REGULATION OF LOBBYING ACT 2015
The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 is designed to provide information to the public about who is lobbying whom about what. The Standards in Public Office Commission has established an online register of lobbying at www.lobbying.ie.
Section 6(4) of the 2015 Act requires each public body to publish a list of designated public officials of the body. The purpose of the list is twofold:
- To allow members of the public identify those persons who are designated public officials; and
- As a resource for lobbyists filing a return to the Register who may need to source a designated public official’s details.
Further information regarding the legislation and further guidance on the 2015 Act is available on the Regulation of Lobbying website at www.lobbying.ie. Information may also be obtained by contacting the Standards Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 01-6395722.
LAW REFORM COMMMISSION DESIGNATED PUBLIC OFFICIAL UNDER 2015 ACT
||Job Title and Grade
||Law Reform Commission
||Full time Commissioner (Assistant Secretary General)
The full time Commissioner, Mr Raymond Byrne (Assistant Secretary General grade), appointed by Government for a 5 year term in April 2016, is the sole designated public official in the Law Reform Commission within the meaning of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015. The full time Commissioner, as one of the 5 members of the Commission, is required by the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 to be suitably qualified for appointment as a qualified lawyer, or teacher of law or otherwise. Mr Byrne is a qualified barrister and was also for many years a lecturer in law in Dublin City University.
The full time Commissioner ensures that there is ongoing communication between the Commission and the Office of the Attorney General, from whose Annual Vote the Commission receives its grant-in-aid. The Director General of the Office of the Attorney General is the Accounting Officer for the Commission. The full time Commissioner ensures, in conjunction with the other members of the Commission who together act as a collegiate body, that the Commission carries out its statutory mandate under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 to keep the law under review and to make proposals for law reform. Law reform is defined in the 1975 Act to include the development of law, its codification (including its simplification and modernisation) and the revision and consolidation of statute law.
The Commission’s law reform research work arises from two main sources: under a Programme of Law Reform prepared by the Commission and agreed by Government and laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas under the 1975 Act (the current 4th Programme was approved in 2013 and contains 11 projects); and in accordance with a request from the Attorney General under the 1975 Act. The Commission has published over 200 documents containing proposals for reform, and about 70% of its Reports have influenced the content of enacted reforming legislation.
The Commission’s research work on statute law, its Access to Legislation work, comprises 3 elements: the Legislation Directory (available on the electronic Irish Statute Book, the eISB), Revised Acts (over 300 administrative consolidations of Acts in their amended form, available by link from the eISB to the Commission’s website) and the Classified List of In-Force Acts and Statutory Instruments (containing over 2,000 in-force Acts and over 15,000 in-force statutory instruments under 36 subject-matter headings).
The full time Commissioner also chairs the Commission’s management committee and is, in effect, the Commission’s chief executive officer. The full time Commissioner ensures, with the members of the management committee, that there is effective management of the organisation including the management of staff, and that the Commission’s policies and procedures are consistent with relevant legislation and guidance, in particular in connection with financial matters and governance.
LAW REFORM COMMISSION CONSULTATIVE PROCESS
In carrying out its statutory this mandate under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 to keep the law under review and to make proposals for reform, section 4 of the 1975 Act authorises the Commission to consult with other bodies and individuals, to establish working parties or advisory committees, to publish preliminary papers and to publish final Reports with recommendations for reform (which may include draft Bills).
The Commission’s consultative process under the 1975 Act is a vital part of the Commission’s mandate.
In connection law reform projects, the Commission almost invariably publishes on its website, www.lawreform.ie, an initial paper (Working Paper, Consultation Paper or Issues Paper) and invites any interested party to make submissions to the Commission on the issues raised in the paper. The Commission’s Consultation Page on its website notes that these submissions come within the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and the Commission’s Freedom of Information Scheme, which is also found on its website.
As envisaged by the 1975 Act, the Commission from time to time may establish a working party or advisory committee to assist in a law reform project. Where such a working party or advisory committee is established, its full membership is published, including in the Commission’s Annual Report. At present (November 2017), the Commission has no working party or advisory committee in place.
The Commission may also host a seminar, round table or conference to discuss the issues raised in a project, invariably after an initial paper has been published, in order to gain further insights from interested parties before the finalisation of its recommendations for reform in a Commission Report (which usually includes a draft Bill).