Legal Services Regulation Act 2015

120.

Public consultation on certain issues relating to barristers

120. (1) The Authority shall engage in a public consultation process on—

(a) the extent, if any, to which the restriction on legal practitioners, other than solicitors, holding the moneys of clients, as provided under section 45 , should be retained,

(b) the retention or removal of restrictions on a barrister receiving instructions in a contentious matter, directly from a person who is not a solicitor, and the reforms, whether administrative, legislative, or to existing professional codes, that are required to be made in the event that the restrictions are retained or, as the case may be, removed, and

(c) the circumstances and manner in which a barrister may hold clients’ moneys and the mechanisms to be applied for the protection of clients’ moneys which may be so held.

(2) The public consultation process referred to in subsection (1) shall be carried out in the following manner:

(a) the Authority shall invite members of the public to make submissions, within a specified time limit, on the matters referred to in subsection (1), where such invitation is made by means of a notice to that effect published in a newspaper circulating within the State and on the internet;

(b) the Authority may, where it considers it appropriate to do so, consult with such bodies, including professional bodies and persons, in relation to the matters referred to in subsection (1);

(c) the Authority shall, immediately following the expiry of the time limit referred to in paragraph (a), and having regard to the submissions duly received under that paragraph and any consultation held under paragraph (b), prepare a report to the Minister setting out its recommendations in relation to the matters specified in subsection (1);

(d) the report referred to in paragraph (c) shall be completed and submitted to the Minister within 12 months of the establishment day.

(3) (a) At any time before the completion of the report referred to in subsection (2)(c), the Authority shall, on the request of the Minister, and may, on its own initiative, prepare an interim report for the Minister.

(b) An interim report referred to in paragraph (a) may refer to the general progress of the public consultation process and shall refer—

(i) where the Minister has requested the interim report, to such matters as the Minister has requested in the report, or

(ii) where the interim report is prepared on the initiative of the Authority, to such matters as the Authority considers appropriate,

and the interim report may contain recommendations in respect of such matters.

(4) The Minister shall cause copies of the report referred to in subsection (2)(c) or, as the case may be, subsection (3), to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas within 30 days of its receipt by him or her.