Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Criminal Justice Bill 2011: Committee and Remaining Stages
Denis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail)
I am in favour of the provisions of the Bill. I have two brief questions to which the Minister may not wish to respond immediately. The Minister touched on an issue that I meant to raise yesterday in regard to the abuse of solicitors' undertakings. There is evidence in certain instances re some rogue solicitors of abuse where undertakings were given on several occasions for the same property. Can a mechanism be introduced such as registering independence whereby solicitors' undertakings can or should be registered to avoid that recurring because the system is open to abuse and has been so proven. Perhaps those well-publicised cases are not the conclusion of that particular issue with regard to undertakings. I am aware that banks and lending institutions are much more wary in regard to solicitors' undertakings and every solicitor's office is trawling through the past ten years as to when they gave undertakings. Most of these are innocuous where one returns the deeds or stamps and registers the documents.
My second point concerns legislation. Realising that legislation, by and large, cannot be retrospective, how does the Minister see the legislation being helpful in, say, the Anglo Irish Bank investigation? Certain events have taken place during the past three or four years and while the legislation per se cannot be retrospective, parts of the Bill can be helpful to ongoing investigations which the Garda may be conducting without breaching the confidentiality of such inquiries.