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A Brief Legal Guide for Parents

A Brief Legal Guide for Parents

Birth Certificate

When your baby is born one of the first things you’ll need to do is register the birth of your baby within the first 3 months. The GRO will be able to register the birth: http://www.groireland.ie/registering_a_birth.htm with a number of Registrar offices around the country: http://www.civilregistrationservice.ie/

It’s important to register your child’s birth not only because it’s a legal requirement but because it’s necessary in order to be able to enter your child to a school, apply for a passport and claim child benefit.

 

Employment Law

While Ireland doesn’t have quite the benefits of maternity and paternity leave that Sweden has (16 months paid), there is an entitlement for paid leave for mothers.

Paid maternity leave entitlement: 26 weeks (6 months)

Maternity pay: 80% of salary from relevant tax year. Up to a maximum of €262 per week.

You must give your employer 4 weeks’ written notice of your intention to take maternity leave and also provide a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy.

Paternity leave entitlement: 0 days. Ireland does not recognise paternity leave. Receiving paternity leave is at the discretion of employers but they are under no legal obligation to grant leave or paid leave. There is however parental leave that employees can avail of.

 

Parental Responsibility

Helping your baby grow and develop will be immensely rewarding but remember that it bears a significant amount of responsibility. You’ll be responsible for:

–       Your child’s general wellbeing

–       Medical treatment

–       Represent them in legal proceedings

–       Form of religious upbringing

–       Where the child should go to school

It is important to nominate someone in your will to allocate as legal guardian of your child(ren) in the event of your death. Read 5 reasons why you should write a will.

 

Child Maintenance & Fees

Even if the father does not have parental responsibility, you have a legal duty to pay money towards your child’s maintenance. Maintenance is usually paid on a regular basis e.g. monthly by the parent who spends less time with the child(ren).

Maintenance is payable up to the child’s 18th birthday or up until they are 23 if in full time education. For more information on child maintenance see here. Here is a handy excel tool to calculate costs for your child courtesy of solo.ie

 

Custody of Child

Where the custody of the child is in dispute, the court will rule on in favour of the child’s welfare. There are six criteria evaluated when considering the child’s welfare:

  1. Religious welfare
  2. Moral welfare
  3. Intellectual welfare
  4. Physical welfare
  5. Social welfare
  6. Emotional welfare

 

Common Parents Questions

Is it legal to smack my child?

Yes once it doesn’t go beyond ‘reasonable chastisement’.

 

Is it legal for children to work?

For children under 14 no. For children 14 and above, there are a number of working restrictions that can be found here.

 

Is it illegal to take my child on holiday during school term time?

No, although is strongly opposed by the Government and schools.

 

Relevant Legislation and Further Reading

–       Children’s Act 2001

–       United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

–       Registrations of Birth Act, 1996

–       Parental Leave Act, 1988

–       Family Law (Divorce) Act, 1996

–       Adoption Act, 2010

–       Maternity Protection Act, 1994

 

Qualified family law legal advice is always advisable from your local solicitor.

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14 Key Tips For Moving House

14 Key Tips For Moving House

Moving House

Moving house is the third most stressful experience in life, following death and divorce. Interesting to note that life’s most stressful episodes all require legal help to prepare for. Bundling all your possessions into a vehicle and making the most expensive purchase of your life will be stressful there’s no doubt about it. Planning for it and being organised can help alleviate some of this stress. Here are 13 tips to

  1. Whether it’s a man with a van, a house removals company or a group of friends and family – you’re going to need help to move home. Pack wisely in boxes by labeling them and thinking which rooms they will go into in your new home. This will make the movers job easier and the joy of unpacking all your bits and pieces.
  2. Use up all your frozen food ahead of moving as it’s unlikely you’ll get to keep your food frozen on moving day.
  3. It might be worth having someone look after your pets during moving day since it can be a stressful day and making sure they are being looked after during all the commotion can help.
  4. Have your gas and electricity meters read on the day you’re moving out of your home as well as when you move into your new home and transfer them into your name at your new home.
  5. Organise to transfer your broadband, phone, TV and any other utilities. These usually take longer to set-up than other utilities.
  6. Insure your home until the day you’ve sold it regardless of whether you’ll be staying in it up until the day new owners take over it. Obviously when moving into your home it’s important to take out house insurance for your contents and to protect financially against the worst from happening.
  7. Update your TV license.
  8. Organise your bin collection with a waste collection company.
  9. Don’t forget to cancel the standing order/direct debit on your property’s mortgage. You should only cancel it before completion.
  10. Change details on the electoral roll.
  11. Cancel subscriptions or change your address with them. For example milk, vegtables, newspaper or something else you get delivered.
  12. Change your address with: The Revenue, Banks / Credit Unions, Health and Motor Insurance companies and other organisations you want to have your address.
  13. Here is a website that makes it easy to inform multiple organisations: http://www.newaddress.ie/
  14. Last but not least don’t forget to register for your property tax.

From a legal point of view, it’s crucial you secure your mortgage and ensure the contract covers all important issues and protects you. Using a solicitor is imperative in securing a new home. This area of law is known as conveyancing and is concerned with the transfer of legal title of property from one person to another.

Are you making a move soon? Choose your solicitor here on Legal Panda:  http://legalpanda.ie/find-solicitors

Bonus video – check out movers in Japan, it’s quite impressive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LakMmxg_sQg

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The Story Behind our Infographic Going Viral

The Story Behind our Infographic Going Viral

On the 5th of December, we launched an infographic dissecting the Irish Government’s 2013 Budget. The aim of the infographic was to provide an easy-to-digest graphical representation of the facts from the Budget while raising awareness of our own brand.

Why?

Our company Legal Panda was launched in October 2012 and we were looking for ways to increase our brand awareness in Ireland. Even though our core business is listing all solicitor practices in Ireland and being a destination for people in Ireland looking for legal help, we decided to use the event of the budget to try and gain as much awareness as possible surrounding our brand.

Success

We knew all eyes would be on the Irish Budget come the 5th of December. It’s probably one of the most covered annual news events. It also only takes two days before there is saturation coverage and interest in the topic drops off completely. Our strategy was simple. Create a well designed infographic that would explain the main points of the budget at a glance.

On the day we were up against six other budget themed infographics that were released. Deloitte, KBC Bank, PWC, Newstalk, Chartered Accountants Institute of Ireland and Sage all put their efforts into an infographic with the same data and same marketing goal.

A lot of these companies had financial credibility to support their infographic data, hired digital agencies, had extensive PR contacts and are household corporate names. Yet we managed to out market each of them.

The infographic went viral and has since been published in a newspaper, various news reporting sites, blogs, social networks and industry sites. In total we estimate it has been seen over 100,000 times (mostly in Ireland).

Here’s how we did it:

1. Preparation

We concepted the idea of doing an infographic for the 2013 Budget about a month before it was released. This gave us time to generate design ideas regarding the look and feel as well as how to layout the different pieces of information in order to get maximum impact and readability. In the weeks leading up to the Budget we had our ear to the ground listening to the leaks and speculation surrounding the budget. The information gathered during this period helped us refine our design on what to expect specifically allowing us to map out different design scenarios so we could be flexible on the day.

We chose to prepare long term static elements such as unemployment, GDP debt ratio and Budget Surplus data, which were all publicly available in advance of the budget. Including these types of information was able to give our final infographic more depth in what was an extremely fast turn-around time on the day.

2. Design and Concept

We did the entire project in-house. Drawing on my experience with Fi (Fantasy Interactive) I took on the responsibility myself to design, concept and execute the layout from start to finish. The main objective I tried to achieve was to translate the depressing figures into something that people could understand and looked good.

Inspired from reading Made to Stick, we knew we needed to pick a concrete image that could convey the abstract figure of €3.5 billion. The penny project came to mind, although we went for the grander option of making our calculations on €100 notes instead of pennies. We started to calculate how many pallets it would take to total €3.5 billion and we calculated each pallet could hold €100 million. From there we thought of how many pallets a forty foot container could hold and then used that as our centerpiece. Most sites who picked up the article seemed to use the 40 foot trailer analogy in their headline. The funniest comment we saw was: “great infographic but how can I find that truck?” :)

3. Timing

From reading the Sunday Business Post on the Sunday before the budget, we knew that KBC were planning to launch an infographic by 9pm on budget day. 8pm (or earlier) then became our deadline since we knew being first out was very important to becoming viral no matter how slick our graphic looked. The start of the Minister’s speech would kick off around 2pm and it would take him an hour to finish. I remember the actual day being very hectic, breathing in all the information the Minister was giving while updating all the speculated numbers and design elements we were using in our draft version with the real data. Timing was crucial. Competing against live blogs, Twitter, extended radio programmes, newspaper supplements and constant TV news coverage. It gets blanket news saturation on the day. For us, it was crucial to get in before KBC launched their infographic but also before people got fed up of hearing about the budget.

In the end we got ours out first and launched live on our site by 7pm.

4. PR Plan

By 7:03pm we had our first PR email sent out and by 7:05pm we had our last one out, about 20 in total. We also updated several social network accounts with updates about our graphic.

What was about 5 minutes of sending PR emails on the day, was days of research and preparation in the weeks beforehand. First we needed to decide where we could get published. We did some reverse engineering to see that Broadsheet, TheJournal, JOE, and a selection of other blogs and news sites had published infographics before. These were all good candidates by default to target again who might publish another infographic.

We found this out by doing an advanced search command: inurl:infographic site:.ie from this we trawled through sites that had published an infographic and were based in Ireland. We also looked at a handful of previous infographics and did a reverse image search on Google to see where they got mentioned before and added those to our hit list.

With our target sites ready to go, next what we did was research the appropriate journalist or blogger to contact. We did this by seeing who had covered the budget last year or had covered infographics or similar topics before on their site. Once we identified their name the next step was to get their email address. Using some guess work and verifying that with Rapportive we easily found most email addresses.

After the list was drawn up we wrote personalised emails and saved them as draft emails for each contact. This meant on the day there would be no customisation of the email needed and they could all be contacted and made aware of our infographic on Legal Panda in a couple of minutes.

5. SEO

To leverage all the PR attention, we knew we needed to make sure there was a link carried with the infographic wherever possible. To do this, we created an embed HTML code. Although this might seem standard to anyone familiar with infographics, without one you’re at risk of losing your hard work without any citation. This embed code makes it easy for bloggers to add to their own site. Sometimes even with an embed code people posted online without a link back. To handle this, we branded the infographic with Legal Panda strongly but didn’t overdo it. Using Google Image search we did a reverse lookup to see where people published our article with a link and followed up with a 100% success rate.

Conclusion

The number one goal for putting all the production effort into this strategy was to raise the awareness of Legal Panda as a company both online and offline. We wanted to keep our costs to a minimum while having maximum impact, a goal which is usually very hard to achieve as a new or established business. Of course there are many parts of the public and media engagement with our graphic that were not successful and did not go viral but overall we were very happy with the outcome.

I hope you enjoyed this transparent article and hopefully it helps anyone looking to get inspiration to do something similar. Feel free to drop a comment below with your thoughts.

Go raibh maith agat,

Stephen Martin

Link to Infographic: http://legalpanda.ie/budget-2013

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Legal Week: Drink Driving Permits, ‘Fran’ in Court and Judge’s Regret

Legal Week: Drink Driving Permits, ‘Fran’ in Court and Judge’s Regret

Peter Coonan

Credit: RTE

Kerry councillor  Danny Healy-Rae has been hitting headlines at home and abroad this week for his controversial proposal to allow elderly rural drivers a permit to drink drive. With almost one in three road traffic deaths involving alcohol, the proposals drew harsh criticism. Transport Minister Leo Varadkar was amongst the critics of the proposed law, which will now be put forward by Kerry County Council to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. Listen to the Healy-Rae defend his proposals here on YouTube.

 

Sean Quinn’s daughter has told the Commercial court that she has no records of how she spent the €379,000 from her Russian Bank account. Aoife Quinn, a law graduate, disclosed that the money was attributed to three Russian companies: Red Sector, Logistica and Finanstroy. Counsel for IRBC Paul Gallagher informed the court that a server at one of the companies had been destroyed with the components deliberately destroyed.

 

The Irish Independent reports on a landmark case that the family law division of the High Court is hearing involving a surrogate mother. The case has involved experts in genetics testifying in the case and had some reporting restrictions lifted by Mr. Justice Henry Abbott, one the country’s most senior Family Law judges. Normally all family law cases have a strict prohibition on reporting.

 

A high profile judicial error where Mr. Justice Paul Carney released a sexual abuser on bail has highlighted areas of criminal law in need of reform. The case drew widespread criticism and also invoked words of support from the Taoiseach for the victim involved in the case, Fiona Doyle. The pair are due to meet next week. Mr. Justice Carney, an experienced judge, had mistakenly given approval for appeal and expressed to Ms. Doyle his regret for the “distress that has been caused to her in this case”. Serial rapist Patrick O’ Brien had pleaded guilty to fifteen offences and was eventually sentenced to three years with immediate detention.

 

Separately, research by the Irish Sentencing Information System (ISIS) found that sentences for rape in Ireland are too lenient. A new database for sentencing will be available on: www.irishsentencing.ie It intends to inform the public, solicitors and judges on sentencing for various crimes. It will roll out public seminars.

 

Peter Coonan or Fran as he is known on the popular Love/Hate crime drama has been in court charged with four road traffic offenses. A witness in the case has alleged the actor performed a hit and run. The trial continues next week.

 

Paul Begley, a businessman sentenced for 6 years imprisonment for tax evasion relating to the importation of garlic has had his sentence set aside with appeal judges saying that his sentence should be shorter. Three judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) ruled that his sentence should be shorter. The CCA ruled that the Circuit Court erred in not taking into account the mitigating factors pleaded on Begley’s behalf.

 

Brendan MacNamara, a former partner in Devitt, Doorley and MacNamara has been struck off for operating what was “effecitvely a Ponzi scheme” according to evidence provided by Seán Guerin, for the Law Society. No misconduct findings were made against either of the two other partners at a solicitor’s disciplinary tribunal in 2011. At that hearing, MacNamara was ordered to pay €12,000 initially but Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns sought to go beyond this as he felt this wasn’t adequate.

 

Three people have been arrested for human trafficking as Gardai undertook a number of searches in Dublin, Dundalk and Athlone during the week. The raids took place as part of Operation Quest in liaison with Europol, Interpol, the PSNI and a number of other organisations.

 

A Taxi Regulation Bill has been introduced to ban drivers with manslaughter, murder, rape convictions and shorter bans for lesser crimes. The bill has a penalty points system also.

 

Victims of the Thalidomide drug have launched cases against the High Court and against the manufacturer Chemie Grünenthal. It was given to pregnant mothers in the 1950’s as an antidote to morning sickness and sleeplessness. It was aggressively marketed in 46 countries and by 1959, early reports indicated it was toxic. Babies were born with severe foetal damage. Despite the evidence, for years the company battled accusations and the Irish Government also failed to act quickly enough in removing the drug from the Irish market.

 

The IDA is paying the legal fees of a family during hearings into the compulsory purchase order of 40 hectares of land beside Intel’s Leixlip plant.

 

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Legal Week: Lance Armstrong Lawsuits, Saddam Son Body Double for Citizenship

Legal Week: Lance Armstrong Lawsuits, Saddam Son Body Double for Citizenship

LanceArmstrong

Lance Armstrong’s confession on Oprah’s show during mid week was a landmark moment in the cyclist’s career. Finally admitting to the allegations of doping has opened up the 7-time Tour De France winner to lawsuits. Some of the cases will be launched directly against Armstrong while others may be indirectly at him through his various business interests (flow chart). Armstrong himself had launched lawsuits in the past to silence his critics and is now facing several legal threats:

  • SCA Promotions: The insurer who covered the bonuses paid out to the Texan are seeking a return of $12 million. SCA lawyer Jeff Tillotson told BBC news that he believes that Armstrong’s interview with Oprah equates to proving “he had committed perjury in our legal proceedings in the US”.
  • Sunday Times: Armstrong won a libel action against the British paper 9 years ago, following a critical piece by cycling journalist David Walsh. The Times are now seeking to sue the disgraced rider for £1 million.
  • Whistleblower/US Government: Floyd Landis, former teammate of Lance Armstrong reportedly filed a lawsuit in 2010 against him and the U.S. Postal Service cycling team officials. The suit remains sealed, under the U.S. False Claims Act, which allows a citizen to sue on behalf of the government. The Department of Justice is rumoured to be joining the suit. A decision on whether to focus on Armstrong or Tailwind Sports the company that signed the contracts on behalf of the riders.  This could be in the region of $60 to $80 million in fines and damages.
  • International Cycling Union: The governing body for the Tour De France is likely to pursue Armstrong for the $4 million in prize money.
  • Tour Down Under: South Australian Premier Jay Weatherhill has said that are “more than willing” to request Armstrong to return the several million dollars in fees he earned for appearing on the Australian cycling tour.
  • Speaking Gigs: Commanding up to $200,000 in speaking fees, there are likely to be a number of organisations who commissioned Armstrong to speak at a function who could possibly seek a return of funds.

The Government is planning to publish thirty Bills by the end of April. A detailed breakdown on each can be found here on TheJournal.

The preliminary inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar has taken place. The case has drawn massive public interest due to the fact that Savita was refused an abortion on legal grounds. The initial findings reported that Savita did have her request for an abortion formally documented by the Hospital.

MEPs in Brussels are urging the EU Commission to draft rules for carry-on luggage for air travel.  Amid inconsistency in the enforcement of rules relating to hand luggage, MEPs are seeking to have a transparent process where every airport in the EU has consistent policies.

The Philippines has signed a controversial law into effect allowing more access to contraception and sexual education. The predominantly Catholic country (80%) faced strong objections from the church before the law was passed. Like Ireland, the Philippines also has a ban on abortions. See a world map on abortion laws: http://www.worldabortionlaws.com/map/

As reported last week, MS Sufferer Marie Fleming had her case for euthanasia rejected by the High Court. Now Fleming will take her course to the Supreme Court to appeal the ruling.  The former UCD lecturer has argued that the current law is incompatible with European Convention on Human Rights.

The master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan has cast doubts about the proposed system for assessing costs. Honohan stated that the system doesn’t allow him to take into account economic conditions and the law “must be clarified”.

The Legal Aid Board has seen a surge in demand for its services. At the end of last year up to 5,000 people were awaiting for an appointment with a solicitor with wait times up to 12 months.  Chief executive of the board Dr. Moling Ryan has said demand has doubled between 2006 and 2011 and are at their limits of their €32 million budget. There is a possibility that the legal aid fees of €10 for advice and €50 for representation may need to be increased although this would be a decision only Minister for Justice Alan Shatter could make.

A Cork solicitor, who claimed to be a partner in a firm of solicitors when giving an undertaking to a bank for a loan, has been struck off the roll of solicitors. Greg Casey was restricted to operating as an assistant solicitor at the time of purchasing the land in Cork.

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen is expected to make a complaint to the Press Ombudsman relating to a breach of his constitutional right to privacy. The case could be a landmark ruling relating to how the media report on high profile figures in Ireland. Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has already stated he intends to revisit the Privacy Bill in light of the Kate Middleton photos being published in the Irish Mail on Sunday.

In light of the HMV administration, there have been calls to improve the legislation relating to the status of gift vouchers. Currently the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said that “holders of gift vouchers are unsecured creditors, and rank after other creditors such as the Revenue and employees”, with no plans to alter this in company law.

Saddam Hussein’s son’s body double Latif Yahia has had his application for citizenship rejected twice. After an 11 year quest to become an Irish Citizen following his marriage to an Irish woman and having a child here is waiting 5 years for a decision on his third application. Yahia claims the CIA have passed on allegations to the Special Branch that he is an arms dealer, a claim he denies. These allegations are what he believes are preventing him from receiving his documentation. Another factor that could be delaying his decision is past criticism of former Justice Minister Michael McDowell.

Following the discovery that horse meat was present in the production of beef burgers, there is the potential of a multi-million euro lawsuit been taken by the food producers against the suppliers of the mislabeled meat.

Legal Week: Circus Worker Compensation, EU Justice Summit & Garda Whistleblower

Legal Week: Circus Worker Compensation, EU Justice Summit & Garda Whistleblower

GardaStation

Credit: William Murphy

The 100 Garda closures announced in the Budget are due to take place by the end of this month according to the Sunday Independent. They come at a time of increasing levels of burglaries in rural Ireland by gangs travelling around the country.

 

The Department of the Taoiseach has confirmed that the Personal Insolvency Service will have 8 Circuit Court judges and 80 staff with an intended launch date of the end of March. The PIS will help deal with Ireland’s outdated bankruptcy system by giving individuals the option entering into a statutory debt resolution process or declare bankruptcy. Approximately 3,000 to 4,000 applications are expected to be received in the first year.

 

Writing in this weeks Sunday Business Post, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter outlines some key areas he’s seeking to address when over 50 EU justice, home affairs and interior ministers arrive in Dublin. The Justice Minister discussed the importance of data protection for debate during the European Presidency. The “right to be forgotten” online where one wishes for their personal data to no longer be processed is a proposal up for discussion. Violation of such a rule could then result in fines for firms of up to €1 million. There is also the prospect of a EU wide Data Protection Agency, an area in which Ireland is a leader in how it deals with the rules governing data storage and processing. Minister Shatter also discussed harmonisation of EU laws in relation to criminal assets along the lines of Ireland’s Criminal Asset Bureau (CAB).

 

Barrister Fr. Brendan Leahy has been appointed Bishop of Limerick diocese. Bishop Leahy was called to the bar in 1983.

 

In a letter sent to the Ombudsman for Children, a Garda whistleblower has claimed that in the Pulse system there are hundreds of children some as young as six years old listed as suspected offenders. According to the Children’s Act the age of criminal responsibility of 10 years old for serious offences such as rape and murder or 12 years and over for less serious crime. The Garda has also raised concern about: penalty point terminations, not following up on dangerous driving/no insurance cases, serious incidents not investigated properly and deletion of dat from Pulse to hide malpractice. The letter claims that Children are entered into the system to boost detection rates. A Data Protection Commission Report is due to be published detailing their findings of a Garda audit in the Pulse system.

 

Three days of Oireachtas committee meetings heard several contributions regarding proposed abortion legislation. Dr. Rhona Mahony, master of the National Maternity Hospital, said “if a woman is critically ill and it’s very obvious she is likely to die and she will be saved by intervening and treating her, and that treatment involves interrupting or terminating a pregnancy, we will not hesitate to do so”.

 

MS sufferer Marie Fleming has lost her legal fight to be able to lawfully take her own life with the assistance of her family in her own home. Fleming was awarded court costs as this was deemed to be of exceptional public importance.

 

A circus worker has been awarded €27,000 by the Labour Court for underpayment of the minimum wage over a 5 year period by Circus Gerbola. Morrocan man El Mostafa Chtabbou claimed he had worked 9am to 9pm everyday with a one hour break. Kevin Duffy, chairman of the Labour Court instead calculated Chtabbou worked an average of 50 when considering testimony from Tara Gerbola, founder of the circus. Chtabbou had also lodged a claim of unfair dismissal against his former employers. However the firm has now ceased trading, which means it won’t meet its obligations for to pay the compensation.

 

The High Court has ruled that a Cork solicitor who acted on behalf of a company that went into liquidation is entitled to fees they earned for debt collection work. Barry C Galvin & Son were due €50,000 for debt collection services provided to Tadhg O’ Conaill Heating & Plumbing Ltd. The liquidator, Anthony Fitzpatrick, claimed that Galvin would be entitled to funds as an unsecured creditor only but Mr. Justice Gilligan ruled in favour of Galvin in awarding the fees due prior to the firm being wound up.

 

Senior executives from Twitter, Facebook and Google will be called before the Oireachtas communications committee, which is considering whether new laws should be introduced to cope with the rise of cyber bullying. Following several high profile cases of suicides after cyberbullying there is growing demand to protect those from being bullied and also prosecute those responsible.

 

Publican Sean Doyle, a former director of the Thomas Reed group is facing legal action from Llyods bank for between €60 and €70 million over loans he borrowed. Llyods are seeking to move the case from the High Court to the Commercial Court in order to speed up the case. Doyle’s portfolio was once valued at €180 million at the peak of its value. Lloyds have stated recently that two thirds of it’s £24.8 billion loan book in Ireland was unlikely to be paid back in full.
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Legal Week: Gun Reform in US, Sean Quinn Out For Xmas and Corruption Index

Legal Week: Gun Reform in US, Sean Quinn Out For Xmas and Corruption Index

Credit: Mike Saechang

Credit: Mike Saechang

This week is our last Legal Week of the year. We take a look at what made the headlines in the past 7 days and featured in the Sunday Times, Sunday Business Post and Sunday Independent. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers.

Greenstar Sued for 3 Million

A Kildare civil engineering and site development company, CLM is suing Greenstar over it’s liabilities in the restoration, remediation and aftercare of landfill sites in Meath and Galway.

 

Anglo Case Delayed Due to Sean Fitzpatrick Arrest

The Ernst & Young vs. Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) court case is set to be delayed pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against former Anglo chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick. Due to the overlapping issues between the cases, it is understood that the DPP will seek to have the case postponed as has been requested for the Quinn vs. IBRC case.

 

Gun Laws in America

After the Sandy Hook tragedy, pressure is building in America to make reforms to gun laws. Demand a Plan has drawn on the support of celebrities to sway law makers and public opinion to ban the sale of assault weapons. Obama has given VP Joe Biden responsibility for leading a group to identify specific proposals.

 

Surrogate Parents Seek Legal Rights

A married couple are to ask the High Court to amend the birth certificate of their twins who were born to a surrogate mother. Despite the children being genetically of the parents, the General Register Office (GRO) has refused to record them as the parents. Irish clinics have since stopped allowing surrogate pregnancies due to a lack of legal clarity.

 

Newstalk to be Sued for Libel

Lucinda Creighton has filed a high court defamation case against Newstalk radio. The case is in relation to the misreporting of the amount the junior mInister for European Affairs had to pay developer Michael O’ Flynn in a libel action.

 

National Anthem, Amhran Na bhFiann, Copyright Set to Expire

The Soldier’s Song penned by Peader Kearney in 1907 is due to run out of its copyright. The government who purchased rights in 1933 are now facing the 70 year copyright protection mark. Despite requests from a rapper and concerns about it being used in advertisements, the Department of Finance have stated they won’t let the copyright expire and it will remain our national anthem.

 

Denis O’ Brien Threatens to Sue Press over Links to Corruption Index

The Irish Times and Transparency International (TI) are being threatened with legal action over their publication of a statement linking Ireland’s fall in an international corruption-perception index to the Moriarty Tribunal.

 

Garda Abuse Probe Yields No Legal Action

A Garda investigation into its own members’ failure to pursue child sexual abuse by priests is finishing up without any file being sent to the DPP (Department of Public Prosecutions). The Garda investigation was initiated on the back of the Murphy report being published detailing the abuse complaints of the Cloyne diocese in Co. Cork.

 

Sean Quinn Out of Prison For Christmas

Sean Quinn Snr. was granted temporary release from prison over the festive period. The factors considered were Quinn’s age, previous good behaviour, behaviour in custody, and the long-term health difficulties of himself and his wife.

 

High Court Strikes Off 5 Nurses

Stealing money from patients, misappropriating money and medication, professional misconduct, physical assault, unfitness to engage in nursing (“by reason of physical or a mental disability”) and sexual assault were some of the reasons why 5 nurses have been struck off by the high court. Included in the list was Gráinne Conway the Leas Cross Nursing home director.
Legal Week: IRFU Watch TV Rights, Bill Cullen Judgement and Bestiality Sentence

Legal Week: IRFU Watch TV Rights, Bill Cullen Judgement and Bestiality Sentence

Irish RugbyThis week we look at what big stories made the headlines with a legal twist. We looked at The Irish Times, Sunday Independent, Sunday Business Post and Business Plus.

Penalty Points

Last year’s top ten penalty points according to Business Plus were:
1. Speeding – 199,190
2. Mobile Phone – 27,000
3. Safety belt – 8,250
4. Traffic Lights
5. Driving without consideration – 3,780
6. Insurance – 2,740
7. NCT cert – 2,130
8. White lines – 1,880
9. Traffic signs – 1,780
10. Safety belt (child) – 920

Appeal for Sean Quinn to be Freed for Christmas

Sean Quinn’s daughter, local parish priest and solicitor have all written to the Mountjoy prison governor to appeal for temporary release of the former billionaire from December 22nd to 27th.

Health Minister Facing Legal Claims

James Reilly is facing legal proceedings over a nursing home investment. This comes after he was named in Stubbs Gazette in July with €1.9m debts. The action is being taken by Dr. Dillip Jondhale along with his wife.

Lottery Sale May be Delayed Due to Legal Claims

As the government aims to raise €600m with the sale of the Lottery. Rehab Group is objecting to the sale and now resulting in a judicial review.

Bill Cullen Hit With €8.2m Judgement

The former Apprentice boss and car dealer, Bill Cullen, has a €8.2m judgement registered against him in Stubbs Gazette.

Ernst & Young Facing Deceit Lawsuit

Former Anglo auditors Ernst & Young are facing claims of “deceit” and “negligence” over its oversight of a hedge fund in a UK fraud probe. The accounting firm responded by pointing out that it relies on the honesty of management and that the directors of the fund had already been found guilty of “wilful neglect in their responsibilities to the fund”. This case comes after Anglo have launched a case against E&Y last month.

Ryanair in Negotiations with BA to get EU approval

In a bid to win sway with the EU over their merger bid for Aer Lingus, Ryanair has made agreements with British Airways and Flybe to allow them to have some Aer Lingus slots at Dublin airport. For more, read our Three Time’s a Charm for Ryanair.

Limited Abortion Law Expected

Legislation is expected to be introduced for abortion where a mother’s life is threatened, including by suicide, in line with the X case ruling.

Law Awards

The irish law awards have been announced for January 22nd. Nominations are now being accepted and more information is available on http://www.irishlawawards.ie

IRFU Watches EU Court Case on TV Rights

The IRFU said it will be closely monitor a judgement from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that could pave the way for free-to-air matches involving Irish teams include Six Nations and Heineken Cup. The IRFU receives €16 million in TV rights, which accounts for 24% of its revenue and going free-to-air is something it strongly opposes.

Survey Reveals Attitudes Towards Solicitors

A survey carried out by Amárach research on behalf of Smith and & Williamson, showed that just 7% percent of people think solicitors offer value for money. When asked would you trust a solicitor, there was mixed results with 38% saying yes and 36% no.

Ireland to Appeal ECJ Fines

Fines of approximately €10 million are due by Ireland for breaches of EU environmental law. The Irish government is now stating that the laws have been passed so no fine should be paid. The government also states that the calculation for the fine doesn’t take into account Ireland’ position as a result of the economic situation.

Personal Injuries Awards to be Paid in Regular Instalments

Changes are set to come into affect in how claimants of personal injuries are paid. Currently compensations is mostly paid in lump sums but this usually results in overpayment or underpayment according to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

Doctor Cleared of Deception Charges

Paschal Carmody, the Clare GP, has been cleared of obtaining money by deception from families of two terminally ill cancer patients. This was the third trial for the doctor after the first trial’s jury couldn’t decide and the second one had media reporting issues.

Youth Sex Offender Jailed

A 17 year old who had sex with a 15 year old has been registered as a sex offender and jailed. Although the young man pleaded ignorance to the law, the judge handed down a two year sentence with the final 18 months suspended.

Bestiality Sentence

A man who organised for a woman to engage in an act of bestiality with his dog has been given a 3 year suspended jail sentence. The woman died hours after she committed a sexual act with the German shepherd type dog.

Woman Awarded 170,000 over Loss of Baby

Fiona Ni Chonchubhair has been awarded €170,000 after the HSE admitted liability for not having an ambulance stocked with the necessary blood when she suffered internal bleeding at 32 weeks through her pregnancy. During a 70 mile trip lasting two hours their son Aodh was eventually stillborn after the necessary blood was not available for a transfusion in the ambulance. 

Irish Family Guilty of Forced Labour of Vulnerable Men

5 wealthy Irish traveller family members were found guilty of forcing dozen of homeless men into labour working for £1 an hour, badly housed and beaten in an English court. The case related to a period stretching back for the past 20 years. The case was difficult as most men did not believe they were victims and had become institutionalised.

Dunnes Petition Withdrawn after €21.6m Paid

A shopping centre that has gone into NAMA, has been paid a fee of €21.6m by the retail firm after a petition was issued to wind up the firm for non-payment after a commercial court order. Holtgen belatedly received the fee after Dunnes was due to pay the fee for the Ferrybank shopping centre development.
Legal Week: Budget 2013, Rolls Royce Bribe Claims and Record Companies vs. ISPs

Legal Week: Budget 2013, Rolls Royce Bribe Claims and Record Companies vs. ISPs

Rolls Royce Logo

Credit: Maikel Rai

Budget

First off, we had a very busy week here at Legal Panda after our infographic on Budget 2013 went viral. Thanks to all who tweeted, blogged, liked, shared, plus one’d, and emailed it on.

Property Tax

The new property tax means it must be paid in full before a house sale is completed. Conveyancing solicitors will need to ensure the tax is paid up to date to avoid unnecessary expense for the buyer.

O’ Brien & Lowry

The cabinet have supported a proposal to try and make Denis O’ Brien and Michael Lowry liable in the event of any award of damages arising a case being taken by the losers of a failed bid for the 1995 mobile phone license competition.

Debt Forgiveness

Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter has called on banks to adopt the same approach as AIB in offering debt forgiveness to customers who are under enormous financial pressure and in reality insolvent.

Assisted Suicide

Marie Fleming has began her legal battle to secure permission for her husband to assist her legally in suicide to help alleviate terrible physical and mental suffering. Under Irish law a person can face up to 14 years in prison for assisting or helping procure the suicide of another.

Medical Negligence €438,000 Hysterectomy Award

A woman has received €438,000 after a judge ruled that an obstetrician had been negligent in undertaking a hysterectomy of Cynthia Kelly in 2008. €200,000 was awarded for past and future pain while €225,000 was awarded for loss of earnings and €13,184 in special damages.

Couple Guilty in Unlawful Killing

Jonathan Costen and Eleanor Joel were convicted by a jury in Wexford of unlawful killing after they “just got fed up” looking after Eleanor’s mother Evelyn Joel. The pair had neglected to care for Evelyn Joel and when she was admitted to hospital was profoundly ill when admitted to hospital. Sentencing will take place in February.

Penalty Points

Allegations have been made of thousands of people including current Gardai, former Gardai, celebrities and members of the judiciary who have been let off from penalty points appearing on their driving licenses. Garda commissioner Martin Callinan has rejected naming those accused pending an internal investigation.

Same-Sex Marriage in UK

Facing a revolt from conservatives, prime minister, David Cameron has announced legislation to make way for gay marriage. Within this, churches will not be forced to sanctify gay marriage under equality laws or by a challenge to the European Court of Human Rights.

Record Companies Pursue ISPs

EMI, Warner Music, Sony and Universal have issued legal proceedings against UPC, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb and Hutchison 3G to clamp down on file sharing.

Drug Dealer in Alleged Collusion with Garda

A convicted drugs trafficker, Kieran Boylan, had 100 calls exchanged with a senior Garda when his phone was seized in prison. A report on collusion between Boylan and Gardai is due to be published this week after being sent to the DPP, Garda headquarters and Department of Justice.  Drug charges had been dropped against Boylan after he claimed he would reveal extra-judicial operations in court if he stood trial.
Boylan had helped set up rivals to get free rein from Gardai.

BAI Faces Libel Lawsuit

A lawsuit may be go ahead against the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) after it criticised a report on the Frontline programme by Rob Morrison and Steve Carson. Morrison accused the BAI of damaging his professional reputation.

Denis O’ Brien Sues His Cousin

Denis O’ Brien is set to sue his US based cousin, Don MacAllister in a messy family dispute. McAllister has emailed politicians in Ireland, Burma (where O’ Brien is bidding for a telecoms license), and Jamaica trying to petition lawmakers. The dispute between the pair stretches back to when MacAllister’s mother was killed in a car crash involving Michael Smurfit and Smurfit later invested seed capital in O’ Brien to build a business. Smurfit was fully exonerated of wrongdoing by Gardai and O’ Brien rejects the claims. He’s now pursuing MacAllister while his cousin based in California is seeking cash he claims is owed to him from investments in Digicel.

O’ Reilly Versus O’ Reilly

Emily O’ Reilly, ombudsman, has criticised James O’ Reilly for his department’s failure to implement the Equality Act claiming his stance was “an unequivocal statement that the law is optional” and claimed the Department of Health had a long history of carelessness about the law.

Rolls-Royce Bribe Claims

Rolls-Royce is facing claims of bribing a former indonesian president’s son with $20 million in order to win a contract with airline Garuda to supply their engines. Tommy Suharto was convicted in 2002 of ordering the murder of a judge. The engineering firm is likely to face further investigations and could be liable for a heavy fine from the Department of Justice if found guilty.

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Irish Budget 2013 – Infographic

Irish Budget 2013 – Infographic

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Today another tough budget has been announced for 2013 by Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin. It’s a tough budget trying to get a grip on the country’s finances aiming to reign in Government spending and increase taxes to attempt to balance our books. There’s still a considerable deficit running at about 8.2% of GDP but overall as a nation we’re in much better shape than just a few years ago with regards to our finances. If you focus on other metrics such as unemployment rate you will see they tell a different story that show we’re still in bad shape, so it’s important to understand the context this budget was made in.

Below we are bringing you a cutting edge infographic of the Irish Budget 2013 which you can view to get an easily digestible graphic of the main talking points of this years budget and most importantly understand what new taxes have been announced and where spending has been cut.

If you found this infographic helpful, please remember to share it using the links below or you can always embed it in your own site using our embed button.

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How has the budget affected you or what are your thoughts? We’ve love to hear from you in the comments below. Don’t forget if you found this useful to share around using the icons below.

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