Housing Law and Policy - Module
CLM Podcast - Covid-19 and your Employment Rights
Urgent - Civil Legal Aid Scheme must be reformed in next Programme for Government
The right of access to justice is accepted as a constitutional principle and a right under the European Convention on Human Rights. Without it, people are unable to have their voice heard, exercise their rights, challenge discrimination or hold decision-makers accountable. It is a basic tenet of a functioning, democratic society and it is vital for social inclusion.
As we emerge from the Covid-19 emergency, it will be more vital than ever that the rights of vulnerable groups are safeguarded. A new social contract between citizens and the State, as proposed in the draft document between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, will only function effectively if it is underpinned by a civil legal aid scheme which provides access to justice for all.
The State’s Civil Legal Aid Scheme, which is now more than 40 years old, must be reformed as follows:
1. Remove the statutory limitations of the existing Scheme
So that people can access legal aid in all areas of law, including appeals before the Workplace Relations Commission or the Social Welfare Appeals Office. For example, a person experiencing discrimination in the workplace cannot currently apply for legal aid for employment and equality cases before the Workplace Relations Commission.
2. Make the financial means test to access legal aid more inclusive
The existing means test is overly strict and out of touch with the reality of the cost of living, with the result that people on low incomes, who cannot afford a solicitor, are denied legal aid.
3. Ensure the Legal Aid Board is adequately resourced
So that waiting times to access legal aid are reduced. Waiting times for a first consultation can be an average of 38 weeks in some parts of the country. This is simply too long to wait and can cause issues for those seeking legal remedies with strict time limits such as Judicial Review, which has an effective time limit of three months.
4. Reform the model of civil legal aid
So that stronger links can be developed with disadvantaged communities through education in relation to rights and through campaigns for law reform on issues affecting those communities.
5. Government review of access to justice must be revisited
The review of access to justice, commenced by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice & Equality last December, must be revisited when the new Committee is in place.
Community Law & Mediation has made a submission to the Workplace Relations Commission, in response to their consultation on Remote Hearings and Written Submissions: Dealing with Adjudication Complaints During the Period of Covid19-related Restrictions.Our submission highlights the potential effects the proposed written procedure and virtual hearings will have on vulnerable groups and makes the following recommendations: 1. No party should be required to participate in a written procedure without consent. 2. Disputes under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 are not suitable for disposal by way of written procedure. 3.
Community Law & Mediation has submitted its observations on the draft Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill to TDs, ahead of the Dail debate on Thursday 26th March:
NOTICE RE COVID-19 (coronavirus)
Community Law & Mediation today made a submission to the Citizens' Assembly on Gender Equality.
This training course will examine the law relating to homelessness in Ireland – what is the State’s obligations to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
This course will look at Social housing support, the application process and the scheme of allocations. It will explain tenancy rights, evictions, what constitutes an unlawful eviction, and how can this be challenged?
The main outcomes will be:
CLM has seen a consistent rise in the demand for free legal advice and representation in employment equality cases, including gender discrimination in the workplace.
The employment relationship is one characterised by an imbalance in power and resources and gender discrimination remains a reality for many people. Currently, the civil legal aid scheme does not cover cases taken to the Workplace Relations Commission, creating a serious barrier to people accessing justice in employment equality law.
This training will provide an overview of the law in the area and will provide information and practical tips on providing advocacy and representation to individuals who are experiencing gender discrimination in the workplace.
This one-day course will provide an overview of the Rent Supplement and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Schemes.
This course aims to examine the following,
The proposals contained in the Housing and Planning and Development Bill will, if enacted, pose a serious threat to environmental democracy and citizens’ access to justice rights; and significantly restrict Irish environmental NGOs and lay litigants from challenging planning decisions in the courts.
Community Law & Mediation today published its Report on The Legal Implications and Lived Experiences of the Caravan Loan Scheme. The Report finds that only 13 local authorities currently offer the Caravan Loan Scheme and that the caravans provided often make unsafe year-round homes for high-occupancy Traveller households. We recommend that the Caravan Loan Scheme be expanded and revised to include increased financial support, better account taken of family size and measures to ensure a better standard of caravan can be purchased. Rental Scheme and Rent to Buy options should be provided.
Proposed Housing & Planning Development Bill threatens Environmental Democracy
The CEO of Community Law & Mediation (CLM), Rose Wall, today highlighted the importance of community law centres in providing access to justice for people living in disadvantaged communities.
This course gives a basic understanding of the Irish legal system and family law in relation to advocacy in Ireland. Learners will develop an awareness of the main features of family law and understand how legislation influences relationship while becoming familiar with the legal language, procedures and court documents relevant to the family law area. Learners will develop their advocacy skills and the ability to apply what they have learned to the workplace. This course will cover any new legislation regarding family law in Ireland.
Participants who successfully complete this course will be able to;