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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01-418 0600]. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.
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.
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.
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
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 email@example.com 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.
High Court: Environmental activists successfully challenge the validity of peat extraction legislation
An environmental activist network has been granted an order setting aside secondary legislation which amended the regulation of large-scale peat extraction.
Finding that the amended legislation was inconsistent with EU environmental law, Mr Justice Garrett Simons also found that the use of secondary legislation to amend primary legislation was, under the circumstances of this case, impermissible.
The Ministerial Regulations
In January 2019, two pieces of secondary legislation were introduced: the EU (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Peat Extraction) Regulations 2019 (S.I. No. 4 of 2019), and the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) Regulations 2019 (S.I. No. 12 of 2019) – referred to collectively throughout the judgment as “the Ministerial Regulations”. The Ministerial Regulations purported amend primary legislation: the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992 and the Planning and Development Act 2000 .
The Ministerial Regulations have the effect of exempting peat extraction of more than 30 hectares from planning permission – instead, peat extraction on this scale would be subject to licensing by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The exemption from the requirement to obtain planning permission came into immediate effect, however, the Regulations provided for a significant “transitional period” of up to three years before the new licensing regime would come unto full force and effect.
During this transitional period, developers without planning permission or a license would be “allowed to continue carrying out peat extraction unabated”.
In April 2019, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) instituted the present judicial review proceedings, challenging the validity of the Ministerial Regulations.
In July 2019, Mr Justice Simons granted FIE interlocutory relief, restraining the implementation of the Ministerial Regulations pending the outcome the substantive judicial review proceedings herein. Stating that the transitional provisions gave rise to a “lacuna in the governance of peat extraction”, Mr Justice Simons said that to refuse the injunction would risk undermining the effectiveness of EU environmental law and also risked harm to the environment.
Flagrant breach of EU environmental law
FIE contended that the amendments were a “flagrant breach” of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the Habitats Directive, and that the transitional period amounted to an “enforcement holiday” contrary to EU law.
Mr Justice Simons agreed that the procedure provided for under the amended legislation was inconsistent with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the Habitats Directive. He said that EU Member States enjoy “limited discretion to make provision for the regularisation of development projects which have been carried out in breach of the requirements of either or both of the EU Directives, the amended legislation exceeds this discretion”.
He said the offending features of the amended legislation included the absence of:
Any possibility of suspending peat extraction during the transitional period;
Exceptional circumstances which justify affording developers who have carried out—and continue to carry out—development in breach of EU law an opportunity to regularise their legal status;
Proper legislative provisions to ensure that any assessment is both prospective and retrospective.
Stating that the regime purported to leave projects undisturbed without proper authorisation or assessment, Mr Justice Simons likened the shortcomings of the amended legislation to the “old” planning legislation which had been condemned by the Court of Justice of the European Union C-215/06, Commission v Ireland.
Impermissible use of secondary legislation
FIE submitted that the use of secondary legislation to amend primary legislation was impermissible, and that the Ministerial Regulations went beyond the mere implementation of “principles and policies” set out in the EU Directives – therefore requiring primary legislation.
Mr Justice Simons agreed that, in the circumstances of this case, the use of secondary legislation was impermissible. He said that the use of secondary legislation inconsistent with EU legislation could not be said to give effect to the “principles and policies” contained in the EU legislation, and could not be said to be “incidental, supplementary and consequential” to the EU legislation or “necessitated” by the Irish State’s membership of the EU.
Mr Justice Simons said “[e]ven if… the Ministerial Regulations could be said to be consistent with the EIA Directive and the Habitats Directive, the use of secondary legislation would still be impermissible”. He said that if the Directives did allow for the broad discretion contended for by the State, then the policy choices “should have been made by the Oireachtas through the enactment of primary legislation”.
Granting the application for judicial review, Mr Justice Simons said he would make an order setting aside the Ministerial Regulations in their entirety.
DAC Beachcroft recruits two new partners in Dublin
International law firm DAC Beachcroft has bolstered its Dublin office through the hire of a two female partner-led team.
Corporate partner Sharon McCaffrey and competition law partner Joanne Finn have joined the firm, bringing with them a team of two senior associates, one associate and a secretary.
The appointments follow the promotion of Niamh McKeever to partner in May this year, to head up the firm’s healthcare group which provides a full service in the area of medical malpractice in Ireland.
Ms McCaffrey brings with her a wealth of experience in acting for Irish and international businesses, as well as individual shareholders, across a range of business sectors including telecoms, renewables, infrastructure and tourism/hospitality.
Ms Finn has experience in EU and Irish competition and regulatory law, with particular specialism in healthcare, construction, energy, telecommunications, agri-food, retail/consumer and aviation.
Lisa Broderick, partner and location head, said: "These strategic hires are an important part of the firm’s long-term commitment to the Irish market. The expansion of our offering to include commercial and competition law capabilities is based purely on client demand and need.
“Meanwhile, the next stage of DAC Beachcroft’s strategy to strengthen its presence in Ireland will see the firm move into new Dublin premises in 2020. When our Dublin office opened ten years ago, there was just one lawyer. With now over 70 colleagues and 10 partners, our growth in the region has been substantial."
UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson unlawfully prorogued Parliament, full bench of Supreme Court rules in historic judgment
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unlawfully prorogued Parliament, a full bench of the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in a historic judgment.
In court this morning, Lady Hale, President of the Supreme Court – sitting with Lord Reed, Deputy President; Lord Kerr; Lord Wilson; Lord Carnwath; Lord Hodge; Lady Black; Lord Lloyd-Jones; Lady Arden; Lord Kitchin and Lord Sales – delivered judgment in both R (on the application of Miller) (Appellant) v The Prime Minister (Respondent) and Cherry and others (Respondents) v Advocate General for Scotland (Appellant) (Scotland).
The central issue for the court was whether the advice given to the Queen by Mr Johnson to prorogue Parliament was unlawful and, if so, what the legal consequences were.
On 30 July 2019, the petitioners in Scotland launched a case in the Court of Session claiming prorogation would be unlawful and seeking a declaration to that effect and an interdict to prevent it.
On 4 September, Lord Doherty, in the Outer House of the Court of Session, refused the petition, on the ground that the issue was not justiciable in a court of law. The Inner House, comprising the Lord President, Lord Carloway, Lord Brodie and Lord Drummond Young, allowed the appeal, holding that the advice given to Her Majesty was justiciable, that it was motivated by the improper purpose of stymying Parliamentary scrutiny of the executive, and that it and the prorogation which followed it were unlawful and thus null and of no effect.
As soon as prorogation had been announced, Gina Miller launched proceedings in the High Court in London, seeking a declaration that the Prime Minister’s advice to her Majesty was unlawful. Those proceedings were heard by a Divisional Court (Lord Burnett of Maldon, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales; Sir Terence Etherton, Master of the Rolls; and Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the Queen’s Bench Division) on 5 September and their judgment was delivered on 11 September. They dismissed the claim on the ground that the issue was not justiciable. They granted a “leap-frog” certificate so that the case could come directly to the Supreme Court.
In view of the grave constitutional importance of the matter, and the disagreement between the courts in England and Wales and Scotland, the Supreme Court convened a panel of 11 justices, the maximum number of serving justices who are permitted to sit.
The first question was whether the lawfulness of the Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty was justiciable. The court held that it was. The courts have exercised a supervisory jurisdiction over the lawfulness of acts of the government for centuries. As long ago as 1611, the court held that “the King [who was then the government] hath no prerogative but that which the law of the land allows him”. However, in considering prerogative powers, it is necessary to distinguish between two different questions. The first is whether a prerogative power exists and if so its extent. The second is whether the exercise of that power, within its limits, is open to legal challenge. This second question may depend upon what the power is all about: some powers are not amenable to judicial review while others are. However, there is no doubt that the courts have jurisdiction to decide upon the existence and limits of a prerogative power. All the parties to this case accept that. This court concluded that this case was about the limits of the power to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament.
The second question, therefore, was what are the limits to that power? Two fundamental principles of the constitution are relevant to deciding that question. The first is Parliamentary sovereignty – that Parliament can make laws which everyone must obey: this would be undermined if the executive could, through the use of the prerogative, prevent Parliament from exercising its power to make laws for as long as it pleased. The second fundamental principle is Parliamentary accountability: in the words of Lord Bingham, senior Law Lord, “the conduct of government by a Prime Minister and cabinet collectively responsible and accountable to Parliament lies at the heart of Westminster democracy”. The power to prorogue is limited by the constitutional principles with which it would otherwise conflict.
Lady Hale said: "For present purposes, the relevant limit on the power to prorogue is this: that a decision to prorogue (or advise the monarch to prorogue) will be unlawful if the prorogation has the effect of frustrating or preventing, without reasonable justification, the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions as a legislature and as the body responsible for the supervision of the executive. In judging any justification which might be put forward, the court must of course be sensitive to the responsibilities and experience of the Prime Minister and proceed with appropriate caution.
"If the prorogation does have that effect, without reasonable justification, there is no need for the court to consider whether the Prime Minister’s motive or purpose was unlawful."
She added: "The third question, therefore, is whether this prorogation did have the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification. This was not a normal prorogation in the run-up to a Queen’s Speech. It prevented Parliament from carrying out its constitutional role for five out of the possible eight weeks between the end of the summer recess and exit day on 31 October.
"Proroguing Parliament is quite different from Parliament going into recess. While Parliament is prorogued, neither House can meet, debate or pass legislation. Neither House can debate government policy. Nor may members ask written or oral questions of ministers or meet and take evidence in committees. In general, bills which have not yet completed all their stages are lost and will have to start again from scratch after the Queen’s Speech. During a recess, on the other hand, the House does not sit but Parliamentary business can otherwise continue as usual. This prolonged suspension of parliamentary democracy took place in quite exceptional circumstances: the fundamental change which was due to take place in the constitution of the United Kingdom on 31st October. Parliament, and in particular the House of Commons as the elected representatives of the people, has a right to a voice in how that change comes about. The effect upon the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.
"No justification for taking action with such an extreme effect has been put before the court. The only evidence of why it was taken is the memorandum from Nikki da Costa of 15th August. This explains why holding the Queen’s Speech to open a new session of Parliament on 14th October would be desirable. It does not explain why it was necessary to bring Parliamentary business to a halt for five weeks before that, when the normal period necessary to prepare for the Queen’s Speech is four to six days. It does not discuss the difference between prorogation and recess. It does not discuss the impact of prorogation on the special procedures for scrutinising the delegated legislation necessary to achieve an orderly withdrawal from the European Union, with or without a withdrawal agreement, on 31st October. It does not discuss what Parliamentary time would be needed to secure Parliamentary approval for any new withdrawal agreement, as required by section 13 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
"The court is bound to conclude, therefore, that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification."
The Supreme Court President then considered the remedies the court should grant.
"The court can certainly declare that the advice was unlawful. The Inner House went further and declared that any prorogation resulting from it was null and of no effect. The government argues that the Inner House could not do that because the prorogation was a 'proceeding in Parliament' which, under the Bill of Rights of 1688 cannot be impugned or questioned in any court. But it is quite clear that the prorogation is not a proceeding in Parliament. It takes place in the House of Lords chamber in the presence of members of both Houses, but it is not their decision. It is something which has been imposed upon them from outside. It is not something on which members can speak or vote. It is not the core or essential business of Parliament which the Bill of Rights protects. Quite the reverse: it brings that core or essential business to an end.
"This Court has already concluded that the Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty was unlawful, void and of no effect. This means that the Order in Council to which it led was also unlawful, void and of no effect and should be quashed. This means that when the Royal Commissioners walked into the House of Lords it was as if they walked in with a blank sheet of paper. The prorogation was also void and of no effect. Parliament has not been prorogued. This is the unanimous judgment of all 11 Justices."
Lady Hale concluded: "It is for Parliament, and in particular the Speaker and the Lord Speaker to decide what to do next. Unless there is some Parliamentary rule of which we are unaware, they can take immediate steps to enable each House to meet as soon as possible. It is not clear to us that any step is needed from the Prime Minister, but if it is, the court is pleased that his counsel have told the court that he will take all necessary steps to comply with the terms of any declaration made by this court.
"It follows that the Advocate General’s appeal in the case of Cherry is dismissed and Mrs Miller’s appeal is allowed. The same declarations and orders should be made in each case."
NI: Lawyer in Northern Ireland court challenge to prorogation welcomes Supreme Court ruling
Belfast solicitor Ciaran O'Hare, whose client Raymond McCord brought a challenge in the Northern Ireland courts against the prorogation of Parliament, has welcomed today's unanimous UK Supreme Court ruling that Parliament has not been prorogued.
Mr O'Hare, of McIvor Farrell Solicitors, said the court's judgment in the Scottish Cherry and English Miller cases had "vindicated" Mr McCord in opposing prorogation.
Mr McCord, whose application for judicial review was refused by the High Court in Belfast, was not permitted to proceed to challenge the lawfulness of prorogation before the Supreme Court given that the Scottish and English challenges were already well-advanced. However, he joined both cases as an intervener.
In a statement this morning, Mr O'Hare said it was "a privilege and an honour" for both he and his client "to have played a role in this, the most significant constitutional case in UK legal history".
He added: "My client hopes that Parliament will now resume its business and will not be stymied in terms of having its say in regards to Brexit. Northern Ireland parliamentarians such as Lady Sylvia Hermon vigorously put forward the case for Northern Ireland in Parliament and she will now be able to resume her good work.
"It is also a privilege for me as the instructing solicitor in this case. These proceedings have been difficult to navigate and have been stressful. They have required a herculean effort from counsel and I.
"Mr McCord still has other Northern Irish specific points regarding Brexit that are currently before the courts in Northern Ireland and our focus will now return to them."
NI: Herbert Smith Freehills welcomes two new Belfast trainees
International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has welcomed Colm Wolinski and Michael McFall as trainees in Belfast.
The pair, both graduates of Queen's University Belfast, previously worked as legal analysts in Belfast, where the firm operates a dedicated Alternative Legal Services (ALT) office with over 240 lawyers, technologists and legal analysts.
They will qualify as solicitors in England and Wales after completing four seats split across the firm's Belfast and London offices.
Mr Wolinski is currently with the firm's corporate team for his first seat and has been working on due diligence, commercial contracts and prospectus verification. He also co-leads the firm's multiculturalism network in Belfast.
Mr McFall has been working within the funds team in his first seat and has undertaken due diligence and other funds-related matters. He is co-ordinator in the firm's universities network in Belfast.
Both Mr Wolinski and Mr McFall have previously worked within the firm's disputes practice group.
Director Lisa McLaughlin, who heads the firm's ALT business in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Irish Legal News: "I'm delighted that Colm and Michael are starting the next chapter of their careers with us as trainees.
"Both have spent a period of time working as part of our Belfast team as legal analysts and they begin their training contract during an exciting time of evolution for our Alternative Legal Services business and the legal industry as a whole.
"Colm and Michael will have the opportunity to rotate around different practice areas in our Belfast and London offices and avail of fantastic client secondment opportunities and I wish them every success as they embark on this exciting opportunity."
Former barrister launches revolutionary new legal firm Sponsored post
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.”
NI: Tughans and McCann FitzGerald lead Northern Ireland deals tables
Northern Ireland commercial law firm Tughans advised on the largest volume of deals in the first half of the year, while Dublin-based McCann FitzGerald led in terms of value, according to a new report.
There were a total of 137 M&A and capital markets transactions involving a Northern Ireland company in the first half of 2019, worth a total of £275 million, according to the Experian MarketIQ H1 2019 report.
Tughans advised on 24 deals in the period, followed by Carson McDowell who advised on 16, A&L Goodbody who advised on 11, Mills Selig who advised on nine and Davidson McDonnell who advised on seven.
In terms of value, McCann FitzGerald advised on deals worth £77 million, while Carson McDowell and Womble Bond Dickinson each advised on deals worth £37 million, Tughans advised on deals worth £28 million and A&L Goodbody advised on deals worth £21 million.
Sex offenders to be invited to take part in treatment without admitting guilt
Sex offenders in prison will be invited to take part in a treatment programme without admitting or talking about their crime under new Irish Prison Service (IPS) plans, according to reports.
The prison service is seeking funding to establish a new programme inspired by the Canadian "Rockwood programme" which allows offenders to take part even if they refuse to admit their crime, The Irish Times reports.
The initiative has been launched out of concern about the low participation of sex offenders in the voluntary Building Better Lives (BBL) treatment programme, which was introduced in 2009.
The vast majority of sex offenders leave Irish prisons without taking part in any preventative treatment.
The new so-called "deniers' group" is being developed by the IPS alongside the Probation Service and will be rolled out within the next three years if it secured funding.
A spokesperson for the IPS told The Irish Times: "Individuals cannot be ‘forced’ to admit to their offence, nor should they be denied treatment.
"Similar to the approach in Canada, the focus of this group will be to identify the problematic dynamic factors relevant to offending and engage in treatment of these factors."
Nearly half of all speeding offences struck out of court
Nearly half of all speeding offences brought to court in the past two and a half years have been struck out because motorists have not been served with a summons, according to the Courts Service.
Figures released to Independent TD Tommy Broughan reveal that 61,059 speeding offences were listed in the court over the 29 months to June 2019, of which 27,899 (46 per cent) were struck out due to summonses not being served.
The proportion of speeding offences which are struck out varies widely by county, with motorists in counties Wexford, Westmeath and Limerick more likely to be served with a summons than motorists in counties Monaghan, Sligo, Mayo and Kerry, the Irish Independent reports.
Bertie Ahern to address UCC Law Society event next week
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will speak about the Northern Ireland peace process at a discussion event hosted by UCC Law Society next week.
The event, sponsored by A&L Goodbody, will take place on Tuesday 1 October, 7.30pm in Boole 2.
Mr Ahern, who served as Taoiseach from 1997 to 2008, will reflect on both the peace process past and present, from the Good Friday Agreement to recent political political developments, organisers said.
KOD Lyons managing partner John O'Doherty appointed to board of National Gallery
Dublin lawyer John O'Doherty, managing partner of KOD Lyons, has been appointed to the board of the National Gallery of Ireland.
Mr O'Doherty, who also sits on the criminal law committee of the Law Society of Ireland, was appointed by Culture Minister Josepha Madigan following a public call for applications.
Dan Flinter, chairman of the PM Group and The Irish Times Group, was appointed at the same time.
Commenting on the appointments, Ms Madigan said: "I am pleased to appoint both John O’Doherty and Dan Flinter to the Board of the National Gallery.
I am confident that their ability and experience along with their keen interest in the world of art will enable them to make an important contribution at the Gallery. I wish both of them every success during their term and thank them for taking on these important roles."
Matheson partner Deirdre Dunne to present award to female entrepreneur of the year
Matheson partner Deirdre Dunne will present an award to the Matheson Women Mean Business (WMB) Female Entrepreneur of the Year next week.
The law firm is sponsoring the award for a third year running and Ms Dunne, the firm's head of business development, is sitting on the judging panel.
The eight finalists competing the for the accolade are:
Ciara Crossan, founder and CEO of Wedding Dates
Eimer Hannon, founder and MD of Hannon Travel
Lorraine Heskin, founder and CEO of Gourmet Food Parlour
Carol Joyce and Anna Hosty, founders and directors of Yourells Hair Group
Áine Kerr, co-founder and COO of Kinzen
Emma Lacy, commercial director and partner of Horan Automation & Consulting
Laurie Mannix, co-founder and director of MKC Communications
Nicola O’Neill, managing director of Harvest
Commenting ahead of the awards ceremony on Monday, Ms Dunne said: "Congratulations to this year’s finalists for the WMB Awards, especially those in the entrepreneur of the year category.
"Diversity is a core value at Matheson and we are committed to embedding diversity and inclusion into everything we do. I am delighted to be involved in this event, which honours some of Ireland’s most inspiring female business leaders and role models."
Mason Hayes & Curran: Experts doubt Ireland will meet 2030 renewable energy target
Senior business leaders and energy industry experts in Ireland do not believe the State will achieve its renewable energy targets, according to a new survey carried out by Mason Hayes & Curran.
The law firm surveyed nearly 200 delegates at its recent "Economics of Energy" event, and found that a majority (55 per cent) doubt the likelihood of Ireland meeting its target of generating 70 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
Only 10 per cent of respondents said Ireland is "very likely" to achieve its targets, with 35 per cent saying it is only "somewhat likely".
Asked what would be the most effective way for Ireland to ensure security of energy supply for the future, just under 60 per cent cited offshore wind development as the most desirable option, whereas an Ireland-European interconnector is seen to provide the best prospect of energy security by 35 per cent of those surveyed.
The remainder of those surveyed hovered between further oil and gas exploration off our own coasts - as an option to secure Ireland’s energy supply - while just two per cent said they would favour nuclear power.
Will Carmody, co-head of energy at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: "The Government declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in May, signalling its intent to address climate change and related environmental sustainability issues on a more decisive basis. Ireland’s climate action plan envisages having 3,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2030. However, the right policy and legislative framework needs to exist to incentivise investment and to fast track developments in this area.
"After decades of discussion and debate, we currently only have one offshore windfarm in Ireland on the Arklow Bank. We need to see urgent progression of the proposed maritime planning and development legislation, offshore grid connection policy and clarity on off-shore wind’s place in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auctions to stimulate this essential channel of energy supply for Ireland."
Energy partner Eoin Cassidy added: "The issue of security of supply could be exacerbated by Brexit, and any potential risks this might pose to the North-South interconnector project and the efficiency of the all-island integrated single electricity market (I-SEM).
"Eirgrid has carried out feasibility studies for a proposed €1 billion Ireland-France power cable (the Celtic Interconnector) which would be able to carry 750MW of electricity, enough to power 450,000 households. It would provide Ireland’s only direct energy connection to an EU member state once the UK leaves the EU, and would clearly be a very welcome development if it proves economically viable to bring it forward for development.
"In the interim, the progress of the RESS auction process remains critical to ensuring momentum in the development of renewable generation in Ireland. The recent announcement to sector stakeholders that the RESS auction pre-qualification will open in December 2019 is a welcome development."
NI: Ex-barrister who gave up legal career to become a nun leaves convent
A former Northern Ireland barrister who gave up a 23-year legal career to become a nun five years ago has left the convent after being told she will not be allowed to take her final vows.
Elaine Kelly joined the Sisters of the Adoration on the Falls Road in West Belfast in 2014, but left this week after being told the congregation has become too small to meet the standards of governance of the Catholic Church.
Ms Kelly called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1991 and to the Bar of Ireland in 2004, specialising in family law.
Her decision to wind down her practice was described as "a major surprise" by the Bar of Northern Ireland at the time. The Bar told The Irish Catholic that she was "very popular among her colleagues [and] built up a decent practice by dint of her own hard work, ability and personality".
Martina Purdy, the former BBC News NI political correspondent who also gave up her career to join the convent in the same year, has also left.
In a statement, Ms Kelly said: "When I entered the Adoration Sisters five years ago, I believed it was for life. I never saw this moment coming when I would have to leave."
She added: "My heartfelt thanks to all my family, friends, law colleagues, the local community and Parish, and to everyone who has given me such amazing support."
The former barrister has said she will take time out to reflect and consider her future.
Spain: Supreme Court rules that Franco's remains can be removed from monument
The remains of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco can be removed from his burial place at the centre of a controversial state monument and reburied in a cemetery, the Supreme Court of Spain has ruled.
In a unanimous ruling, judges rejected a legal challenge from Franco's grandchildren and three organisations including the Francisco Franco National Foundation, Spanish newspaper El País reports.
After his death in 1975, Franco was buried in the "Valley of the Fallen" monument north of Madrid, which also houses the bodies of tens of thousands of fighters killed in the Spanish Civil War in which he took power.
The controversial monument was built with the forced labour of left-wing prisoners and has long been identified with the Francoist regime, but an expert commission established under the landmark Historical Memory Law concluded in 2011 that it could be adapted to serve as a symbol of reconciliation, provided that the late dictator's body is removed.
In August, the new Spanish government under Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez passed a decree allowing for Franco's body to be exhumed and reburied in the El Pardo-Mingorrubio cemetery north of Madrid.
The unsuccessful legal challenge sought an order that Franco be allowed to remain at the Valley of the Fallen monument, or be moved to the family crypt in la Almudena cathedral in central Madrid, where his late wife is buried.
Greta Thunberg and 15 other young people file climate change complaint at UN
A group of 16 young people, including Swedish school strike activist Greta Thunberg, have brought a legal complaint to the UN over five countries' inaction on climate change.
The children, all under 18 and one as young as eight years old, have brought a petition against Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In a 101-page petition, the children allege that their human rights have been violated by a lack of serious action to keep the planet from heating by 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius.
The petitioners are represented by global law firm Hausfeld and non-profit environmental law organisation Earthjustice.
The #ChildVsClimateCrisis website, publicising their case, said the five countries were chosen as the five greatest polluters among the 45 countries that have ratified the additional protocol allowing children to directly petition the UN about treaty violations.
The UN committee will be asked to issue specific recommendations to the five countries, including on legislation that will speed up the response to climate change.
Erin Research launches into Irish market with range of probate genealogy services Sponsored post
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. They can be found online at www.erinresearch.ie and on Twitter @ErinResearch.
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.
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.