be lodged by the Garda to renewal of the licensee’s licence. It will then be a matter for the court to decide under what conditions the licence will be renewed.

 

 

Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 [Seanad]: Second Stage

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 737 No. 6

 

This are extracts from the debate, please click on the link to read the full text

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