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03/11/2021 12:00:00 AM


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MacNeill, Jennifer Carroll

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Bills

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Criminal Procedure Bill 2021

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Report and Final Stages

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1005

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Criminal Procedure Bill 2021\Report and Final Stages
Bills\Criminal Procedure Bill 2021\Report and Final Stages

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Criminal Procedure Bill 2021

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Report and Final Stages

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Senator


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Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

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Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

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Jennifer Carroll MacNeill

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03/18/2021 03:01:14 PM

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Snippet Contents:

I will just make a couple of quick points. Deputy Howlin is absolutely right about the statute law revision project. The work of Alma Clissman in the Law Reform Commission must also be noted. The commission has restated the law correctly and brought it up to date. There is a way to go even further. The law is presented but one can see all the amendments which have been made, these being colour-coded. This was done in England and Wales. There are also links to the Acts under which these amendments were made and to the statutory instruments. We are beginning that work now. The next step is to provide links to court judgments.
With regard to what Deputy Mattie McGrath said about the review and the Children (Amendment) Bill 2020, I am not sure that we would have caught this issue. The issue came to light in a hard case in which the director took a particular position. I do not know that, in reviewing the Bill, I would have caught that practical problem which I could not have foreseen when the Bill was being drafted and going through the House. Equally, I do not believe I would have had the insight to be able to catch that issue as part of a review process. The court, however, did and the Oireachtas is fixing the issue in question, as is appropriate. We will talk about that later.
There are other review mechanisms. I have done work in the area of judicial appointments. I have constantly made the point that, although the Act establishing the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board was enacted in 1995, the Oireachtas committee did not take the opportunity to review the board's operation until 2016 and 2017. The board had never really operated as laid out in the Act. In fact, major changes had been made with no recourse to the Oireachtas. It operated completely differently from the way envisaged in the legislation and this was not even reported to the Oireachtas, which originally enacted the legislation.
These errors can go everywhere. I recall a judgment of the High Court in 2009 based on an application made under the Prevention of Electoral Abuses Act 1923 in respect of an incident relating to a politician. A court order was made on foot of this application but the section under which it was made had actually been repealed in the Electoral Act 1963. In that case, everybody got it wrong, including the judge, the lawyers and everyone else. It caused a whole new set of problems for all of the people involved. It just goes to show how badly the law had been presented that an error of that kind could be made in that court.