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Civil legal-aid consultation seeks views of public
Justice minister Heather Humphreys Pic: RollingNews.ie

09 Dec 2022 / justice Print

Civil legal-aid consultation seeks views of public

The second phase of a consultation process on the reform of the civil legal-aid scheme has been launched.

The public consultation will run from 8 December 2022 until 3 February 2023.

A stakeholder consultation opened for submissions on 14 November 2022 and remains open until 3 February 2023.

A targeted consultation for hard-to-reach groups will also be launched at a later date.

Review group working on report

The scheme provides legal aid and advice to people of limited means in civil disputes – including in family law.

An Independent Civil Legal Aid Review Group, chaired by the former Chief Justice Frank Clarke, has started working on the first review of the scheme in its 40-year history.

It will make periodic progress reports to the Minister for Justice before submitting a final report once its work is completed.

The group’s terms of reference require it to examine all aspects of the current operation of the scheme, and make recommendations on the future legal-assistance needs of those who cannot afford to access legal advice and representation privately.

'Lived experience'

Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys said that the public consultation would enable individuals with experience of the scheme, or other interested individuals, to participate in the review process.

The review group will oversee the consultation process.

“The aim of this review is to ensure that we have a fair and robust civil legal-aid scheme and, as such, we will be considering a number of issues – including eligibility for civil legal aid,” said Frank Clarke.

He added that, while the public consultation was a valuable opportunity to learn more about the lived experience of those who had interacted with the scheme, contributors did not need to have engaged with the scheme directly, or even have dealt with a civil legal issue.

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