To: The Minister for Justice
Implement the EU RIGHT to Civil Legal Aid in Irish legislation NOW
Introduce emergency legislation for Civil Legal Aid for the Citizens of Ireland in cases which involve EU law. The RIGHT to be advised and defended is a basic Human Right under the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, but this RIGHT is being denied to Irish people in Irish Courts.
Why is this important?
Since the economic crash in 2008 hundreds of thousands of Irish people have been affected by financial legal issues which can end up in court proceedings.
There are currently 20,000 cases for repossession in the Irish Courts. With a typical family of 5 that is over 100,000 people. Some experts say 250,000 - 500,000 are affected by potential repossession in Ireland.
While every criminal in Ireland from the petty thief to the rapist, murderer, drug dealer and maybe even Bankers in criminal proceedings are entitled to legal aid, Civil Legal aid is only available for family law issues in Ireland.
People in financial difficulty have to try and represent themselves or, just not go to Court at all and lose their homes by default, without a defence being put forward.
Article 47 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights says everyone is entitled to be advised and represented if the legal issue involves EU law, but this is not implemented in Irish law and Judges appear not to have jurisdiction to grant legal aid in Civil Cases.
I have an Application to the Irish Supreme Court in relation to the availability of legal aid, pending permission to Appeal since September 2017 and ready for a determination since May 2018, but no Determination has been forthcoming to-date.
Minister, please introduce legislation to make civil legal aid available to the tens of thousands of people in the Courts in repossession proceedings and, make the Supreme Court more transparent in how and when, it makes it Determinations. A sequential list of applications ready for determination should be available publicly on the internet and, sequentially allocated a Determination hearing on a first come first served basis with the schedules for Determinations publicly available on the internet.