Irish Law Updates

Monday, March 22, 2010

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Forthcoming Legal Events

Mon.22 March 2010:
Irish Prison Law and the ECHR - Dublin

Wed.24 March 2010:
Family Law and the EU - Irish Society for European Law - Dublin

Wed. 24 March 2010:
Positive Obligations and the European Convention on Human Rights - Queen's University Belfast

29-31 March 2010:
Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference - Cambridge

29-30 March 2010:
British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association (BILETA) Conference 2010 - Vienna

Fri.2 April 2010:
Closing Date for Call for Papers, Fourth Legal Education Symposium, University of Limerick

School of Law
University of Limerick


Call for Papers

Dear Colleagues,

The Fourth Legal Education Symposium will be hosted by University of Limerick on Friday, 14th May 2010.

In addition to the plenary sessions, we will have some interesting workshops, as is usual at the symposia.

There are eight topics below and I welcome your proposals for papers and contributions in respect of these. Those themes which inspire most interest will run as workshops.

Each presenter should anticipate a delivery time of approximately 15 minutes, to leave some additional time for questions and discussion.

The possible themes are:

Interdisciplinary law degrees
Clinical legal education

Integration of teaching and research

Law teacher as mentor
Law for non-law students

Engaging students with the curriculum
Undergraduate legal writing

Interested parties should submit an abstract of their presentation before Friday 2nd April. The abstract should consist of a 300-500 word description of content and be sent to .

Holmes O�Malley Sexton, Solicitors have kindly agreed to sponsor the Fourth Legal Education Symposium.

Fri-Sat.9-10 Apr.2010:
Law Society Annual Conference - Kilkenny

Fri-Sat.9-10 Apr.2010:
Corporations and Armed Conflict: The Role of International Law - NUI Galway

Mon.12 April 2010:
The Arbitration Act 2010 - Dublin

Fri.16 April 2010:
Public interest law in action: using law to face current challenges - Dublin

Fri.16 April 2010:
Deadline for call for papers: The Children�s Convention at 21: The Rights of the Child Come of Age? - University of Ulsetr (Magee)

Sat. 17 April 2010:
Symposium on Jurisprudence and Legal Theory - University College Cork

Wed.21 April 2010:
Fatherhood, Law and Personal Life: Rethinking Debates about Fathers and Law - Inaugural Annual Law and Society Lecture, School of Law and Government, Dublin City University

Thu.22 Apr.'10:
Law and the Environment Conference - University College Cork

Fri.23 April 2010:
Financial Services Update: Regulation and Acquisitions - Irish Centre for European Law - Dublin

Sat.24 April 2010:
International and Comparative Perspectives on Employment and Disability Law - NUI Galway

Thu.29 Apr.'10
Borders of Justice: Locating the Law in Times of Transition - UCC Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights Postgraduate Conference 2010 - University College Cork

Sat.1 May 2010:
Deadline for Call for Papers - 'Subjects Before the Law: Membership, Recognition and the Religious Dimensions of Women's Citizenship - Cork,97939,en.html

3-4 May 2010:
Annual Seminar on EU Law 2010 - ERA, Trier, Germany

Fri.7 May 2010:
Using international law: the European Social Charter and UN treaty body complaints procedures - Dublin

Fri.14 May 2010:
Symposium: Towards a Gender Recognition Framework for Ireland - Cork,97981,en.html

Fri.14 May 2010:
Legal Education Symposium - University of Limerick

Sat.15 May 2010:
Trial by Media- Media and the Criminal Law - Irish Criminal Bar Association Conference

Fri.28 May 2010:
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Ireland Annual Conference - Restructuring Family Affairs in 2010 - Dublin

Thu.-Fri. 3-4 June 2010:
Current Problematic Issues in the Law of the Sea - Trinity College Dublin

Thu.-Fri. 3-4 June 2010:
Mastering Law: Conflicts, Challenges and Solutions in Today's Society - N.U.I Galway Law Society Conference, Faculty of Law

10-12 June 2010:
British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) Annual Conference - Brighton

17-19 June 2010:
Regulation in the Age of Crisis: ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance Biennial Conference - Dublin

19-20 June 2010:
The Children�s Convention at 21: The Rights of the Child Come of Age? - University of Ulster (Magee)

Mon.-Tue. 21-22 June 2010:
North-South Criminology Conference - University of Ulster

5-23 July 2010:
E Law Summer Institute 2010 - University College Cork Faculty of Law

Thu.9 Sep.2010:
Subjects Before the Law: Membership, Recognition and the Religious Dimensions of Women's Citizenship - Cork,97939,en.html

13-16 Sept.2010:
Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference 2010 - Southampton

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Dublin Archdiocese Report and the Law

Does the law need to be changed as a result of the Dublin Archdiocese Report on Child Sexual Abuse (the Murphy report, 2009)?

The report includes the following at pages 104 and onwards (edited):

"6.21 The Child Care Act 1991 was the first Act to place statutory responsibility on the health boards to promote the welfare of children not receiving adequate care and protection. Its only reference to child sexual abuse was to provide that sexual abuse of children would be among the criteria for seeking court orders.

"6.22 The stated purpose of the Child Care Act 1991 is �to provide for the care and protection of children and for related matters. Section 3 of the Act places a statutory duty on health boards to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care and protection. This section came into effect in December 1992....

"6.24 Section 69 provides that �The Minister may give general directions to a health board in relation to the performance of the functions assigned to it by or under this Act and the health board shall comply with any such direction�. No such direction has been issued.

"6.25 As is pointed out in the Ferns Report, this new obligation was not accompanied by new powers to intervene in specific situations. When introducing the Bill in 1988, the Minister for Health talked about the �imaginative use� of the new provisions. Legal provisions need to be clear and unambiguous with little scope for, and no requirement to use, imagination.

"6.26 As already stated, the Health Act 1970 did not enumerate all the functions of the health boards. The Health Act 2004 which established the Health Service Executive (HSE) is drafted in a similar way: it confers on the HSE those functions which were formerly carried out by the health boards. The Commission considers that it would be preferable if there was a clear unambiguous listing of the statutory functions and powers of the HSE so that there could be no doubt about the extent of its power to intervene in child protection issues.

What is the role of the health authorities in relation to clerical child sex abuse?

"6.27 Under the Child Care Act 1991, the health boards, and now the HSE, have a general duty to promote the welfare of children who are not receiving adequate care and protection. The Commission agrees with the Ferns Report analysis of the powers of the health boards. The Ferns Report takes the view that the powers conferred on the health boards by the 1991 Act are designed to protect a child from an abusive family situation. It is the parents or guardians who are responsible for dealing with the matter in cases of third party or extra-familial abuse. The Ferns Report also points out that the powers available to the health boards under the 1991 Act are not significantly greater than those available under the 1908 Act.

"6.28 Notification to the health board of alleged abuse by priests does not seem to serve any useful purpose if the health boards do not have any power to do anything about it.

"6.29 The method by which the boards recorded such notifications, that is, by the name of the child, while appropriate for family abuse, is not appropriate for extra-familial abuse. There is no point in recording alleged abuse by a person who is in a public position, for example, a priest, a teacher, sports coach, by the name of the abused person. This information needs to be recorded by the name of the alleged abuser and by the school, parish, sports club or other relevant body. The Commission is not aware of any legal reason why this information could not be collated and classified in this way by the HSE. For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission considers that the HSE should be given specific statutory power to maintain such a record.

"6.30 The Commission is not suggesting that it would be appropriate for the HSE to have the power to intervene where the child is being appropriately cared for by parents or guardians. It is concerned about the lack of clear power to collate and maintain relevant information and to share that information with other relevant authorities.

"6.31 In the case of M.Q. v Robert Gleeson and others [1997] IEHC 26; [1998] 4 IR 85, Mr Justice Barr took the view that health boards had an implied right and duty to communicate information about a possible child abuser if, by failing to do so, the safety of some children might be put at risk. Before making such a communication, the health boards had certain duties to the alleged perpetrator. This judgement has been viewed quite differently by the Ferns Report and the health boards/HSE. The Ferns Report was clearly concerned about the legislative basis for this wide ranging duty to communicate while the health boards/HSE concerns relate to restrictions on their ability to communicate because of the requirements to inform the perpetrator. The Ferns Report took the view that the only power available to health boards to inform parties that allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against a particular person is �one inferred from the wide ranging objective of child protection� imposed on health boards by the Child Care Act 1991. It went on to express the view that the implication of such a duty on health boards without any express legislative powers is an issue which should be carefully considered by the Legislature. The HSE told the Commission that the judgement in this case (generally known as the Barr judgement) had �significant implication for the management of child sexual abuse cases by the Health Boards/HSE. It provided that the Health Boards/HSE (except in cases where a child is believed to be at immediate risk of suspected child sexual abuse) before passing on any information with regard to a suspected child abuser to a third party, must give the allegations in writing to the alleged perpetrator. The alleged perpetrator must then be given the opportunity to respond in person to the HSE before the HSE makes its decision on whether or not to pass on the information to a third party. Recent legal advice is that the opportunity to appeal the decision of the HSE to pass on information to a third party must also be given to the alleged perpetrator.

"6.32 The Commission considers that the law should be clarified in order to confer on the HSE a duty to communicate to relevant parties, such as schools and sports clubs, concerns about a possible child abuser. The extent of the HSE obligation to notify the alleged perpetrator, if any, should also be clarified."

The Taoiseach has responded as follows:

"The Commission's Report expresses concern about the statutory powers of the Health Service Executive to deal with child sexual abuse by non-family members. Minister Andrews' Office is consulting further with the Office of the Attorney General to seek clarity in this regard. However, in the wake of the publication of the Ferns Report in 2005, legal advice was sought from the Attorney General in relation to the powers of Health Boards/HSE to investigate and deal with instances of Child Abuse perpetrated outside the family. The Attorney General was not of the view that the HSE's powers under Section 3 of the Child Care Act (1991) are limited to cases of intra family abuse. The HSE has stated that it responds to all allegations of child sex abuse regardless of the circumstances of the allegation."

This seems an inadequate response to the specific points raised in the Murphy report about the Child Care Act 1991 and the legislation concerning the powers of the HSE.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Forthcoming Events

The list of forthcoming Irish Law events has been updated. The full list appears here. To subscribe to the Irish Law site e-mail updates list, fill in the form here. Sample events on the list:

Thu.19 Nov.'09:
Mental Health in Prison - Dublin

Sat. 21 Nov.'09:
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights � Making States Accountable - Annual Human Rights Conference of the IHRC and the Law Society of Ireland, Dublin

Wed.25 Nov.'09:
Constitutional Courts and the Lisbon Treaty - ISEL 7th Annual Brian Walsh Memorial Lecture, Dublin

Thu.26 Nov.'09:
ECHR Update: The Recent Use of the ECHR in the Courts, Procedure, Remedies and Analysis - Dublin

Thu.26 Nov.2009:
A Comparatist�s Analysis of the Convergence of Legal Systems - Dublin

Thu.26 Nov. 2009:
National Asset Management Agency - UCD Commercial Law Centre, Dublin

Fri. 27 Nov.2009:
Assessing Liability in Asset Management - Placing the Legal Principles in their Financial Context - UCD Commercial Law Centre, Dublin

Sat. 28 Nov.'09:
Aspects of Asylum and Immigration Law - The Bar Council of Ireland, Dublin

Sat.28 Nov.'09
Recent Developments in Irish Defamation Law, Including the Defamation Act 2009 - School of Law, Trinity College Dublin, CPD Conference

Mon.30 Nov.'09:
The Intel Decision - ISEL Competition Law Forum, Dublin

Mon.30 Nov.'09:
Launch of IPRT report on Detention of Children - Dublin

Tue.1 Dec.'09:
FLAC Third Annual Dave Ellis Memorial Lecture

Wed.2 Dec.2009:
Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 - UCD Commercial Law Centre, Dublin

Thu.-Fri.3-4 Dec.2009:
Police Governance and Accountability, Limerick

Thu.-Fri.3-4 Dec.'09:
Intensive Course on Planning Law (Including Developments on Strategic Infrastructure, Habitats and the New Planning Bill 2009) - Centre for Environmental Law, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin, CPD Course

Sat.5 Dec.'09:
Meeting the Challenges - New Ways of Doing Business. Speakers: K Erwin, Mediators'Institute of Ireland; J Maguire Collaborative Law; P Marrinan Quinn SC Conflict & Dispute Resolution Diploma TCD: T O'Riordan Manager Public Interest Law Project FLAC. Irish Women Lawyers' Association, Dublin.

Sat.5 Dec.'09:
Tort Litigation: Recent Developments - School of Law, Trinity College Dublin, CPD Conference

Fri.11 Dec.'09:
Intensive Course on Waste Law including the New Waste Directive - Centre for Environmental Law and Policy, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin, CPD Course

5-6 March 2010:
Irish Society of Comparative Law Annual Conference, Belfast

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Bord Snip and the Legal System

Colin Scott has a useful blog post on An Bord Snip's proposals regarding the legal system here.
Join in the lively discussion in the comments section.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Data Retention Bill

Both the Irish Times and the Irish Examiner report this morning that the Data Retention Bill is due to to be published today, when it was actually published on Friday.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Recent Short Items (11 July 2009)

Data Retention Bill published -

Employment Agency Regulation Bill published (Press Release); (Bill)

Defamation Bill passed (Eoin O'Dell) -

Conor O'Mahony questions constitutionality of Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill

Ruling sounds death-knell for public access to wills

Irish language legal challenge dismissed (via @gaelport):

Lawyers' letter protesting new Criminal Justice Bill (Via @ubfid)

Court refused discovery to Monica Leech

Ongoing legal issues re anti-acne drug Roaccutane

McDowell - lawyers should revisit the doctrine of the separation of powers

Call for apology to survivors of Magdalen laundries

FLAC - Proposed legislation on debt enforcement leaves "a mountain of reform left to climb" -

Search engines and safe harbours (T.J. McIntyre)

Trial by Jury to be removed for organised crime offences - Blog post by Fiona Donson -

Fixed Term Employment Contracts - Review of the Law

Judge queries value of orders against debtors

Fisherman opposed to laying of gas pipeline by Shell loses court challenge to detention

New law to allow courts to jail debtors who refuse to pay

Full text of Civil Partnership Bill

Civil Partnership Bill published

Shannon used for torture flights: Government must acknowledge and investigate (via @AmnestyIRL)

Challenge to Law Society on exam

Greens say Civil Partnership Bill does not go far enough

Woman with prosthetic arm forced to work 'out of sight' in storeroom



Friday, June 05, 2009

Draft Irish Creative Commons Licence available for public discussion

The draft of CC BY-NC-SA adapted to Irish law is now in public discussion. The public discussion is a key part of Creative Commons� license porting project. It is an opportunity for you, content creators and licence users, to engage in the drafting process and give your input in this collaborative effort. We warmly invite you to join CC Ireland�s discussion list and share your comments with local and international legal experts.

See also this posting on the Creative Commons News blog.

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