The Government has released details of Bills it intends to publish during the current Dáil session which runs until the end of this year. It has also released a list of Bills which are currently being drafted and are expected to appear in early 2012.
Some of the more notable Bills planned for the current session include:
- The Competition (Penalties and Sanctions) Bill – to strengthen the effective enforcement of competition law in Ireland;
- The Central Bank (Regulation of Credit Unions) Bill - to provide for a strengthened regulatory framework for credit unions including effective governance and stabilisation requirements;
- The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill - to give effect to the Government's reform proposals concerning statutory wage setting mechanisms and to address issues arising in the context of the outcome of the recent High Court challenge to the JLC system;
- The Temporary Agency Workers Bill - to give effect to the Directive on Temporary Agency Work. It will also give equal treatment to temporary agency workers in terms of basic working and employment conditions;
- The Temporary Partial Credit Guarantee Bill - to introduce a temporary (three year) partial credit guarantee scheme, designed to target specific market failures that prevent bank lending to some commercially viable businesses by providing a level of guarantee to banks against losses on qualifying loans to job-creating firms;
- The Landlord and Tenant (Business Leases Review) Bill - to give effect to the commitment in the Programme for Government in relation to upward rent reviews claims in business leases; and
- The Human Rights and Equality Commission Bill - to replace the existing Equality Authority and Human Rights Commission with a new amalgamated structure.
Bills of significance planned for the next Dáil session in 2012 include the Companies Bill which is expected to be published in late 2012. A draft of Part A of this Bill was published earlier this year and the second part is currently being drafted. The Bill aims to bring greater clarification and simplification to Irish company law through modernisation and the consolidation of the existing 15 Company Law Acts, related regulations and case law.
Another Bill of significance planned for early 2012 is the Consumer and Competition Bill which aims to amalgamate the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority and to give effect to other changes to competition and consumer law, including making provision for a statutory code of conduct for the grocery goods sector.
The Industrial and Provident Societies and Friendly Societies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is also planned for early 2012. This will introduce a number of regulatory improvements for co-operative societies.
The Mediation and Conciliation Bill is also expected during 2012. This Bill will implement certain recommendations of the Law Reform Commission. Along with the recent new High Court rules on mediation and conciliation (S.I. No. 502 of 2010), this Bill should serve to heighten public awareness, as well as that of legal practitioners, of the availability of ADR as an effective means of resolving disputes.
Following the bankruptcy reform provisions in the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011, a Personal Insolvency Bill to provide for a new framework for settlement and enforcement of debt and for personal insolvency is due to be published during the first quarter of 2012. This is required under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland.
Notably, the planned Collective Investment Schemes Consolidation Bill which will consolidate and update current collective investment scheme legislation does not have an estimated publication date and the framework has not yet been agreed by Government.