Oireachtas committee’s inquiry into legal aid shelved by election
The Oireachtas justice committee’s inquiry into access to justice and legal costs has lapsed as a result of the Dáil’s dissolution for the general election.
Rose Wall, CEO of Community Law & Mediation (CLM), gave evidence to the committee last month, calling for the expansion of civil legal aid to cover areas of the law such as employment and equality cases before the Workplace Relations Commission and appeals to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.
She also called on the committee to consider a restructuring of the civil legal aid scheme to include education and law reform functions, in line with the community law centre model.
In a letter to The Irish Times today, Ms Wall said she and others in the legal aid and community law sector were “disappointed to learn” that the inquiry will lapse.
She added: “The inquiry was long overdue, given that the civil legal aid scheme is now 40 years old and is both chronically under-resourced, with an average waiting time in Dublin of 38 weeks, and overly limited in its scope.”
Ms Wall said it is “critical that this issue is revisited by the next government”.