Speaking before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality’s inquiry into Access to Justice, the CEO of Community Law & Mediation (CLM), Rose Wall, highlighted the importance of community law centres in providing access to justice for people living in disadvantaged communities. She recommended the following:
- Restructure the Civil Legal Aid Scheme in line with the community law centre model to include a public legal education and law reform function. In the interim, greater funding security should be ensured for community law centres, such as CLM, who continue to meet the need arising from the gap in services;
- Review the Civil Legal Aid Scheme to ensure that it is properly resourced and is provided on the basis of need, rather than areas of law and that the financial means test is more inclusive; and
- Ensure effective access to the courts by examining issues such as accessibility; cost; class actions; locus standi and protective costs orders, bearing these matters in mind with the proposed Housing and Planning Development Bill.
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