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Irish Legal News: 25th September 2019

Events, CPD & Courses
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Latest News

Events, CPD & Courses

Technological Disruptions in Legal Practice

Seminar: “Technological Disruptions in Legal Practice”

9.30am – 12.30pm, 25th September 2019.
Athlone Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Athlone, County Westmeath.
Lecture Theater C1141 (Douglas Hyde)

This seminar brings together legal practitioners and academics at the forefront of technological change. Topics and speakers include:

  • Gerard Groarke BL – Technology and the Bar: Uncomfortable Bedfellows?
  • Fred Logue, FP Logue Solicitors – Technology and transparency in litigation, a form of legal aid.
  • AnneMarie Whelan, RegSol Ltd. – Regulatory Compliance and Technology.
  • Denise Daly, A&L Goodbody Solicitors - How A&L Goodbody is embracing technological change for the benefit of its clients; and the opportunities this presents for the lawyers of the future.
  • Mark Potkewitz, Co-Director, Legal Innovation Centre, Ulster University - Non-traditional roles for lawyers and legally-minded people.

Attendees will also be invited to participate in an afternoon workshop on how legal educators should respond to these changes (1.30pm - 3pm).

This seminar is intended to update students and practitioners about how the legal practice is being changed by technology, and the kind of skillset lawyers will need in the future to deal with this. We also hope to engage in broader discussions about how the nature of legal practice might change in the future.

The short 15 minute presentations and Q&A will form a jumping off point for a workshop in the afternoon on the topic of "Responses to Technological Disruption" examining how educators, students and professionals can collaborate to respond to this changing environment

Running Order:

9.30am - Registration, Tea and Coffee
10am -12.30pm - Speakers from legal practice and academia, giving 15 minute presentations followed by Q&A session.
12.30pm - 1.30pm - Lunch Break
1.30pm - 3pm - Facilitated Workshop/Discussion Panel (by invitation)
How legal educators should react to technological disruption in legal services?
Broken down as follows: 1.30 - 2pm Recap of morning, 2pm - 2.30pm Breakout Groups, 2.30pm - 3pm: Group Reports.

Tickets:

Free Tickets via Eventbrite.

CPD:

CPD confirmation provided on request to ahough@ait.ie

This event has been funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Ireland.

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Regulatory, Compliance, Fact-Finding Investigations: Best Practice, Common Challenges and Future Direction

Conference: Regulatory, Compliance, Fact-Finding Investigations: Best Practice, Common Challenges and Future Direction.

Date: 24th October, 2019.
Time: 8.30 – 5pm.
Organised by: Forensic Investigation & Training Solutions Ltd in association with The School of Law, University of Limerick
Where A&L Goodbody Moot Appellate Court, 3rd Floor, Glucksman Library, University of Limerick.
Tickets are free but please reserve your seat and indicate your workshop preference: www.fitsltd.ie
or contact us at
info@fitsltd.ie

Aim:

To present fundamental advances and best practice in the field of investigations, fact-finding enquiries and work-place meetings. It will also serve as a platform to foster networks among practitioners, researchers and experts working in a broad variety of investigation contexts including compliance, regulatory and workplace roles and with a common interest in improving investigative practices and exchanging/exploring ideas. Participants will hear about latest developments from subject-matter experts. This one day conference will share leading evidence-based practice and enable collegiality.

Who will attend?

This conference will appeal to policy makers and decision makers from Public and Private Sector bodies with regulatory/investigative powers as well as legal professionals, investigators and managers from the Corporate, Financial and Insurance Sectors, Auditors, HR Managers with disciplinary remit, students of criminology/psychology, etc.

Why participate?

When investigations can lead to sanctions, it is important that they are fit for purpose. We have devised cross-sectorial topics and speakers to ensure optimum expertise and practice-sharing as well as networking opportunities. Our topic selection is based on existing challenges and current gaps relating to investigations in Ireland.

Benefits of attending:

  • Gain insights from a broad range of experts and practitioners.
  • Reinforce and strengthen your approach to investigations.
  • Network and share best practice with peers.
  • Begin the development of a consistent, standardised approach to investigations in line with national and international best practice.
Conference speakers include:
  • Professor Shane Kilcommins, School of Law, UL.
  • Judge Mary Ellen Ring.
  • Mr Kevin Foley, Chairman of The Labour Court.
  • Mr Ian Drennan, Director, Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement.
  • Mr. Robert Smyth, Investigations and Fraud Manager, Aviva Insurance
  • TBC, Criminal Assets Bureau.
  • Dr Geraldine Noone, FITS Ltd.
Conference workshops include:
  • Managing Child Safety Investigations.
  • Protected Disclosures.
  • Effective in-house investigation of workplace accidents/incidents.
  • Effective interviewing techniques.
  • Leveraging Electronic Evidence to enhance your case.
  • Understanding the complexities of Sports Integrity Investigations.
  • Brand Protection Investigations

One-day CPD Points.

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Lawyers to gain insight into impact of porn addiction at CPD workshops

Killarney, 25 October 2019

The impact of internet pornography on individuals will be the subject of full-day workshop in Killarney – which lawyers are encouraged to attend.

Overuse of internet pornography is fast emerging as a compulsive sexual behaviour disorder, in lockstep with the greater use of smartphones and easy access to streaming video in the past 10 years.

Lawyers are unaware that many of the issues they see in their cases are rooted in compulsive use of internet pornography: e.g. possession of indecent images of children; teens sexting; sexual harassment and the breakdown of relationships.

The workshop will be run by The Reward Foundation, an educational charity based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that looks at the science behind sex, love relationships and the brain’s reward system.

It has been accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners and is worth 7 CPD credits.

Attendees will be given an introduction to addiction in general and compulsive use of internet pornography in particular, based on the latest scientific research.

They will also learn about different types of physical health and mental health conditions related to pornography use emerging from the research, including the vulnerability of people on the autistic spectrum who are overrepresented in the statistics on harmful sexual behaviour.

The workshop, run by Mary Sharpe, Advocate and Darryl Mead, PhD, will encourage reflective discussion among practitioners about best practice and possible improvements and will signpost recovery options.

The workshop will be held in Killarney on Friday 25 October 2019. Cost is €120.00 per person. Please contact SouthWest Counselling Centre CLG at info@southwestcounselling.ie, telephone +353 (0)64 6636416 or +353 (0)64 6636100. 

Click here for more information

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Latest Jobs

Specialist Solicitor for the Traveller Community – FLAC

FLAC is seeking to recruit a full-time solicitor reporting to the Managing Solicitor, to provide a specialised legal service to the Traveller Community and to develop the knowledge and expertise of Traveller organisations in advocating on behalf of Travellers that they work with. This position is funded by the Community Foundation for Ireland for three years. The project is supported by a steering group, whose membership is drawn from a number of Traveller organisations that will provide guidance and support in delivering the projected outcomes of the project over the three year period.

Job Description

The Solicitor will undertake the following:

  • Provide advocacy and legal representation to the Traveller community in cases before relevant Courts and Tribunals that best advance the interests of that community in achieving equality and vindicating their human rights.
  • Identify cases of strategic importance to the Traveller Community.
  • Work to maximise the availability of legal services to members of the Traveller Community throughout the country and collaborate and support other projects advancing access to justice as relevant (for example ICC/CTWNs Traveller Equality and Justice project).
  • Work with PILA to maximise the availability of legal services for Travellers.
  • Provide training and information to local Traveller groups to help build capacity to identify and refer potential cases and areas of law relevant to the Traveller community including in relation to the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995.
  • Build strategic relationships with members of the ILCN, the Legal Aid Board and other relevant bodies identified by the oversight steering committee.
  • Contribute to policy development in relation to areas of law relevant to the Traveller community.
  • Comment on legal issues of strategic importance to the Traveller community, including in the media as required.

If you are interested in learning more about the position please visit our website.

To apply for this position please send CV and covering letter setting out how you meet the requirements for this position by email to recruitment@flac.ie or by post to Managing Solicitor, FLAC, 85/86 Dorset Street Upper, Dublin 1 on or before Friday 4th October 2019 at 5pm.

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NI: Legal Advisor / Solicitor – JMK Solicitors

At JMK Solicitors we make people our priority and that starts with our own people.

We believe that this is the key to our success.

We need the best people to achieve our goals and in return they gain learning and development as well as a rewarding benefits package.

We are delighted to be recruiting for the following post

  • Legal Advisor / Solicitor (Belfast or Newry)

If you are interested in learning more about the position please follow the link to our website.

Closing date: 7th October

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Property Solicitor – Beauchamps Solicitors

Over the past two decades, BEAUCHAMPS has established a reputation as one of the leading Irish law firms advising on renewable energy projects. Our award winning Energy & Natural Resources Team has extensive experience representing developers, funders and investors in a wide variety of energy projects, with a combined generation capacity of over 2GW to date. We pride ourselves on being able to provide practical, cost efficient and solutions-focused advice from the feasibility stage right through to planning, financing and ultimate construction of the project.

We are currently seeking to recruit a junior Property Solicitor to join our growing Energy & Natural Resources Team. This is a fantastic opportunity to join an established team with a strong reputation in the energy sector; to work on projects with leading international clients; and to further your career in this dynamic growth area.

Why Beauchamps’ Energy Team:

  • You will be working on some of the largest, most innovative renewable energy projects in the country;
  • You will be advising some of the leading Irish and international developers, investors and funders in the energy sector;
  • You will be a key player in an award winning team with an opportunity to grow your experience and establish your reputation in the Irish energy sector;
  • You will be involved from start to finish in the projects, not just dipping in and out on certain areas as and when required;
  • You will be joining a dynamic law firm where hard word and innovation are rewarded.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Drafting and negotiating wind farm/solar farm options and leases;
  • Investigating landowners’ title;
  • Carrying out property due diligence on renewable energy projects on behalf of banks, investors and prospective purchasers;
  • Drafting and negotiating rights of way, over-sail agreements, wayleaves and statutory wayleaves under Section 48 and 49 of the Electricity Regulation Act;
  • Advising clients on planning & development law, including EIA and AA.

The Candidate:

The ideal candidate will be a NQ – 2 years PQE solicitor, with experience in Irish property law and conveyancing. Experience in the development and finance of wind energy projects would be an advantage, but is not a prerequisite for this role as training will be provided. He or she should have excellent organisational and drafting skills, strong attention to detail and be solutions-focused, with a commercial outlook and common sense.

Please contact Paula White, HR Manager, Beauchamps in the first instance if you are interested in this position. [Email: p.white@beauchamps.ie Tel: 01-418 0600]. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

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Trainee Solicitor – Dillon Eustace

We are now accepting applications for our Trainee Solicitor Programme.

Our Trainee Programme will set you on the path to becoming a successful lawyer. The programme provides you with legal knowledge, experience, expertise and interpersonal skills to support your professional and personal development.

Through our structured training programme, you’ll have the opportunity to gain varied experience across our main practice areas, working on rotation as an integral part of each team. You’ll gain a good understanding of the legal work involved so you can decide the area of law that interests you most. During each rotation you will be provided with strong guidance from the partners and solicitors on the team, who will always be available to answer any questions you have.

Working with Dillon Eustace means working with top professionals, reaching your full potential, making a difference and being well rewarded so be sure to submit your application by 23 October 2019.

For further details and access to our application form please click here.

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Trainee Solicitor – Comyn Kelleher Tobin

Comyn Kelleher Tobin is committed to nurturing the next generation of high-achieving talent.

With a team of more than 60 professionals across offices in Cork and Dublin, CKT is ranked in the top 25 in Ireland. Our growing firm is renowned for providing high quality training in a great atmosphere with exceptional opportunity for career development.

CKT offer expert legal advice to commercial, public sector and private clients across a range of practice areas including Litigation, Healthcare, Conveyancing, Child and Family Law, Employment, Commercial, Probate and Private Client.

OPPORTUNITY

As a trainee solicitor at CKT you will have the opportunity to:

  • Work side-by-side with Partners, Solicitors and other trainees
  • Gain practical experience across a number of different practise areas
  • Get involved in regular health and wellbeing initiatives
  • Become an active member of our CSR committee
  • Take part in the CKT buddy system

CRITERIA

Applications for our Graduate Programme are open to those commencing PPC1 in September 2020 and September 2021. We welcome applications from those studying for their FE1s, final year students and graduates.

HOW TO APPLY

If you are interested in becoming a Trainee Solicitor at our Cork or Dublin office, send a CV and cover letter to careers@ckt.ie with “Trainee Application” in the subject line, outlining the following information:

  • Academic and personal achievements
  • Reasons why you would like to work at CKT
  • Your preferred office location – Cork or Dublin
  • Evidence of self-motivation, teamwork and ambition

Closing date for applications is 31st October 2019.

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Send your vacancies to Irish Legal News

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You can download the Irish Legal News media pack for £GBP or €EUR from our website.

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Latest News

Workplace Relations Commission: Job applicant loses discrimination cases brought against law firms

Workplace Relations Commission
Workplace Relations Commission

A woman who applied for trainee solicitor posts in Dublin has lost her complaints against firms which she said had discriminated against her on grounds of gender, age and civil status.

The woman brought claims against multiple Irish law firms, complaining, inter alia, that males are preferred over females throughout the country.

Dismissing two of the complaints, Adjudication Officer Niamh O’Carroll Kelly said that the sweeping assumptions which were unsupported by evidence could never form the foundation for a discrimination claim.

Background

The complainant, a 33-year-old woman, holds a 2:1 Law degree and an LLM from University College Cork. She completed her FE1 exams in 2015, and completed a diploma in law from a private university in London in 2017. The Commission heard that she has experience working in legal offices and worked as a paralegal for one of the larger firms of solicitors in Dublin in 2018.

In October 2018, the complainant responded to an advertisement for a trainee solicitor position the respondent solicitor's firm in Dublin. She stated that there were 25 applicants and that she was one of 17 people who were invited to undergo a "critical reasoning test". The complainant said that she was never given the test by the respondent firm, who submitted that this was the reason she did not progress to the next stage of the process.

In two separate complaints to the Workplace Relations Commission (ADJ-00019979 and ADJ-00019570), the complainant submitted that she was discriminated against under the Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015. The complainant submitted that she was discriminated on grounds of gender, age and civil status by every firm in Ireland that she applied for a job in.

Adjudication Officer O’Carroll Kelly said that since the complainant had brought the same claim against multiple law firms in the jurisdiction, it would be inappropriate to name the parties in the decision.

The complainant’s case

The complainant submitted that she was discriminated on grounds of gender, age and civil status by every firm in Ireland that she applied for a job in.

Given her qualifications, the complainant said that if she was a male, she would have been given the job. She described the profession as male-dominated, and said that males throughout the country are preferred over females.

The application form also requested her age and civil status. Stating that she was single and 33 years old, the complainant submitted that she was treated less favourably than a married woman with children, and was of the belief that “a married woman with children would get more respect and that the respondent would have an obligation to give such a candidate the job so that she could feed her children”. Furthermore, the complainant believed that firms favoured younger applicants.

The complainant did not request specific information as to the successful candidates, and admitted that she came to her conclusions based on a general assumption of how the legal profession operates in Ireland. The complainant said that she did not know she could request information from the respondent but was hopeful that she would get this information during the hearing.

The respondent's case

The respondent submitted that the complainant failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination on any of the three grounds – that she made sweeping allegations based on her beliefs with no supporting facts; that she did not know the civil status, gender, or age of the successful candidates; and that she filed the claim based on nothing more than a general assumption of how solicitors' firms treat applicants such as herself in Ireland.

Workplace Relations Commission

Adjudication Officer O’Carroll Kelly said the probative burden of proof resting on the complainant is set out in Melbury Developments Limited v Arturs Valpeters IEDA09171:

“...Complainant must first establish facts from which discrimination may be inferred. What those facts are will vary from case to case and there is no closed category of facts which can be relied upon. All that is required is that they be of sufficient significance to raise a presumption of discrimination. However, they must be established as facts on credible evidence. Mere speculation or assertions, unsupported by evidence, cannot be elevated to a factual basis upon which an inference of discrimination can be drawn. Section 85 (4) places the burden of establishing the primary facts fairly and squarely on the Complainant and the language of this provision admits of no exceptions to that evidential rule”

The Adjudication Officer said the entire claim was based on the complainant’s own assumptions, with no evidence whatsoever to support her allegations.

Stating that assumptions, unsupported by evidence, can never form the foundations for a discrimination claim, Adjudication Officer O’Carroll Kelly was satisfied that the complainant failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination on any of the grounds of her claim.

  • by Róise Connolly for Irish Legal News

© Irish Legal News Ltd 2019

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Cork firm JW O'Donovan Solicitors appoints Ciara Lehane as litigation solicitor

Ciara Lehane

Cork firm JW O'Donovan Solicitors has announced the appointment of Ciara Lehane as a litigation solicitor.

Ms Lehane joins the litigation department at JWOD after spending three years practising in the area of defence litigation in Dublin.

She specialises in civil litigation and has significant experience dealing with the conduct of defence litigation on behalf of insurance companies in the areas of motor liability, employers’ liability, public liability and defamation actions.

Ms Lehane is also a fluent Irish speaker and is enrolled on Clár na Gaeilge, the Law Society's register of fluent Irish speaking solicitors.

Commenting on her new role, Ms Lehane said: "I'm delighted to join JWOD, at a time when business in Cork city and the surrounding region is thriving. The area of defence litigation is fast-moving, and I look forward to the opportunity of working with the experienced team at JWOD and with their valued clients."

Jerome O'Sullivan, managing partner of JWOD, added: "As we continue to see growth in our litigation practice, it is a pleasure to welcome Ciara to the JWOD team. Ciara brings with her specialist knowledge in the area of defence litigation, which will be of considerable benefit to both our team and clients."

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NI: Bar says expanding scope of legal aid better than promoting legal expenses insurance

Sarah Ramsey
Sarah Ramsey

Expanding the scope of legal aid is a better way of increasing access to justice than promoting greater uptake of legal expenses insurance, the chair of the Bar Council of Northern Ireland has said.

Bar Chair Sarah Ramsey spoke at the launch of a new report on legal expenses insurance and access to justice at the International Bar Association's annual conference in Seoul, South Korea this week.

The IBA report suggests that greater uptake of legal expenses insurance (LEI) by individuals could increase access to justice for the ‘forgotten middle’, individuals without disposable income to spend on private legal services but whose earnings or assets prohibit qualification for legal aid or pro bono assistance.

Ms Ramsey said: "This conference has been as valuable opportunity for us to learn from the experience of colleagues from over 120 countries at the largest international gathering of the legal profession in the world.

"I was delighted to have a platform to speak at the launch of this new research into legal expenses insurance and provide the perspective of practitioners working in Northern Ireland, alongside colleagues from England and Wales, Australia and Germany."

Addressing the content of the report, she added: "Usage of LEI is very limited in our jurisdiction at present with a lack of awareness generally amongst the public. In recent years various policy reviews, such as Access to Justice Reviews I and II plus the Gillen Review of Civil Justice, have touched on the potential to expand LEI coverage across NI but acknowledged that more research is still needed into the practicalities of this in our jurisdiction.

"This new report provides a useful global perspective on policy development in this area. However, we must also continue to defend and strengthen access to publicly funded legal services and challenge policy makers to bring deserving cases within the scope of legal aid rather than seeking alternatives to this indispensable part of our justice system."

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Nearly one in two prisoners released in 2012 reoffended within three years

Nearly one in two people released from Irish prisons in 2012 were convicted of another offence within three years, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The rate of recidivism for prisoners released during 2012 was 45.8 per cent, down from 48.9 per cent in 2011 and continuing a five-year downward trend.

The CSO figures, published under reservation, also show that the recidivism rate for men stood at 47.6 per cent in 2012, higher than the rate for women at 36 per cent. The gender gap has increased over time and was twice as big in 2012 as in 2008.

Re-offending among younger offenders continues to be the highest rate, with reoffending rates decreasing though the age brackets.

Commenting on the figures, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: "I very much welcome the overall downward trend in recidivism levels for those released from prison in recent years compared to those released in 2007.

"It is worth noting that the figures reported today relate to 2011 and 2012 and pre-date many of the enhanced prisoner programmes introduced by the Irish Prison Service in recent years.

"I am confident that the joint initiatives which have since been introduced - including the Community Return and Community Support Schemes and the Joint Agency Response to Crime - will result in further reductions in recidivism levels in future studies."

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NI: Bill introducing new domestic abuse offence back on track after MPs return to work

A bill introducing a new offence of coercive control in Northern Ireland which automatically fell after the prorogation of Parliament will now continue to be considered by MPs.

The UK Government's Domestic Abuse Bill was one of a number of pieces of proposed legislation which automatically fell following the controversial prorogation of Parliament, which was ruled unlawful by the UK Supreme Court yesterday.

The House of Commons has confirmed that all live bills of the 2017-19 parliamentary session "remain live".

The scope of the Domestic Abuse Bill was expanded this summer to include the creation of a new offence of coercive control in Northern Ireland, comparable to the offence which has existed in England and Wales since 2015 and in Scotland since 2019.

When the bill fell earlier this month, former justice minister Claire Sugden told Irish Legal News that the matter could still be dealt with by a re-established Northern Ireland Assembly.

The former justice minister and independent unionist MLA said she believed it was the preference of the UK Government to have the matter dealt with by Stormont.

She added: "I expect that if the Assembly were to get up and running before Christmas, they would probably do that anyway, regardless of whether the Prime Minister includes it in his own domestic legislation that he brings forward in the Queen's Speech."

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Latest news from Courts News Ireland – 25 September 2019

 

Conor Gearty: Johnson's behaviour made the Supreme Court case about the very existence of the rule of law

Professor Conor Gearty

Professor Conor Gearty, professor of human rights law at LSE Department of Law, offers his initial thoughts on the historic Miller/Cherry judgment.

In March 1954, that distinguished forerunner of today’s politics, senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, was directly challenged by the famed American journalist Ed Murrow about his virulent attacks on what his equivalents today call the ‘enemies of the people’. The courts had earlier given McCarthyism a blank cheque but the media (or at least Murrow) was not so complaint. The programme didn’t bring McCarthy down by itself but it punctured his balloon of self-righteous fury, as it turned out for good.

It is hard to tell at the moment of its occurrence whether any given populist bubble is being conclusively burst. But the chances are the Supreme Court has just done a Murrow.

Without question this is the finest moment in the annals of the UK’s judicial history. Building on the work of their Scottish colleagues, the Supreme Court has unanimously – all eleven of them! – found the prime minister to have exceeded the limits of the prerogative power to prorogue parliament when he advised the Queen to do just that at the end of last month. These prerogative powers have been around for a bit, having served as the attack dogs of despotism in monarchical times gone past.

Slowly but surely in the democratic era they have been brought under the umbrella of the law, leaving just a few whose use was thought to be so clear and obvious as to not need legal enforcement. Her Majesty could be left in a pretend world of power while democracy eddied around her and prime ministers did the right thing. The prorogue power was thought to be one of those. Not any more; Boris Johnson has seen to that. Baroness Hale went further than anyone imagined in not only declaring his advice to Her Majesty unlawful but in quashing the resultant Order-in-Council, even asserting (on behalf of the Court) that she wasn’t sure whether he had any role in the reconvening of Parliament that followed inexorably once you accepted that it had never actually gone away (para 70).

Why did the court do it? The constitutional reason – an entirely good one – is that the Court has deduced from the fundamental principles of representative democracy and accountable government a set of constraints on power that flow from these principles and which must as a result adhere to all exercises of public power including those of the most senior political figures in the land (paras 41 and 46 of the judgment).

The deeper truth lying behind how these principles were deployed in this case leads us to something that was once a commonplace but these days is a glory rarely to be found in the shrill word of Brexit politics. In law, reason still matters. Facts are relevant. Nonsense doesn’t work. How can you justify the Prime Minister’s power by saying he is accountable to Parliament when you have just dispensed with Parliament? Why on earth do you need to cancel Parliament for weeks to do a Queen’s speech? Deceitful or deliberately obtuse replies to these basic questions might get you through a three-minute media interview or a noisy prime minister’s question time, but they can’t survive the forensic attentions of independently minded lawyers with time to draw the non sequiturs, the contradictions and the lies to the surface.

This case is not about the judges seizing the policy agenda whatever the critics of the outcome might say. It is concerned with process not substance, with how things get done rather than what is done. Strongly hostile to democracy in days gone by, the judiciary have now embraced its fundamental tenets, taking to heart what we all say matters to us. In this decision the judges are oiling the democratic machine, not telling it what to produce.

And then, undeniably, there is the Johnson factor. Finding this kind of thing open to judicial scrutiny (‘justiciable’ as it is called) is a very big deal indeed – three very senior judges in the original English proceedings had thought it obvious that the courts should not interfere as had the first Scottish judge to look at the matter. Many of the eleven Justices have history as supporters in broad terms of executive power. But Boris Johnson made the case about something even larger than the prerogative. He seems intent on ignoring the Act of Parliament that orders him to seek an extension to the Article 50 process if matters are not resolved by mid-October. He didn’t bother to supply the Supreme Court with what basic decency and tactical acumen would have suggested was essential – a statement of his own side of the story. While asserting the prorogation had nothing to do with Brexit he at the same time treated that very same prorogation as a vital part of his Brexit strategy. During the case it was not even clear he would obey whatever ruling the Court came up with, or that at very best he would seek to circumvent it using any loophole that residual judicial deference might have left open to him.

This Prime Minister’s behaviour made the case not only about the integrity of our whole system of representative democracy but also, and crucially, about the very existence of the rule of law. Even executive-minded members of the judiciary draw the line at that. And unanimity also meant that the attack dogs of populism have eleven reputations to rubbish, not six or seven. Solidarity would not seem to be a value which the prime minister recognises, but the judges have just shown they do understand its importance.

This Supreme Court decision is a telling illustration of why all populist authoritarians need to dismantle the independent judiciary. If Johnson were given the election he wants his rabble-rousing might well deliver a majority as it has in the past for the likes of Putin, Erdogan and Orbán. But they all have needed to destroy the courts and on his current form Johnson would have followed that path had he had the chance to score a populist victory at the polls. In one of the odder quirks in this unfolding drama, representative democracy and the rule of law may owe their survival to the inflexibility of the Fixed-terms Parliament Act, preventing the PM from playing the populist card.

Richard Nixon suffered a defeat in the US Supreme Court, on 24 July 1974. His was ‘only’ 8-0. He responded defiantly for a little while, declaring the case itself to be unconstitutional. Just over two weeks later he had resigned.

  • Professor Conor Gearty is professor of human rights law at LSE Department of Law.
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Ombudsman calls for remit to cover how asylum applications are assessed

Peter Tyndall
Peter Tyndall

The Ombudsman, Peter Tyndall, has called for his remit to be extended to include how asylum applications are assessed by the Minister for Justice.

Mr Tyndall appeared before the Oireachtas joint committee on justice and equality this morning to discuss the Direct Provision system.

In his address, he noted that the streamlined asylum assessment process introduced in January 2018 had reduced the time taken to make substantive decisions on applications, but warned that many asylum seekers whose cases are being assessed under the previous process have been waiting three years or more for a substantive decision.

He said: "While my remit over the administration of the Direct Provision system was confirmed in April 2017, it remains the case that I am precluded from examining complaints about the asylum process itself.

"The core decisions on asylum applications are made by or on behalf of the Minister for Justice and Equality and are properly outside of my jurisdiction.

"However, I do not see the same case for the exclusion of the administrative process through which asylum applications are assessed. I believe that my remit should be extended to include that process, and I respectfully ask for the committee's support for this extension."

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NI: Woman awarded nearly £28,000 in compensation for unlawful dismissal connected to pregnancy

A woman who was unlawfully dismissed because of her pregnancy has been awarded nearly £28,000 in compensation.

Laura Gruzdaite, 26, brought a case against McGrane Nurseries Ltd in Co Armagh to the Industrial Tribunal with support from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

Ms Gruzdaite and her husband started work at the company in January 2018, signing a blank contract with no start or end dates. She believed it was a permanent job and was not told at any point that it was to be a seasonal job.

They were both dismissed in October while other seasonal workers were kept on by the employer and carried out duties that Ms Gruzdaite previously performed.

The Industrial Tribunal unanimously found that "a decision was made to terminate the claimant’s contract by choosing her to leave earlier than others because she had been on ante-natal appointments and would be going on more appointments".

The Tribunal found the decision to terminate the claimant’s contract was tainted by discrimination in that it was connected to her pregnancy and consequently her dismissal was both unfair and an act of unlawful discrimination.

Dr Michael Wardlow, chief commissioner of the Equality Commission, said: “It is dispiriting that we are at Tribunal once again supporting another case of pregnancy discrimination. I’m afraid this is still all too common and in spite of the legislation being in place for more than 40 years, some employers still seem to be unaware of the law and the consequences of breaching it.

“Every year, around a quarter of all the complaints of discrimination made to our advice line are to do with sex discrimination. Of those, consistently the largest number, around 22% of the total are about pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

“Laura Gruzdaite was 20 weeks’ pregnant at the time she and her husband were dismissed. They had arrived in Northern Ireland ready and willing to work and have started to make their life here. Laura’s husband has since found other work and she is caring for their baby.”

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CJEU: European 'right to be forgotten' does not extend worldwide

The "right to be forgotten" in EU law does not extend worldwide, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has determined.

Answering questions referred from a French court considering a dispute between the national data protection authority and Google, the CJEU found that links removed from search result pages following a de-referencing request can be displayed outside of the EU.

EU law only requires a search engine operator such as Google to remove the links from the versions of its search engine corresponding to EU member states, judges said.

The European court ruling has been welcomed by lawyers for 13 NGOs which said the French data protection authority's insistence on global implementation carried serious implications for freedom of expression, particularly in the developing world.

The NGOs, specialists in the defence of human rights and online freedom of expression in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, intervened before both the French Conseil d’Etat and again before the CJEU.

They are represented by barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jude Bunting and Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers, along with avocat Thomas Haas.

Ms Gallagher said: "All too often debates about internet regulation focus on Europe and North America only, ignoring the global ramifications. Our clients are a global and diverse coalition which spans the globe - from the Internet Freedom Foundation of India, to Jonction in Senegal, and the Institute of Technology and Society of Rio.

"They rely on freedom of expression and on the free exchange of ideas and information online so as to carry out their important work protecting human rights around the world. Many are based in countries with repressive press laws, where free access to the Internet is critical in protecting human rights and enabling NGOs to campaign for change.

"The decision of the European court today sets an important precedent for freedom of speech. The right to be forgotten is not universally recognised around the world. No state should be permitted to remove information from the internet with global effect. To do otherwise would trigger a ‘race to the bottom’: where the information available online to internet users everywhere would be determined by the state with the most repressive and draconian laws."

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NI: John H. Cavan

Retired solicitor John H. Cavan has passed away, the Law Society of Northern Ireland has announced.

Mr Cavan was admitted to the roll of solicitors in 1976 and practised with Fisher & Fisher Solicitors before his retirement.

The Law Society said it "extends its condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues".

A funeral service for Mr Cavan will take place this afternoon at 2pm in Kilbroney Parish Church Rostrevor, followed by private cremation on Thursday.

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Business leaders share diversity insights at Matheson and TCD conference

Senior leaders from national and international businesses and organisations shared insights on building inclusive workplaces at a conference hosted by Matheson in association with Trinity College Dublin.

The "Pathways to Belonging" conference focused on how building an inclusive workplace that attracts talent, drives innovation, and supports employees to bring their whole selves to work is a priority for many businesses.

Michael Jackson, managing partner at Matheson, told the conference that issues concerning diversity and inclusion "are some of the most pressing within the corporate environment today, whether it is addressing legacy issues or building successful organisations for the future".

He highlighted diversity and inclusion initiatives at the firm, including the establishment of an internal steering group and appointment of ambassadors within the firm, as well as the establishment of a diversity and inclusion scholarship in March.

Matheson recently became the first Irish law firm to be awarded the Investors in Diversity Silver Standard by the Irish Centre of Diversity.

Mr Jackson said: "The work to date, combined with this recognition, continues to focus our determination with regard to diversity and inclusiveness across our firm, and the insights gained from this conference will aid us as we evolve as an organisation."

Professor Mark Bell, head of Trinity Law School and regius professor of laws, said: "Trinity Law School is very grateful to Matheson for the opportunity to work in collaboration on the Pathways to Belonging seminar.

"The Law School has a long tradition of championing diversity and inclusion, both within our educational programmes and through contributing to social and legal reform in Ireland. We are delighted to be able to continue those endeavours through this event."

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Former barrister launches revolutionary new legal firm Sponsored post

Paul Kearney
Paul Kearney

One of Ireland’s most successful former barristers has launched a new specialist legal firm with offices in Belfast, Derry, Dublin and London.

Kearney Law Group, specialising in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury and Medical and Dental Negligence, officially opened its doors on Friday 20th September and the firm, headed up by solicitor advocate Paul Kearney, is set to pioneer the future of legal services in not only Northern Ireland, but the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

Speaking about the launch of Kearney Law Group, Managing Director Paul Kearney said, “I am delighted to launch Kearney Law Group. Throughout my 20 years in the legal profession, I have gained extensive experience in many areas so now I want to share my expertise, confident that the service we are offering is the best there is.

“At Kearney Law Group, we pride ourselves on being client focused and results driven. We place our clients at the forefront of our service and by fusing our expertise of both industry and law, we have an unrivalled ability to provide a comprehensive, one-stop-shop service. I’m excited about the journey ahead for the firm.”

Already making its mark in the provision of legal services to clients, Kearney Law Group has secured an exclusive ‘Risk Free Insurance’ product, offering absolute financial protection in the unlikely event of a client’s case being lost. This means Kearney Law Group’s clients will not have to pay any legal costs. This law firm is the only firm in Northern Ireland to offer any such product.

Paul said, “Our exclusive risk free insurance product is but one new product where our clients can avail of a service where if they’re involved in an accident, not of their doing, they can call Kearney Law Group and all the issues will be resolved without a penny required.

“In addition to this, we have already engaged with a number of forward thinking companies to bring new products to our customers across Ireland and the UK. The litigious landscape is changing and it’s imperative that as solicitors, we not only adapt to that change, but also drive it, ensuring we are offering clients the very best service.”

For more information on Kearney Law Group, visit kearneylawgroup.com.

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Erin Research launches into Irish market with range of probate genealogy services Sponsored post

Padraic Grennan
Padraic Grennan

A new Irish probate genealogy firm is aiming to help legal firms all over Ireland tackle problematic probate cases. Erin Research, newly established in Drogheda, Co. Louth are using online technology and genealogical expertise to solve complex testate and intestate cases, many of which can delay the distribution of estates.

Erin Research founder Padraic Grennan says solicitors should consider hiring a probate support firm if they run into difficulties with tracing beneficiaries or have any concerns about family entitlement. He cited numerous cases where genealogy expertise has been used to map family trees and give peace of mind to the executors and administrators involved.

“We can support solicitors in their probate work, help free up case time and give guarantees as to family tree verification. In many cases we have found beneficiaries that were previously unknown and who could have caused issues down the line, had they decided to claim. Our role is to map out the beneficiaries, trace them and help link the estate together. We can also assist with missing beneficiary insurance, so that all existing beneficiaries are covered, in the event we cannot track down a beneficiary.”

One of the advantages of using a probate genealogy service is the outsourcing of research time and a faster turnaround on cases.

“Because of our expertise, we can usually turn around a family tree within a very short time frame, meaning the estate can move forward quickly. We’ve heard of lots of cases where small and larger amounts of money waiting to be distributed can sit on file for years. This shouldn’t be the case. Our work helps free up all those dinosaur files and move them firmly to the basement archive!”

Forming an Irish company based regionally was a major part of Grennan’s drive to set up the new firm.

“There’s a lot of work out there, a lot of beneficiaries to be traced and cases to be closed.”

  • Should you have any probate queries or missing beneficiary queries call Erin Research on 041 213 3000 or email info@erinresearch.ie. They can be found online at www.erinresearch.ie and on Twitter @ErinResearch.
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Law Firms Must Measure Success by Their Ability to Embrace Change Sponsored post

By Adam Howarth, Sales Manager at Insight Legal

An inherent resistance

For any business operating today, change is inevitable. The legal sector is no exception and firms must embrace change to maintain growth, success and their competitive edge. While it is natural to be hesitant about change, law firms are seen as significantly more risk-averse than other business types, with many practitioners traditionally perceiving it as a risk rather than an opportunity. This is echoed by the top 10 law firms, who identified new technology as the biggest challenge that the legal sector will face over the next two years.

Of course, embracing new ways of working in a law firm isn’t always simple and there are many factors which impact these decisions. The time it takes to research and implement, the money and resources used and the preconception that it might be ‘too big of a job’ are enough to discourage managers from introducing new systems across their practice. While some firms are driving change, many others must follow suit and alter their view, in order to approach new processes with the attitude needed for the most positive return.

Replace outdated processes with technology

Many law firms still have legacy processes and products that they are both comfortable using and have worked for them in the past, but are no longer fit for purpose. For example, firms which continue to manually manage case specific files and data offline are more likely to operate much less efficiently than a firm utilising modern tools to support staff with these matters. By doing so, more unnecessary tasks are created, which ultimately cut into fee-earning time and reduce the opportunity for efficiency.

This is where change, particularly in terms of introducing technology, plays a fundamental role. These solutions sparkan opportunity for firms to evaluate their current operations and identify the time-intensive processes which could be streamlined to free up more time for undertaking high-value work. Only then can they determine the right time to adopt changes in order to ensure business continuity and greater productivity across the firm.

With a wide range of legal software systems now readily available, there will undoubtedly be a system which has the flexibility to meet the specific needs of every firm. What’s more, the support that should typically accompany this software from suppliers can provide crucial support both during transitional periods and with continued case and practice management - taking some of the pressure off decision makers and enabling a smoother transition for staff.

The true value of change

By applying change to across a legal practice with modern legal IT systems, firms can move their practice into a new era of software-based workflows and embrace new processes which improve overall success. For example, legal systems can enable managers to digitally track case progress across the business; freeing up valuable time to invest back into the practice and ensuring the smooth running of operations.

These systems can also be invaluable in maintaining compliance, by generating prompts and task reminders to avoid missed deadlines and ensure any necessary processes are upheld. With the many regulations and protocols the legal industry now has to adhere to, this can prove vital for helping firms to avoid the damaging consequences of falling behind.

To succeed in the modern legal sector, law firms must start by evaluating their processes and discuss their goals with potential suppliers to find systems that will effectively support their practice with the greatest return on investment. Those who realise the true value of change - and measure their success accordingly - will ultimately open the door to new avenues for higher productivity and better working processes for their staff, whilst future-proofing their practice as the sector continues to evolve.

To discuss this topic further or the services we can offer, please give us a call on 01252 518939, email us at info@insightlegal.co.uk or visit our website; www.insightlegal.co.uk

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Managing Internal and External Procedures to Drive Legal Practice Success Sponsored post

Deborah Edwards
Deborah Edwards

By Deborah Edwards, Professional Services Director Insight Legal

The role of legal practitioners is becoming ever more complex. In the last 18 months alone, we have seen new protocols such as the European Parliament’s GDPR regulation and HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative shake up processes within the UK’s legal practices. With the upcoming revisions to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Account Rules in November, further change is on the horizon and practice managers must ensure that their firms make provisions in order to adapt and remain successful.

Managing a large volume of cases simultaneously with industry regulation can often prove challenging. Amidst an ever-growing number of industry regulations, law firm decision makers are being tasked with finding ways to help their practitioners apply both internal and external policies with ease in order to remain both efficient and compliant.

However, the industry is now responding to these requirements as it continues its shift towards a more digital approach to case management. In a profession bound heavily by procedure, technology can play a fundamental role in helping law firms to achieve best practice, both internally and in the eyes of those governing the sector.

Remain compliant with integrated information

As with any sector, having information readily available and accessible is important for completing tasks correctly. For law firms, this requirement is only amplified by the additional need to remain compliant with regulations at every stage of a case.

Firms must now be proactive in providing staff with the tools to achieve this. For example, using a single system that stores and uses information efficiently, practitioners can not only improve their task workflow but enhance compliance monitoring to ensure all tasks are completed in line with both internal and external policy guidelines.

Taking this one step further, it is not only crucial that tasks are completed to the correct standard, but that they are also completed in a timely manner. Firms should therefore look to utilise tools that enable automated prompts and reminders. This will prove extremely valuable for helping practitioners remain up to date with tasks as a case progresses, improving overall case management and ensuring important regulatory deadlines are not missed throughout.

Supporting a firm’s individual needs

Every firm will inevitably have its own unique internal procedures for its staff to undertake throughout the duration of a case. Therefore, any modern supporting legal IT system should provide flexibility and enable customisable workflow to align with each firm’s individual needs. Doing so will not only allow firms to streamline their chosen internal working practices but also ensure that all procedures are met and that staff can deliver a high quality, tailored, efficient service for their clients.

With the needs of legal practitioners constantly changing with the tides of industry policy, having the freedom to build unique workflows to meet the specific needs of a firm is now the key to delivering effective case management for both its staff and clients. This technology, in conjunction with comprehensive training, can make the difference needed to operate more efficiently and with greater control of internal and external processes at every phase of a case. Firms which embrace these necessary steps will ultimately be well placed to continue their success in an ever changing legal sector.

To discuss this topic further or the services we can offer, please give us a call on 01252 518939, email us at info@insightlegal.co.uk or visit our website; www.insightlegal.co.uk

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And finally... spiderwoman

T-shirts bearing a design inspired by the UK Supreme Court president have gone on sale – with a third of profits going to charity.

Lady Hale delivered the unanimous judgment of 11 justices yesterday in two major constitutional cases, with the court finding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had unlawfully prorogued Parliament.

The brooch she wore, that of a camel spider, has since become a social media sensation and one company – based in Mr Johnson's constituency of Uxbridge – has begun selling t-shirts with a silver spider motif.

Balcony shirts is donating 30 per cent of every sale to homelessness charity Shelter.

Camel spiders are known to chew their victims to a pulp before releasing an enzyme that liquefies their flesh. Not only that, but they punch above their weight: their jaws can extend to a third of their body length – allowing them to best even the biggest prey.

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