Reforming an outdated legal system

Des O’Malley argues in the Irish Times today that the legal system here is in need of reform. He points out that money has now become a decisive factor in determining the outcome of legal disputes. Interestingly he points the finger squarely at the state: “The level of fees seems to percolate from the top. The State is the greatest culprit.” In calling for reform he asks if the debate oculd be conduced without “rigid adherence to the status quo”. What are the chances?

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5 thoughts on “Reforming an outdated legal system

  1. The legal system has no rational function. 80% of people in jail are in for non-violent crimes, while nothing has/will be done about the Ryan report. Are you telling me people who smoke weed are worse than people who rape and torture children?

  2. The legal system in Ireland is only for the poor. It does not put its own in jail it does not recognise WCC as being prosecutable offences. I recognise that there are many solicitors and barristers that are never, ever going to be given a chance to cream the system through NAMA or one of the more infamous tribunals of unlimited opportunity. In effect, it is worse that a monopoly. It is a monopoly within a monopoly.

    It is quite obvious what has to happen “they” need reform imposed on them by the ordinary people of Ireland. Preferably. by way of, a new constitution that smashes their monopoly and their arrogance to smithereens. It is Alice in Wonderland stuff to believe that these people would reform themselves you only have to look at the years and years of legalised, systemic miliking of the country that happened with tribunals.

    Now, young solicitors and some not so young, cannot practice because there has been so much fraud and malpractice that the cost of insurance has skyrocketed.

    Don’t hold your breath regarding the impending “negotiations” for reform demanded under the MOU. This lot will run circles round Mr. Chopra and other such innocents as they rewrite the rules (laws if necessary) to suit themselves, just as they have been doing since the foundation of the state. They will resist any and every reform, sure why would they not? Is it not working wonderfully for them. Oh! I forgot, the country is running out of sources of borrowing to pay them and has become a failed state.

    Unfortunately, the party O’Malley spawned did more damage to the country than FF. Well, that is probably a slight exaggeration, but at least one could argue we had a “republic” of sorts, before the PD’s arrived to give FF a dig out in finishing it off.

  3. It sounds as if this epiphany about the extent of dysfunction in the legal system only happened to him recently. Although we probably should rejoice over the repentance of even one, it actually makes me even more angry. Why didn’t he open his eyes during his long years in power and close to power? What use is this now when any influence he might have is but a distant and fading echo?

    It really makes my blood boil when I see this continuous dribble of former senior politicians, civil servants and quangocrats trying to re-boost their profiles as ‘wise elders’ or trying to add to the retirement pot (book to sell, consulting work to be secured) by telling us what’s wrong with the system they had presided over for years. Why didn’t you do something about it when you had some authority, responsibility and influence? You’re about as much use now as a eunuch in a harem.

    This is probably the utlimate in Irish hypocrisy. There’s no point telling us the system is dysfunctional. We know. We suffer it every day. And we’re supposed to applaud this sudden outburst of honesty? Why don’t you go back in and try to persuade, quietly, your successors to reform it? Then you might get some of the respect and approbation you seems to crave. I sometimes think we should re-instate the stocks as a method of punishment for chancers like these.

  4. @ Paul,

    Your ire is misdirected and when your blood calms down you may wish to reconsider some of the remarks above.

    Des O’Malley was appointed Minister for Justice in 1970 following the resignation of Michael O’ Moireain at the height of the ‘Arms Crisis’. O’Malley’s actions throughout this period of major crisis and threat to the stability of the Irish State are not above criticism, a fact he has publicly acknowledged himself on various occassions, but they were instrumental in preserving the integrity of the Irish political system and seeing off the very real danger to Irish democracy posed by subversives at that time.

    Secondly, you are being unfair: at various points in his political career Des O’Malley proposed reforms of the legal system, for which he had to endure much opproprium from the legal profession itself.

    Finally, whatever else, I have never known anyone to question his personal integrity. At the time of his expulsion from FF in 1985, there were many who considered that the wiser course of action on his part might have been to accommodate himself to the then predominant political culture of CJH within Fianna Fail. He didn’t.

    I don’t agree with his politics, nor necessarily with any or all of his views, but I have a great deal of respect for him, both as a statesman and for the political courage that he demonstrated throughout his career. Pity it is that such principles are so rare amongst our present political elite.

    • I’m sure we could debate the politcial virtues and vices of the said gentleman ’til the cows come home, but I’ve just lost patience with former senior politicians, civil servants and quangocrats suddenly getting very vocal about the dysfunction of the systems over which they previously presided. When I saw this IT op-ed piece, I said ‘Oh no. Not another one.’ Career resume, previous good intentions, personal integrity, etc. didn’t enter into it.

      The irony, of course, is that if anything is going to be done on this front it will be done at the behest and under the supervision of the Troika – not by elected Irish politicians. And the double irony is that the FODAR are kicking so hard, behind the scenes, against any and all of the structural reforms specified by the Troika that the Government fears they could be provoked into scuppering the sanguine, sunny macroeconomic narrative they are crafting. Serious back-pedalling going on. And the Troika are so keen to have Ireland as a ‘poster boy’ demonstrating the efficacy of its treatment to the sullen, reluctant Club Med boyos (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece) that it appears they are going to permit the back-pedalling. And so the FODAR win again.

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