Young Fine Gael has called on the Government to set up a new Commission to examine the obstacles to accessing justice in Ireland.
The ability of citizens to access our justice system is essential to the rule of law. However, as noted by the Chief Executive of the Free Legal Aid Centres (FLAC), Eilis Barry: “Ireland only provides reasonable access to justice to individuals and bodies with significant resources. The small minority of people who are able to get legal aid and the lucky people who are able to access ‘no fee no foal’ arrangements with their lawyers.”
In addition, spending as a percentage of GDP across the European Union shows that Ireland is among the lowest on the law courts system. This means that a far higher percentage of GDP should be spent on our courts and legal aid systems.
To examine these obstacles, we propose that a new Commission should consider issues around access to legal aid, access to the courts, provisions for lay litigants, costs, and the legalisation of champerty. All of these findings and proposed reforms will then be presented to Government.
The proposal is included in Young Fine Gael’s Pre-Budget Submission: Striving for Progress, which was unveiled at the end of August.