PRESS RELEASE EMBARGO: MIDNIGHT 18 JULY 2007
LAW REFORM COMMISSION ISSUES CONSULTATION PAPER ON STATUTE LAW RESTATEMENT
Thursday 19 July 2007: The Law Reform Commission’s Consultation Paper on Statute Law Restatement will be formally launched by the Attorney General, Paul Gallagher SC, at the Commission’s offices at 6.00pm today.
What is Statute Law Restatement?
Statute Law Restatement as provided for in the Statute Law (Restatement) Act 2002, is an administrative consolidation of an Act, as amended subsequently, which is made available in printed or electronic form in a single text and is certified by the Attorney General as an up-to-date statement of the Act in question as amended.
Statute Law Restatement forms part of the overall policy of Better Regulation, which includes the objective of making legislation more accessible. In terms of the accessibility of statute law it can also be seen against the background of the ongoing commitment to modernise the Statute Book in Ireland.
Draft Restatement of Freedom of Information Act 1997
In the Consultation Paper the Commission has prepared a draft Restatement of the Freedom of Information Act 1997. For anybody familiar with the 1997 Act, it is well-known that it was amended in important respects by the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003. However, it is worth noting that the 2003 Act accounts for only about 50% of the amendments made to the 1997 Act: the remaining 50% are contained in 76 Acts, Orders or Regulations enacted or made since 1997.
The draft restatement of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 reinforces the clear benefit of allowing all those affected by the 1997 Act to know the up-to-date position concerning the rules on access to public information set out in the 1997 Act, as amended, and the range of public bodies covered by its terms. A Programme of Statute Law Restatement would repeat this benefit across a wide range of Statute Law.
Statute Law Restatement and the Law Reform Commission
The Consultation Paper arises from a Government decision in May 2006, at the request of the Attorney General, that the Law Reform Commission undertake a Programme of Statute Law Restatement.
In May 2006, the Taoiseach announced a public consultation process for Statute Law Restatement. The Consultation Paper sets out the results of that Public Consultation Process, listing 60 Acts which have been put forward as candidate Acts for Restatement. These have been rated by the Commission on the basis of relevant criteria. The Commission has given a high priority rating to a number of candidate Acts. These include: the Data Protection Act 1988; the Consumer Credit Act 1995; and the Statute of Limitations 1957.
Statute Law Restatement and eLegislation Strategy
The Commission is conscious that a Programme of Statute Law Restatement must also be consistent with the Government’s policy on the Information Society. In particular, the Government’s Information Society Action Plan, New Connections, outlines an eLegislation strategy, under which all legislation will be submitted to the Oireachtas electronically. With this approach in mind the Consultation Paper deals in some detail with the technological side of Statute Law Restatement.
For further information/interview with Director of Research Raymond Byrne, contact: Winifred McCourt, Weber Shandwick FCC, 01-6760168 or 087 2446004