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Ó Laoghaire welcomes support from experts on the Multi Party Action Bill

21 February, 2018 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has welcomed broad and enthusiastic support from key legal experts in the area of Multi Party Actions.

He was speaking following the Bill being discussed at the Justice Committee, where the Bill completed pre-committee Scrutiny. 

He called upon the Government to ensure it is allowed to Committee stage, to ensure that it can become law.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

“I am very pleased and encouraged with the support this Bill has received, From Dr Joanne Blennerhassett of UCD, from Eilis Barry and Paul Joyce from the Free Legal Advice Centre, and from David Coleman of Coleman Partners, as well as from my colleagues on the Justice Committee.

“It supports our view that this legislation can be a game changer, in giving people access to Justice, particularly those who have been subjected to gross injustices, and have not been able to take an action, because they simply cannot afford it.

"We are far behind comparable jurisdictions in not having an avenue to Justice like this.

"This Legislation offers a Radical Reform which can make a considerable difference to people’s ability to take cases, as a whole class of people and will embolden many to become part of an action, where previously the fear of costs may have intimidated them.

"According to Dr Blennerhassett, 'Multi Party Actions, by enabling victims of mass harm to combine their legal actions, can be a key tool in achieving access to justice. It gives victims strength in numbers and allows them to pool their resources as often they are faced with David versus Goliath type scenarios. 

"The Multi Party Action Bill aims to reduce the costs of litigation, make better use of court resources and improve access to the courts in these cases.

"Similarly FLAC welcomed the Bill 'as a tool in achieving the overall objectives of expanding access to justice, procedural efficiency and fairness. 

"The Bill, if enacted, can enable litigants to overcome some of the many impediments facing citizens who take legal actions individually. 

"Mr Colemans evidence, from his experience of cases currently, underlined how badly such a piece of legislation is needed.

"We want to give those affected by this and other injustices, the tools to take on the Banks, or any other such institution, body or individual.

“There is, I believe, a consensus emerging around the need for this legislation. Government needs to recognise that, and work with the Bill, not against it.

"It is urgently needed, and I urge the Government now to allow it to move through the houses, and not to block it at committee stage."

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