127. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will clarify his reply to Parliamentary Question Nos. 509 and 573 of 16 January 2018 (details supplied), in view of press reports stating that the Legal Services Regulatory Authority has not yet got a permanent premises and will not be taking complaints until the summer of 2019. (Question 20603/18 asked on 10 May 2018 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Legal Services Regulatory Authority has been established on a firm statutory basis under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 its establishment day for that purpose having been 1 October 2016. The Authority, which is independent in the performance of its functions under the 2015 Act, has convened regularly since its inaugural meeting on 26 October 2016 and completed a whole series of statutory public consultations and reports tha...

103. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 105 of 25 April 2018, if the complication with the roll of barristers is beyond that which was anticipated; the details of the delay; and his views on whether a principal objective of this reform in respect of restoring public trust is at risk. (Question 19145/18 asked on 02 May 2018 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Roll of Practising Barristers is a new framework being set up and maintained for the first time by the Legal Services Regulatory Authority under Part 9 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. As I have previously conveyed, the Regulatory Authority, which is independent in the performance of its functions, has stated that it is making the necessary detailed preparations and developing the necessary staffing and other resources r...

105. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 557 of 17 April 2018, his views on whether the minutes of the LSRA meeting of 16 November 2017 recorded serious concerns (details supplied); his plans to activate the practitioners levy to facilitate the independence of the authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18115/18 asked on 25 Apr 2018 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy’s question refers to issues raised, of which I am fully aware, in the minutes of the Authority’s meeting on 16 November last concerning the timeline for activation of legal partnerships (i.e. partnerships between barristers, or between barristers and solicitors) under the Legal Services Regulation Act.  In the elements of the minutes referred to by the Deputy, it is recorded that the Authority expressed a view as to the exte...

245. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 153 of 1 February 2018, if a decision has been made as to the timeframe for the establishment of the review committee provided for under section 62 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015; and if so, the timeframe in this regard. (Question 6715/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Responsibility for the establishment of the Review Committee provided for under section 62 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 lies with the Legal Services Regulatory Authority which is independent in the performance of its functions. As such it is one of those key structural reforms that will be rolled-out under Part 6 of the 2015 Act relating to public complaints, professional misconduct and the appointment of the new Legal Pra...

153. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 495 of 16 January 2018, his plans to establish the review committee under section 62 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 5068/18 asked on 01 Feb 2018 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am very pleased to be able to reply to Deputy Daly further to my Written Reply to her previous Question No. 495 of 16 January 2018. 
The Review Committee provided for under section 62 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 to which the Deputy has referred is part of the new complaints process that will apply to those less serious consumer level complaints dealt with under sections 60 and 61 of that Act, respectively. That is to s...

495. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the review committee of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority will be established and begin its work in view of the fact that the authority was established over a year ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54396/17 asked on 16 Jan 2018 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Subject to any further clarification of the Question by the Deputy that may arise, I am assuming it is referring to the periodic review of the operation of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 that is provided for within that Act under section 6. Under that section the Legal Services Regulatory Authority shall, not later than eighteen months after its establishment day, commence a review of the operation of the 2015 Act. It must repo...

194. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the revenue-raising functions of section 95 of the Legal Services Regulatory Act 2015 have been implemented; and his views on same. (Question 47650/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Section 95 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 is one of a series of sections in Part 7 of that Act which provide for the raising of a levy to be paid by the Law Society, the Bar Council and other practising barristers. In each given year, the levy will be calculated, under the Act, by reference to the Authority’s actual expenditure of the previous year with due regard also to the actual number and costs of complaints received in...

117. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority; the timeframe for the implementation of the various functions for the authority as set down in legislation; the number of statutory instruments which will be forthcoming; his views on concerns that arise with respect to staffing and the delivery of independent and effective regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42042/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will appreciate that the Legal Services Regulatory Authority is an independent statutory body and that I do not, as Minister, have a role in relation to its day to day operations. That independence has been purposefully conferred on the Authority by the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. This includes in the nomination of the Authority’s membership by prescribed bodies, in its statutory objectives and in the independent pe...

120. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality further to parliamentary question number 108 of 1 December 2016, her views on the fact that the assurances she received from the body concerned do not tally with allegations contained in a letter from a person (details supplied) dated 5 November 2016 and forwarded to her by An Taoiseach; the steps she is taking to investigate these conflicting accounts of events. (Question 39901/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - Legal Services Regulation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The allegations to which the Deputy refers relate to the respective conduct of business by the body concerned under its general constitution, disciplinary code and code of conduct and in relation to the body’s making available of certain statutory forms and like matters. As I have previously conveyed to the Deputy in my Written Reply of 1 December 2016 to which she has referred, it remains for the governing body of the e...

108. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality further to Question No. 155 of 18 October 2016, the action she is taking in regard to a matter (details supplied); and the likely timeframe for the completion of any investigations being undertaken. (Question 38158/16 asked on 01 Dec 2016 - Legal Services Regulation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am assuming the matter raised by the Deputy on this occasion is that covered by my Written Reply to Question No. 155 of 18 October 2016.
As I set out in my Written Reply to the Deputy’s Question of that date, I requested officials of my Department to write to the body concerned to formally confirm the position. In a letter of reply, dated 14 October 2016, which was received from the Director of the body concerned, it h...

129. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the amount of State funding the Irish Law Society received from 2005 to 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35847/16 asked on 22 Nov 2016 - Legal Services Regulation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Law Society is the professional body for solicitors and exercises statutory functions under the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015 in relation to the education, admission, enrolment, discipline and regulation of the solicitors’ profession. In this capacity, the Law Society is not, as such, a directly State-funded organisation and levies fees on its own membership in support of its functions. Indeed, details of its accoun...

61. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if there is provision for independent oversight of members appointed to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority in the carrying out of their functions; and the details of the oversight mechanism, if it exists. (Question 32503/16 asked on 27 Oct 2016 - Legal Services Regulation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Legal Services Regulatory Authority which has eleven members, including a lay majority and a lay Chairperson, is publicly accountable as a body corporate for the performance of those functions which it is required to carry out under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. 
Under section 21 of the Act the Authority is publicly accountable in terms of its making an annual report to the Minister and to the Oireachtas Jo...

155. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she is satisfied that all procedures were properly followed by the Bar Council in nominating a person (details supplied) to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority, as stated in a letter from her Department to the Bar Council dated 3 October 2016. (Question 30421/16 asked on 18 Oct 2016 - Legal Services Regulation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The selection process for membership of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority is built around a framework of ten prescribed nominating bodies as set out in section 9 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015, one of them being the Bar Council. The ten prescribed nominating bodies put forward their nominees under the procedures set out in Part 2 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. They do this as appropriate to...

110. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the powers she has under the legislation to take action in instances where there are allegations that proper procedures have not been followed by any organisation or body in nominating individuals to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority. (Question 28411/16 asked on 04 Oct 2016 - Legal Services Regulation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The processes for the nomination, approval and appointment of members of the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority are laid out in Part 2 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. This Part, comprising sections 7 to 36, deals with the establishment of the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority, its membership, appointment, functions, staffing and other matters including disqualification or removal from membership. ...

101. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if it will be necessary to produce statutory instruments prior to commencement with respect to legal services regulation; when she will complete this; if she is being lobbied on matters related to commencing the reform; and the budget she requires for 2017. (Question 15334/16 asked on 14 Jun 2016 - Legal Services Regulation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 102 together.
As previously conveyed to the House, preparations for the phased commencement of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 are already underway. In keeping with normal procedures this will be formalised in a series of Statutory Instruments. A necessary first step in preparation for these commencements is the appointment of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority after...

102. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the steps she has taken to develop a robust protected disclosure process to underpin the new legal services regulation oversight system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15335/16 asked on 14 Jun 2016 - Legal Services Regulation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 102 together.
As previously conveyed to the House, preparations for the phased commencement of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 are already underway. In keeping with normal procedures this will be formalised in a series of Statutory Instruments. A necessary first step in preparation for these commencements is the appointment of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority after...

220. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to set out her views on the guidance obtained by her Department in respect of the public procurement regulations that may be relevant or legal obstacles that may be present in respect of a legislative matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26936/15 asked on 07 Jul 2015 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The matters being raised by the Deputy have already been addressed in my Written Reply to Question No 135 of 25 June 2015 which I will, therefore, largely reiterate on this occasion.
The Legal Services Regulation Bill completed its Dáil Stages on 22 April followed by the completion of Seanad Second Stage on 13 May. In this context, I would point out to the Deputy that the proposed amendments she has referred to, and which relate to t...

115. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 399 of 14 January 2015, her views that trust conflicts were illuminated in a declaration of early 2012 by a prominent stakeholder, referred to in the reply as an initial iteration, and that in the public interest and in view of an extraordinary degree of legislative churn these conflicts should be addressed through a genuine conversation with citizen stakeholders; her views that for the benefit of online public participation the Bill could be formatted in plain English; and if she will confirm that it is the intention of the Government to guillotine Report Stage of the Bill. (Question 3167/15 asked on 22 Jan 2015 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): In my Reply to Parliamentary Question No. 399 of 14 January 2015 I have clearly set out for the Deputy the circumstances in relation to the specific matter raised and the fact that it concerned the views expressed by but one of the many stake-holders to the Legal Services Regulation Bill. These views are validly expressed, both to Government and to individual Members of both Houses, as part of the open legislative process to which th...

399. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality regarding the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011, and in view of the context of a new Bill on lobbying reform, Registration of Lobbying Bill 2014, if she and her Department officials will make a public interest disclosure of lobbying efforts made during the three years since the Bill was published; if her attention has been drawn to a message (details supplied) published in January-February 2012; and if her Bill will go any way towards restoring public trust in the legal system. (Question 49467/14 asked on 14 Jan 2015 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Legal Services Regulation Bill, which was published on 12 October 2011, has completed both Second and Committee Stages in the Dáil. It commenced Dáil Report Stage on 11th July 2014 which is to resume in the coming weeks. It is my intention that the Bill be enacted so that the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority come into operation during the first half of 2015. It is regrettable that the item to which the Deputy refers dates ...

94. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps that can be taken by either his office or the Law Society to deal with a practising solicitor who suppresses information in his or her possession in relation to child sexual abuse, leading to a continuation of that abuse. (Question 52651/13 asked on 10 Dec 2013 - Legal Services Regulation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The investigation of any allegation of criminality is a matter for An Garda Síochána, and my office has no direct role in this regard. The Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 makes it an offence for any person to deliberately withhold information regarding sexual and other serious offences committed against a child or other vulnerable person. Under section 2 of the A...