The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has commenced most of the provisions of a wide-ranging act that includes changes in the areas of insurance, the courts and legal services.
The Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023 introduces a number of changes aimed at increasing efficiency in the Courts Service.
It sets up a centralised office within the service to administer the summoning of juries.
This will be complemented by the Court Service’s continuing roll-out of its modernisation programme – including an online portal that allows people to respond to jury summonses online, rather than by post.
The legislation also enables the Courts Service to designate any court office as a centralised office for the purpose of carrying out specified court business exclusively, or in addition to, a local office.
Amendments to the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 pave the way for the introduction of partnerships between solicitors and barristers or between barristers and other barristers.
The Department of Justice describes this as “a key development in the modernisation of how legal services can be provided to consumers, private or enterprise, on a more competitive basis”.
The act also contains amendments to the laws governing Irish nationality and citizenship, international protection and immigration.
The residency requirement for children born in Ireland, who are of a different nationality, to apply for citizenship has now been reduced from five years to three years.
Since the citizenship referendum, enacted in 2004, children born to non-Irish residents in the State have an automatic right to Irish citizenship only if one of the parents is an Irish citizen or is entitled to be one.
Minster McEntee said that the reduction to three years would provide “comfort and certainty” to children and their families.
Under the act, people convicted of serious offences can now be served with a deportation order without the option of leaving the State voluntarily, which will also have the effect of preventing their return to the State.
The legislation also amends the Immigration Act 1999 to allow immigration authorities to serve documents – including deportation orders – electronically.