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Irish Legal News


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Irish Legal News: 24th May 2021

Legal Jobs
Events, CPD & Courses
Latest News

Latest Jobs

Corporate Solicitor – Carson McDowell

The corporate team at Carson McDowell is one of the leading practices in Northern Ireland. Top ranked in both Chambers Guide and Legal 500, we advise leading local businesses and international companies doing business in Northern Ireland, across a broad range of sectors. We provide specialist legal advice on a full range of corporate, M&A and corporate finance corporate transactions.

For decades, our lawyers have advised on the most significant M&A and corporate transactions in Northern Ireland. Our experience and reputation speaks volumes, which is why we are widely recognised as one of the leading corporate and M&A legal practices in the country.

If you would like to join this dynamic team and can meet the criteria listed below we want to hear from you. We are ideally looking for a 3+ years PQE corporate specialist with the following experience and capability:

  • Mergers and acquisitions;
  • Private equity and venture capital;
  • Reorganisations and restructuring;
  • Shareholder agreements, joint ventures and partnerships;
  • Advice on corporate governance and company law issues such as director duties, payment of dividends and returns of capital;
  • The ability and willingness to work as part of a team;
  • Strong interpersonal skills;
  • Excellent technical and written skills.

At Carson McDowell in return for your hard work and dedication we will provide every opportunity to develop your skills and experience and further your career.

Applicants should apply by emailing a covering letter and CV to: Marie McKeown, Human Resources Manager, marie.mckeown@carson-mcdowell.com

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FLAC/PILA Pro Bono Development Officer – FLAC

FLAC/PILA Pro Bono Development Officer

Reports to FLAC Chief Executive / Fulltime

About FLAC

FLAC is a human rights organisation which exists to promote equal access to justice. FLAC’s vision is of a society where everyone can access fair and accountable mechanisms to vindicate their rights.

FLAC Services to the Public

FLAC provides a range of services to the public including a Telephone Information and Referral Line where callers are provided with basic legal information and FLAC Clinics in Citizens Information Centres throughout the country where volunteer lawyers provide basic legal advice. In 2019 FLAC assisted 26,995 individuals though its Information Line and Clinics.

In 2009, FLAC established the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) as a public interest law network that seeks to engage the legal community and civil society in using the law to advance social change. PILA is a project of FLAC.

PILA:

  • operates a Pro Bono Referral Scheme which matches expertise in the legal profession with specific legal needs in social justice NGOs, community groups and law centres;
  • increases the capacity of organisations to use law in the public interest through legal education, law reform and litigation;
  • promotes a culture of structured pro bono legal work which provides lawyers with opportunities to use their legal skills in the public interest;
  • raises awareness about the barriers to public interest litigation and works to remove them;
  • reaches out to law schools and law students to ensure that public interest law and clinical legal education become central components of the curriculum; and uses its website, fortnightly PILA bulletin and events to raise awareness about public interest law in Ireland and internationally;
  • manages, facilitates and promotes the pro bono pledge

Overall responsibilities of the role

FLAC is seeking a dynamic individual to lead the development of FLAC’s pro bono work including the fostering of a culture of pro bono among the legal professions in Ireland, to build and maintain stakeholder relationships to ensure the sustainability and development of the PILA Alliance and the pro bono referral scheme, to facilitate manage and develop the pro bono pledge and to identify and advocate in relation to barriers to public interest law work in Ireland.

Specific Duties:

  1. Identifying and securing funding to secure the work of FLAC’s Public Interest Law work including the Pro-bono Referral Scheme into the future;
  2. Addressing the sustainability of the Alliance through working closely with the professional bodies, law firms, lawyers, clearing houses and other stakeholders;
  3. Building and developing a strong Alliance committed to using and further developing public interest law in Ireland;
  4. Explore and develop mechanisms to develop a referral scheme for individuals;
  5. Managing and developing the pro bono pledge;
  6. Identify strategic litigation for FLAC;
  7. Implementing the relevant objectives in FLAC’s strategic plans;
  8. Development of communications including PILA Bulletin and work with the FLAC communications team to promote FLAC’s pro bono work;
  9. Complying with FLAC’s Health and Safety Policies and Procedures;
  10. Any other duties as may be required from time to time in connection with this position.

Person Specification

The successful candidate will have:

  • A degree in law or a related field.
  • Experience as a solicitor or barrister is desirable.
  • Minimum 3 years relevant work experience, preferably in a legal or NGO environment.
  • A self-starter with a strong work ethic and a passion for social justice.
  • Experience and knowledge of pro bono work/clearing house models.
  • Proven ability to form and maintain diverse strategic relationships.
  • Excellent people skills, including organising and networking.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including research and writing.
  • Strong knowledge of access to justice issues, public interest law and human rights.

Salary is commensurate with experience.

Closing dates for receipt of applications is 4th June 2021. A CV and covering letter should be sent to recruitment@flac.ie. FLAC is an equal opportunities employer.

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Executive Officers – Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman

The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO) was established in 2018 to resolve complaints from consumers against financial service providers or pension providers.

The FSPO provides an independent, fair, impartial, confidential and free service to resolve complaints through mediation, and where necessary by investigation and adjudication.

The FSPO is recruiting for the position of Executive Officer (EO). Executive Officers play a key role across teams in the FSPO. The roles filled following this competition will vary depending on the skills of the individual and the requirements of the team they are assigned to.

Executive Officers are involved in a wide range of roles and activities including: the resolution of disputes through mediation; formal investigation of complaints; analysing and examining complex data and evidence; researching and drafting proposals and opinions relating to policy and legal issues; managing operations; assessing the eligibility of complaints; and dealing directly with the public.

For further information on current opportunities with the FSPO please visit www.fspo.ie/careers

Closing date: 3pm, 8 June 2021.

The FSPO is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and encourages applications under all 9 grounds of the Employment Equality Acts.

Cuirfear fáilte roimh chomhfhreagras i nGaeilge.

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Higher Executive Officer (Inquiries Manager) – CORU

CORU currently has a vacancy for the role of Inquiries Manager at Higher Executive Officer level.

CORU is Ireland's multi-profession health regulator. Our role is to protect the public by promoting high standards of professional conduct, education, training and competence through statutory registration of health and social care professionals. CORU was set up under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (as amended).

Reporting to the Head of Fitness to Practise and Legal Affairs, the Inquiries Manager will progress complaints under Part 6 of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (as amended) (“the Act”) in order to ensure that natural justice and fair procedures are observed and provide support in relation to matters arising from the operation of the Act.

Salary for this position will be paid on the Civil Service Higher Executive Officer scale €49,845 to €62,776 (7 point scale & 2 long service increments).

Please Note: Initial remuneration for this position will be at the first point of the scale. This rate will apply where the appointee is an existing civil or public servant appointed on or after 6th April 1995 or is newly recruited to the Public Service and is required to make a personal pension contribution.

Annual leave entitlement for this position is 29 days. This is a pensionable position.

Full details of the role are available in the Job Specification.

If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit a completed application form to recruitment@coru.ie by 12pm (noon) on Wednesday 26 May 2021.

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Remote Working Litigation Solicitor – J R Sweeney LLP

J R Sweeney LLP is a busy commercial practice in Ballsbridge specialising in Private Client and Owner Managed business/commercial services. We are seeking an experienced commercial litigation solicitor to join our team.

Our systems and technology of working facilitate the appointment of an additional Solicitor working remotely but with online access to our offices and facilities in Ballsbridge as required.

The role involves providing support to our private clients and their companies in all contentious commercial and corporate civil matters and presents a superb opportunity for someone with excellent experience in commercial litigation generally seeking an opportunity to make their mark and yet have the benefits that flow from working remotely with main office support.

The successful candidate is likely to have:

  • extensive experience in prosecuting Circuit Court, High Court, Commercial Court and Superior Courts litigation and generally, all forms of dispute resolution in Ireland;
  • ability to exercise sound judgement and decision making;
  • proficient computer skills to facilitate remote working with excellent broadband facilities available.

The opportunity may also be suitable for candidates with an interest in Employment and/or Property Law to complement our existing workflows.

This position offers a genuine work/life balance with an opportunity to operate with a high level of autonomy whilst working remotely. Highly varied work, outstanding culture and facility support with competitive remuneration on offer.

If you wish to apply for this role please email your CV and cover note in confidence to Sinead Loftus - sinead@jrsweeney.ie.

www.jrsweeney.ie

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Probate/Conveyancing Solicitor – Leahy Reidy Solicitors

Leahy Reidy Solicitors are looking for a Probate / Conveyancing solicitor to join our dynamic team at our Limerick city centre office.

5 years PQE minimum required

Salary commensurate with experience

Send CV and covering letter to

The HR Manager,
Leahy Reidy Solicitors
Park Manor,
Upper Mallow Street, Limerick

or email wjl@leahyreidy.ie

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Events, CPD & Courses

PELGBA Annual Conference 2021

The Planning, Environmental, and Local Government Bar Association of Ireland (PELGBA) is a specialist association for practising Barristers who practice in or have an interest in Planning, Environmental and Local Government Law in Ireland.

Conference Date: 27th May 2021

Time: 2pm – 5pm

Speakers:

  • James Connolly SC, Chair, PELGBA
  • The Hon. Ms. Justice Nuala Butler
  • Dermot Flanagan SC
  • Eamon Galligan SC
  • Stephen Dodd SC
  • Tom Flynn BL
  • Suzanne Murray BL

Topics:

  • Planning law enforcement
  • Section 50 Procedures
  • Strategic Housing Developments
  • Climate Change & Environmental Law
  • Recent Developments in CPO law (Compulsory Purchase Orders)
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Law Society of Ireland’s Free Online Course: Environmental Law & Climate Change

Starts Tuesday, 18 May 2021 @ 5:00 pm, ends Tuesday, 15 June 2021

The 2021 MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in Environmental Law and Climate Change from the Diploma Centre at the Law Society of Ireland provides participants with a short but incisive overview of legal and ethical considerations for those involved in environmental law and the environmental and conservation spheres.

The course runs over a five-week period with materials for the weekly modules released every Tuesday in the form of short video presentations from expert contributors. These are supported by suggested readings, quizzes, and ‘live’ online Q & A sessions.

Each week, speakers will explore a range of topics including climate change- international/EU/national obligations, climate justice, environmental law enforcement, ecocide and green crime, the circular economy and much more!

Expert speakers are leading environmental lawyers, academics, climate scientists and conservationists, and include Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland speaking on ‘Climate Justice’.

So whether you are passionate about climate justice, curious about green energy or coming in fresh to the emerging global conversation, join us to learn more!

For full details about the course and schedule, visit: https://mooc2021.lawsociety.ie/

What is a MOOC?

A MOOC is a free online course that is open to all and specifically designed for large numbers to participate. To date, the Diploma Centre’s MOOCs have attracted over 14,000 participants from over 70 countries since they first launched in 2014. Find out more.

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Dispute Resolution (Mediation): Apply now for UCD Diploma starting June

UCD Sutherland School of Law is currently enrolling for the online

Professional Diploma in Dispute Resolution (Mediation) 

which commences in June 2021. This is a fully online programme for those seeking to work in the area of dispute resolution. UCD has partnered with online education start-up Mediator Academy to deliver this programme which is the first of its kind in Ireland.

Start Date: June 2021

Information: See video of content and contributors here.

Apply Now: Professional Diploma in Dispute Resolution (Mediation)

Email: lawdiplomas@ucd.ie

This unique Diploma has been developed to address the changing ways in which disputes are now being resolved. Businesses and individuals are no longer willing to bear the expense and time of going to court and are turning to alternative ways of resolving conflict. This change means organisations need people skilled in preventing and managing disputes and guiding them through more efficient and successful processes like mediation.

This Diploma is designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, manage and resolve disputes in a wide variety of settings and contexts. The programme takes a practical approach and features a global faculty of expert practitioners working at the cutting edge of dispute resolution. Apply Now at this link.

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The MacDermott Lecture 2021 - ‘Should Judges be Neutral?’

Delivering the annual MacDermott Lecture Advocate General Gerard Hogan wrestles with the question of whether judges should expressly take the consequences of their decisions into account when deciding cases or whether they should instead be indifferent as to the result following a detached application of legal principles. In his address AG Hogan draws attention to historical examples of where judges faced personal dilemmas in how to decide difficult cases before then proceeding to perform a thought experiment which consists of looking at four decided cases drawn from both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland and examining how these cases might have been decided if the court could properly have taken the consequences of its decision into account.

The Lecture will be introduced by the Vice Chancellor of Queen's University Professor Ian Greer. It will be followed by comments offered by Lord Chief Justice, Sir Declan Morgan and Professor Emeritus Brice Dickson.

The MacDermott Lecture is delivered annually at Queen’s University Belfast. Lord MacDermott studied at Queen’s in the early years of the twentieth century and went on to pursue a distinguished political and legal career, later returning to Queen’s to teach and to hold the position of pro-vice chancellor. He was Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland from 1951 to 1971.

This event attracts 1.5 CPD points.

A link to this online talk will be issued prior to the event.

More information

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Blockchain for Lawyers – The Future of Real Estate Transactions

Leman Solicitors are pleased to host a Blockchain Ireland Week event on Tuesday 25th May.

Join us via Teams at 1pm for an informative webinar on ‘Blockchain for Lawyers – The Future of Real Estate Transactions’, hosted by John Hogan, Head of Real Estate, Leman Solicitors.

Speakers include John Fahy (CEO Transact.ie) Gavin Fitzgerald (Snr Associate, Leman Solicitors) Breige Tinnelly (Solicitor, Recent CEO of Securitise and Blockchain Consultant with Tutum Capital) and David Lyons (Chairman of FIBREE Ireland and Real Estate Surveyor) and will include a Q&A session.

This is a free CPD event and you can attend via the link here MS Teams Attendee Link.

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Send your webinars/events to Irish Legal News

Get your online events listed on Irish Legal News by contacting our advertising manager, Jeff Anderson, on jeff@irishlegal.com.

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Latest News

Health minister slated for 'offensive and disrespectful' comments about solicitors' profession

Mary Keane

The Law Society of Ireland has called on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to apologise to the solicitors' profession after he suggested lawyers were "licking their lips" over the HSE cyber attack.

Mr Donnelly, appearing on Newstalk Breakfast last week, said that he had "seen some legal firms already advertising, potentially licking their lips at the thought of being able to sue the State".

He told presenter Shane Coleman that "presumably it's legal", and that "if there are cases that can be taken then people have a right to take those cases".

However, he added: "I certainly find it very distasteful that any law firm would be putting stuff up on their websites to that end.

"I find it equally distasteful, mind you, that they, that some of them have done the same on the vaccine programme as well, but unfortunately it does seem to be a facet of at least a small part of the country that we live in."

The minister also insisted that the HSE complies fully with the "serious GDP laws in place".

Law Society director general Mary Keane said on Friday that his comments were "offensive and disrespectful to over 12,000 solicitors who work tirelessly to protect and serve their clients every day".

Ms Keane said: "This blatant attempt to insult the integrity of an entire profession that exists to provide access to justice for all citizens is unacceptable, extremely damaging and, to use Mr Donnelly’s words, ‘distasteful’.

"The comments made on national radio can only be seen as an effort to deflect the narrative away from the challenges the minister is currently facing.

"We urge Mr Donnelly to issue an apology to all solicitors in Ireland for this inaccurate depiction of the profession, which is in fact grounded in values of integrity, respect and trust."

The High Court last week granted an injunction restraining any sharing, processing, selling or publishing of any data stolen from the HSE’s computer systems in the cyber attack.

A criminal gang based in Russia is believed by authorities to be responsible for the attack, the most serious cyber attack on State infrastructure to date and likely the most serious on a health service anywhere in the world.

The ransomware attack saw HSE data frozen pending the payment of a ransom, which the government has refused to pay and is working to recover by other means. There are now fears that data may have also been stolen and could be traded online.

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Derville Rowland elected chair of EU investment funds committee

Derville Rowland
Derville Rowland

The barrister heading the Central Bank of Ireland's financial conduct operations has been elected as chair of the investment management standing committee of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

Derville Rowland, who joined the Central Bank in 2004 and was appointed as director general of financial conduct in 2017, will take up the position for a two-year term from 1 July 2021.

The standing committees are expert groups drawn from ESMA staff and member states' national competent authorities, such as the Central Bank of Ireland.

The investment management standing committee works on issues relating to the investment funds sector, and is responsible for the development of policy and supervisory convergence activities.

Central Bank Governor Gabriel Makhlouf said: “That Ms Rowland is taking up this role on behalf of the Central Bank of Ireland demonstrates our organisation’s commitment to contributing effectively to European policy development.

"This continues to be central to our mission of being trusted by the public and respected by our peers, which is why we will continue to contribute at ESMA, and in Europe generally, to bring our perspectives forward and so that we remain a committed and effective partner to our European counterparts."

Ms Rowland added: "The Central Bank of Ireland's occupancy of this role reflects our commitment to contributing to the current international regulatory work on asset management and financial stability, which will be an important element of ESMA’s work plan in the coming period.

"It also reflects range and depth of knowledge in Ireland’s investment funds sector and its standing in European policy forums."

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James Bridgeman SC appointed honorary consul for Georgia

Ambassador George Zurabashvili and honorary consul James Bridgeman SC
Ambassador George Zurabashvili and honorary consul James Bridgeman SC

Irish barrister James Bridgeman SC has been appointed as Georgia's first-ever honorary consul in Ireland.

Mr Bridgeman, a practising barrister and international arbitrator, is also the chair of the Georgia-Ireland Business Council (GIBC) and an honorary member of the board of the Georgian International Arbitration Centre (GIAC).

Under the patronage of the Georgian ambassador George Zurabashvili, the GIBC promotes trade, commerce, enterprise and professional collaboration between the two countries.

Mr Bridgeman said: "It is a great honour to be appointed. The appointment will give great impetus to the work of the Georgia-Ireland Business Council, building a direct bridge across the entire continent of Europe, linking Ireland to Georgia and on to the Silk Road.

"The Irish and Georgian peoples have so much in common. We are each relatively small countries, with highly educated and outward-looking, modern, young, enthusiastic populations.

"Each in transition from an agricultural economy to a sustainable future integrated into the European economy. Each equally proud of our colourful cultural heritage, vying with each other for the title of being the most hospitable country in Europe."

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NI: Papers lodged in legal challenge against abortion regulations

John Larkin QC
John Larkin QC

Pro-life campaigners have formally lodged proceedings in Belfast against regulations giving the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland powers to direct the commissioning of abortion services.

Belfast law firm Hewitt & Gilpin has been instructed by the Centre for Bioethical Reform Northern Ireland (CBRNI) and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) to mount a challenge to the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021.

Earlier this month, the campaigners announced they would be represented in court by John Larkin QC, who stepped down as Attorney General last summer after a decade in the post.

The grounds of the court challenge are constitutionally complex and Mr Larkin has laid them out in full detail in the papers which state that SPUC contend the following seven points:

  1. Sections 9 (4) and 11 (2) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 (“the 2019 Act”) do not (and neither of them does) give the Proposed Respondent power to amend or bypass the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (“the 1998 Act”). The 2021 Regulations impliedly purport to amend the 1998 Act by giving the Proposed Respondent a power greater than he possesses under section 26 of the Act and are therefore ultra vires.

  2. The powers exercisable under sections 9 (4) and 11 (2) of the 2019 Act are not exercisable when legislative and executive powers are being exercised in accordance with the 1998 Act by the Northern Ireland Assembly and its Executive Committee and the 2021 Regulations are therefore ultra vires.

  3. The 2021 Regulations are ultra vires by reason of section 9(9) of the 2019 Act insofar as that provision permits provisions in regulations only that the Assembly could enact. The Assembly cannot enact matters that deal with excepted matters but the 2021 Regulations deal with the subject matter of the Pledge of Office which is an excepted matter. Similarly, the Assembly cannot enact matters that deal with reserved matters without the consent of the Secretary of State and the Regulations confer a function on the Secretary of State.

  4. The 2021 Regulations are ultra vires as they do not make any changes to the law of Northern Ireland respecting abortion contrary to section 9 (4) of the 2019 Act.

  5. Insofar as the 2021 Regulations are intended to facilitate the implementation of the first regulations made under the 2019 Act that permit abortion on the ground of disability, they are ultra vires by reason of Article 2 (1) of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol of the EU Withdrawal Agreement. Article 2 (1), among other things, preserves the human rights protections that existed at the making of the Withdrawal Agreement and these include the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which prohibits abortion on the ground of disability.

  6. Further to the ground at (5) above, insofar as the 2021 Regulations facilitate the implementation of the first regulations made under the 2019 Act that permit abortion on the grounds of disability, they are ultra vires as incompatible with a general principle of EU law (the prohibition of discrimination) contrary to Article 2 (1) of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.

  7. When the Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 Regulations were made EU law (in the form of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability) and the general principles of EU law prevented the provision of abortion on the ground of disability.

The Northern Ireland Office has already said that it intends to contest the application. The case is expected to be heard later in the year.

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Child care cases delayed by HSE cyber attack

Virtually all cases in the child care courts have been delayed as a result of the HSE cyber attack, according to reports.

Family lawyers told The Times that a number of cases have been adjourned due to difficulties receiving reports from social workers.

Gareth Noble, partner at KOD Lyons, said: "I've seen a number of adjournments already on the basis that the information on reports and assessment isn’t available and so court cases are being adjourned.

"There’s virtually no case that isn’t affected by the lack of reports. If this were to continue and drags on, we will have to drag social workers into court, away from their day-to-day work."

The High Court last week granted an injunction restraining any sharing, processing, selling or publishing of any data stolen from the HSE’s computer systems in the cyber attack.

A criminal gang based in Russia is believed by authorities to be responsible for the attack, the most serious cyber attack on State infrastructure to date and likely the most serious on a health service anywhere in the world.

The ransomware attack saw HSE data frozen pending the payment of a ransom, which the government has refused to pay and is working to recover by other means. There are now fears that data may have also been stolen and could be traded online.

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Children living in 'deplorable' conditions in local authority-run halting site

Dr Niall Muldoon
Dr Niall Muldoon

Children are being forced to live in "deplorable" conditions in a local authority-run halting site for Travellers, the Ombudsman for Children's Office (OCO) has concluded in a damning report.

The OCO launched an investigation following a 2018 complaint from a Traveller advocacy group about the conditions in the unnamed site, where 66 children and their families are living.

The site was found to be rat-infested with inadequate sanitation and poor maintenance, to the point where children living there were suffering skin conditions and respiratory problems, according to the No End in Site report.

Around 140 people at the site use the toilets and washing facilities designed for just 40 people, which were not properly maintained.

The OCO has made a number of recommendations and has said that, given the seriousness of the investigation and to ensure accountability, the commitments made by the local authority should be overseen at CEO level.

The recommendations include an immediate review of the housing applications complaints made by the 11 families involved in this case and an independent audit of all social housing applications from the families on the site.

The OCO has also called on the local authority to establish a specific complaint handling mechanism or amend the current complaint process to ensure it is easily accessible and effective in managing complaints.

Ombudsman Dr Niall Muldoon said: "The conditions we found on the halting site in question were deplorable. To think that children in Ireland in 2021 are living like this is utterly shocking. Under no circumstances can this be accepted or allowed to continue.

"This was a long and difficult investigation for the families involved, for the Traveller advocacy group and the local authority in question. I very much welcome the commitments made by the local authority to implement the recommendations from this investigation and in particular the expressed commitment by the CEO to ensure the necessary actions occur.

"I will be seeking regular updates from the local authority on the progress they have made in implementing our recommendations and how the lives of children have improved."

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NI: PSNI urged to cut ties with Israeli police and security services

The PSNI has been urged to end its joint programmes with the Israeli police and security services following renewed violence in occupied Palestine.

Amnesty International said the force "must ensure it is not implicated in Israel's human rights violations" following an investigation by The Detail which found the PSNI is working on at least four security research projects with Israeli partners.

One of the PSNI’s ongoing projects with Israel, ‘Roxanne’, is aimed at developing surveillance technology that identifies people involved in organised crime and terrorism through analysis of private telephone calls, texts, speech patterns and video.

The PSNI is also working on a separate security research project with the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, called the ILEAnet project, which aims to “set up and develop a sustainable network of law enforcement agency practitioner organisations from all over Europe”.

In addition, the PSNI is involved in two projects with private company Motorola Solutions Israel, a subsidiary of the telecoms giant.

The projects are funded by the EU under the security stream of Horizon 2020, an €80 billion investment programme, of which €1.7bn is allocated for security research.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty's Northern Ireland campaigns manager, said it was "highly questionable whether the PSNI should ever have set up projects like this in the first place" but that "distressing scenes of recent weeks from East Jerusalem and Gaza must now be a wake-up call".

He added: "Even post-ceasefire, normal life for Palestinians living in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories involves systematic oppression, often at the hands of forces under the Israeli Ministry of Public Security.

"Northern Ireland, and particularly our police service, must ensure it is not implicated in Israel’s human rights violations.

"As a matter of urgency, the PSNI should suspend all programmes with the Israeli police and security services where there’s a clear risk of involvement in human rights violations – both in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

"This needs to come as part of a wider halt to all military and police exports from the UK to Israel, including any training and technology which could lead to further human rights violations.

"If the Chief Constable refuses to act, the Policing Board and the Northern Ireland Justice Minister must step in and take action."

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England: Judges 'use child protection laws to cover up their decisions'

Laws intended to protect the privacy of children are being used by judges to cover up decisions in England and Wales, Sir James Munby has said.

The former president of the High Court’s Family Division said that curbs on media reporting “prevent public officials being held to account”.

He made the comments when giving evidence to a transparency review of the family court last week.

Sir James said: “There are cases ... where the only person being protected ... is the judge.”

The story of a family whose baby was taken from them for nearly three months only became reportable last week. A radiologist dismissed a diagnosis that the child had suffered possible fractures – the suspicion that had led to separation.

The judge said reporting rules made it “very, very difficult to get inside what the local authorities are up to”.

He added: “Practice varies enormously. Some of them are very good, some we know for a fact are appalling.”

The transparency review's report is due to be published in July.

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Cryptocurrencies becoming more prominent in English divorce proceedings

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are becoming more prominent in divorce proceedings as parties use them to hide their wealth, an English divorce lawyer has said.

Ayesha Vardag, who acted for the successful party in Radmacher v Granatino, which reshaped the law on pre-nups in England and Wales, said the number of inquiries to her firm mentioning cryptocurrency has quintupled since 2017.

Ms Vardag told The Sunday Telegraph: "It can feel like a cat and mouse game with increasingly sophisticated techniques being used by parties to hide their true wealth during divorce proceedings.

"In the same way that offshore trusts and investments have been used as tools to facilitate hiding assets, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be used to hide your spouses’ true worth.

"As cryptocurrencies become more established they will undoubtedly enter mainstream divorce proceedings."

Harriet Errington, family law partner at Boodle Hatfield, added: "The family court is quite old fashioned I suppose, imagine a fuddy duddy judge faced with one of these issues?"

She noted: "It’s such an obvious way for people who want to hide money from their partner to do that. Divorce is the biggest threat to anyone’s wealth."

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LEAP software keeps law firms working remotely Sponsored post

Ben Aslet, LEAP UK Marketing Manager, explains how law firms using LEAP’s cloud-based practice management solution are successfully adapting to remote working and how it’s as near as can be business as normal for law firms using LEAP. He said LEAP have talked to several law firms using the software to find out how they are managing with life away from the office.

The current health crisis means that more and more legal professionals are working from home. Many are showing resilience and agility in the face of the lockdown and those firms that are equipped and have remote-friendly software are faring much better than those have not.

Mike Leeman, BLJ Solicitors comments We now have 50 members of staff working seamlessly from home, thanks to LEAP Legal Software UK.”

We have been working hard to support our clients to acclimatise during lockdown and the feedback that we have received has been incredibly encouraging with many very grateful that they made the transition to cloud software when they did so that their business can continue functioning remotely. Eliot Hibbert of Nexa Law adds: “LEAP is helping our lawyers continue to offer a seamless service in what is a challenging and unprecedented environment.” 

Our Helpdesk and Client success teams have been touching base with our clients to ensure that they can continue to remain productive during the crisis and in many cases our clients are now beginning to understand the true value of LEAP. Paula Langley, Practice Manager, Bookers & Bolton says: “We love it! We are all happily working from home immediately and by taking our work machines home we have fully functioning desktops immediately.

We are finding that firms are benefitting from LEAP’s existing integrations with leading software providers such as LawConnect, for secure document sharing and collaboration with their client. As Stephanie Richardson, Office Manager, Evolve Family Law Ltd puts it: “We are able to create correspondence with all the enclosures without printing a single piece of paper, building bundles and briefs virtually with a click of a button and sharing securely via LawConnect.”

Many LEAP firms are using RapidPay which lets your clients pay you quickly and conveniently online. Ms. Bushra Ali, Director and Head of Practice of Bushra Ali Solicitors and Immediate Past President of the Leicestershire Law Society says: “We can claim fees from clients much quicker and more efficiently. LEAP made it possible for us to shift all our staff to work from home and to be able to operate the entire firm remotely.”

We also hope that our clients will appreciate our continued development of the software to help law firms to work from home during this difficult time. Since the beginning of lockdown LEAP have launched some additional exciting new features that will benefit law firms when working from home.  Via the LEAP Mobile App, iPhone and iPad users can now make FaceTime video and audio calls to clients and other parties, time record these calls and can invite clients to prearranged FaceTime meetings.

LEAP now integrates with Microsoft Teams, meaning law firms can work across multiple locations and staff can share and collaborate on documents and matters, conduct audio or video calls across the team and schedule client call backs directly from LEAP using Microsoft Teams' instant messaging service.

At LEAP we are committed to making our software ever easier to use and more versatile so that our law firms can get on with doing what they do best – practising law. We were one of the first legal software vendors to utilise cloud technology and the fact that our clients are able to function remotely so well is a validation of the work our research and development teams have been undertaking for many years. Stay safe everybody, and keep your clients happy!

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Stewart Title Business Continuity Programme Sponsored post

As concern regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to evolve, Stewart Title is closely monitoring developments including the recommendations made by healthcare authorities and the UK government, in order to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees while ensuring our continued ability to serve our clients.

We also wanted to assure you that Stewart Title’s Business Continuity Programme was designed to address these types of events and ensure our organisation is prepared to maintain the delivery of products and services with minimal disruption on service levels.

Accordingly, we wanted to inform you that the regular means of accessing our services remain unchanged and that there are tools and policies available that may be of assistance:

  • Online ordering via Stewart Solution from where you can continue to order cover for over 150 title indemnity risks. Our online ordering site is available at anytime and can be accessed on your tablet or mobile. If you’re currently not a user, but wish to sign up, you can register on the site at stewartsolution.com.
  • Our Underwriting Team is available for more complex matters or where you need to discuss your transaction. Enquiries can be sent by email to quotes@stewart.com or by phone on 02070107820 or 02070107821. Should you choose to contact us by email, please include your name, contact information, Stewart file number (ST/**********) and a brief description of your enquiry. One of our team members will get back to you in a timely manner.
  • No Search and Search Validation Policies are available to help your client’s transaction to proceed if you are unable to obtain the results of the normal pre-contract searches from public bodies, as a result of changes to working hours or closures due to COVID-19.

We hope that by providing you with the above information, we have been able to alleviate some of your concerns during this challenging time.

We wish you, your family and your associates continued health and resilience. We will continue to be in touch as the situation develops.

elizabethbirrell@stewart.com 07940513681

johnlogan@stewart.com 01698 833308

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Global Language Services Ltd Sponsored post

Technology in the 21st Century is providing us with the means to communicate our thoughts and ideas across the planet in a way that would have been unthinkable, even 10 years ago.

However good the technology is, it cannot pick up the subtleties of a language, the culture that underpins it, or even the humour that oils many of our conversations.

For this reason there has always been a need for skilled interpreters and translators and probably always will. That’s where Global Language Services Ltd can help you.

Not only do we have the language service talent that you are likely to need, we also have a track record that spans Government, health, justice, commercial and private sector contracts.

So, whatever you want to achieve in a different language, we’re on your side from the word ‘go’.

We go out of our way to help with any translation and interpreting requirements and you can test that simply by picking up the phone and getting in touch. Calls are answered by trained operators with no call centres – just real people determined to help you achieve your language service requirements as quickly as possible.

If you’ve been searching for Professional Translation or reliable Interpreting Services at competitive prices, we like to think that Global will be your long-term partner after your first project with us.

With offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen we are committed to finding local interpreters and translators wherever possible. Our reach, however, goes much further than Scotland and we are happy to take translation projects from across the world.

Call Today on 0141 429 3429 to discuss your Project

or email mail@globallanguageservices.co.uk

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Quote of the day

Market value is irrelevant to intrinsic value.

Arnold Schoenberg

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And finally... anarchy in the UK

The lead singer of the Sex Pistols has been drawn into a High Court battle with his former bandmates over a new TV show about their career.

John Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, has pulled out of the six-part miniseries to be directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle.

Former guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook are still involved, but are now facing a legal battle over whether Sex Pistols recordings can be used in the series, the Evening Standard reports.

A key issue of contention is an alleged 1998 agreement that the band would make decisions on licensing by majority, with no bandmate wielding a veto.

Mr Lydon walked away from the series, called Pistol, after repeatedly badmouthing it in the press, Louder Than War reports.

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