Legal services bill achieves 85 per cent of Alan Shatter’s vision

Alan Shatter
Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter

Ireland’s former Justice Minister Alan Shatter has told TDs that the Legal Services Regulation Bill, passed by the Oireachtas yesterday, achieves “85 per cent of what I set out to achieve in this legislation”.

Mr Shatter introduced the bill during the 2007–11 session, since when it has been extensively amended and rewritten.

Some of the later amendments sparked a political row after the Government was accused of capitulating to The Bar of Ireland and the Law Society of Ireland by removing some of the bill’s provisions in the final stages.

However, despite criticising aspects of the bill, Mr Shatter told the Dáil yesterday that its original objectives have been “substantially fulfilled” by the amended version.

He said: “This Bill was published with enormous haste in early autumn 2011 because of the pressures the Government was under from the troika to publish legislation to address the need for reform in the area of legal services and to address issues and anti-competitive practices.

“It was always intended and understood that there would be a detailed engagement and consultative process and that the Bill would be developed. There was substantial development during my time and there has been further development during the time of the current Minister, Deputy Fitzgerald.

“I want to be absolutely clear that I welcome the very many amendments to the Bill which will ensure that it should work properly. The objectives set out for the legislation should be substantially fulfilled.”

He later added: “I very much welcome the fact that 85 per cent of what I set out to achieve in this legislation will be achieved.

“I take this opportunity to thank the officials who worked with me when I was Minister, and who, no doubt, are working with the Minister, Deputy Fitzgerald, to fine tune the legislation.”

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