This submission seeks to highlight and to gain clarification on a potential impediment that CLM has identified in the recent Order: 86A (Appeals to the Court of Appeal in civil proceedings) (S.I. No. 485 of 2014).
Submission to the Department of Social Protection following on from the Community Law & Mediation Roundtable on Social Welfare Law which examined Section 13 of the Social Welfare Act 2012. Section 13 deals with the recovery of overpayments and gives the Department of Social Protection the power to unilaterally deduct 15% from a person’s basic social welfare payment, a significant increase on the deduction allowed under the previous regime. Participants at the roundtable were unanimous in their view that the reduction of 15% to recipients’ basic payments was unfair and disproportionate, given the difficulties experienced by any individuals living on the basic subsistence payment in the form of SWA. Participants agreed that recipients living on a reduced payment of as little as €130 per week for a single person cannot maintain the minimum essential standard of living required to live with dignity. Attendees also emphasised that recipients’ rights to fair procedures must be complied with in the recovery process.
We very much welcome the enactment of legislation to clarify and indeed streamline what is now a complicated system that is difficult to navigate. Here, the legislature is presented with an excellent opportunity to establish a robust, fair and clarified procedure for the adjudication of disputes falling within its remit. Our submission emphasises five areas of concern or note in the Workplace Relations Bill as it currently stands. The most important of these, from the perspective of our clients and service users, is the lack of a clear entitlement to legal aid, which is not currently afforded to people in employment cases involving that most fundamental element, their livelihood. This need is critical and is a serious impediment to accessing justice, particularly in a situation where the inequality of arms is pronounced.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is currently preparing a Handbook on Access to Justice, in partnership with the Council of Europe (CEPEJ) and the European Court of Human Rights. The Handbook will cover the area of access to justice in its widest sense including judicial as well as non-judicial aspects.
The Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2014 was published on 28 May 2014 and debate on this difficult to read piece of legislation commenced on 5 June 2014, with a hurried passage expected through the Oireachtas.
This briefing paper is a summary of issues raised in our Submission on the Proposals in the General Scheme of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 and also reflects our recommendations and observations regarding the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014.
This submission raises concerns about, and indeed challenges, the manner in which local authorities recover possession using Section 62 of the Housing Act 1966. We very much welcome the proposals to amend the process of terminating the tenancies of local authority tenants and we hope that the legislation will introduce a fair, transparent and proportionate process for recovering possession of a person’s home. We are acutely aware, through our weekly advice clinics, of the problems caused by anti-social behaviour. This serves to emphasise the need for a robust, fair and transparent process with the principle of proportionality at its core. Evicting a person from his/her home should always be a last resort.