WEDNESDAY 27TH NOVEMBER 2013
Law Reform Commission publishes
Fourth Programme of Law Reform
Commission’s Fourth Programme of Law Reform, prepared after extensive public consultation, contains 11 projects;
One of the projects will examine corporate criminal offences and whether existing regulatory powers are sufficient;
Another project will examine whether a new offence is required to deal with cyberbullying
The Law Reform Commission’s Fourth Programme of Law Reform is being launched at 5pm this evening at the Commission’s offices by the Attorney General, Máire Whelan SC.
The Commission’s statutory role under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 is to review the law and to make proposals for law reform. This role is carried out primarily under a Programme of Law Reform. The Commission also works on specific matters referred to it by the Attorney General under the 1975 Act.
Fourth Programme of Law Reform contains 11 projects
This Fourth Programme was prepared by the Commission following broad public consultation and discussion, during which the Commission received 68 written submissions and held discussions with NGOs, representative groups, Government Departments and the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence.
Following this consultation process, in accordance with the 1975 Act the Fourth Programme of Law Reform was approved by the Government on 8th October. The Fourth Programme contains 11 projects, which will deal with:
1. Corporate offences and regulatory enforcement;
2. Disclosure and discovery in criminal cases;
3. Sexual offences against children;
4. Contempt of court and other offences and torts involving the administration of justice;
5. Suspended sentences;
6. Crime affecting personal safety, privacy and reputation, including cyber-bullying;
7. Aspects of succession law;
8. Compulsory acquisition of land;
9. Landlord and tenant law for residential tenancies;
10. Domestic implementation of international obligations;
11. Codification/Consolidation/Simplification of the Law.
Outline of some projects in the Fourth Programme of Law Reform
Project 1: Corporate offences and regulatory enforcement. This project will examine whether the range of existing corporate offences are sufficient, including whether an offence of reckless trading should be enacted. It will also examine the regulatory and enforcement powers of the Central Bank of Ireland and other comparable bodies such as the Commission for Energy Regulation. This will include examining whether provision should be made for deferred prosecution agreements and whether it would be beneficial to have a single set of enforcement and regulatory powers that would apply to all comparable regulators.
Project 6: Crime affecting personal safety, privacy and reputation, including cyber-bullying. This project will include an analysis of harmful behaviour in this area, in particular bullying, and the impact which cyber-bullying through social media has had. The project will examine whether a specific offence of cyber-bullying should be enacted. It will also examine the options for exercising jurisdiction in respect of offences committed via the internet.
Project 8: Compulsory acquisition of land. This project will involve the consolidation and reform of the rules and principles on compulsory acquisition of land. Much of the relevant legislation dates back to the 19th century and the current process is considered unnecessarily complex, lengthy and costly. The purpose of the project would be to put in place a fair, effective and efficient system.
Project 10: Domestic implementation of international obligations. This project will provide an inventory of methods used to implement the State’s international obligations. It will also explore and evaluate these methods and make observations in terms of their efficacy and efficiency. The project may also explore some discrete areas, such as the law of state immunity in civil matters.
The President of the Law Reform Commission, Mr Justice John Quirke, comments in his Foreword to the Fourth Programme:
“We look forward to working through the 11 approved projects during the coming two years and to continuing the collaborative and consultative processes which we have begun in this latest phase of the important task of law reform.”