07/11/2017

Sinn Féin Launch Multi Party Action Bill 2017

Sinn Fein Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has published the Multi Party Action Bill 2017 which, if enacted, would allow for multi party litigation for similar cases as those involved in the tracker mortgage scandal.

According to the Sinn Féin TD, the legislation would have much the same effect and impact as the 'Class Action' process in the United States.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said: "I am happy to bring forward this bill today and hope to have it debated at Private Members time in the coming weeks.

"The Bill would introduce a new form of litigation in Ireland, the Multi Party Action. It is largely based on the Law Reform Commission Paper on this matter from 2005 which unfortunately was never progressed.

"This Bill could revolutionise the way in which the Courts deal with large scale actions, and could improve access to justice for countless people who have faced serious injustices, such as, for example, people affected by the Tracker Mortgage Scandal.

"It would facilitate people affected by the same set of circumstances, should they choose to opt in, to become part of a Multi Party Action, which would allow the cases to be dealt with together where common or related issues of fact or law arise.

"This would reduce the overall outlay on litigation, reduce the costs of achieving a resolution, make better use of scarce court resources, and improve access to justice for many people who would otherwise be excluded."

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said that a good example of where this could apply is the current Tracker Mortgage Scandal, stating that the Bill would be a clear statement of intent, "of seeking to hold the banks to account for their wrongdoing".

He continued: "Where currently someone would have to take a test case, against the banks or any other body, and others follow on, each with likely separate legal representation, this piece of legislation would allow those affected to be dealt with together.

"Justice Susan Denham, in launching the LRC proposals in 2005 stated, that the Legal System was 'too expensive, too slow and too unequal'."

"We believe that is still the case, but this Legislation can redress that balance, and put legal action within reach of many for whom it was not possible until now."

(MH)

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