Local Law Firm Achieves National Win

March 31, 2016

Published in North County Leader – 22nd March 2016
moore streetThe 1916 Relatives Group has secured a victory in the High Court and halted the destruction of the Moore Street battlefield site. The Relatives’ group was represented by Swords based solicitors, Hennessy Perrozzi, who described the decision as a ‘monumental day for Ireland’.
Speaking to the County Leader after the decision in favour of the relatives was made, John Hennessy of Hennessy Perozzi Solicitors said, “This is a wonderful result for the Relatives’ Group, which took me by surprise. There were three cases, including two planning decisions.” Hennessy spoke about how his involvement in this landmark case came about. “I was approached by the relatives’ group, in particular Jim Connolly Heron, who is the great grandson of executed leader, James Connolly and a few other people involved in the Save Moore Street 1916 campaign. This has been going on for years. Originally the State didn’t want to make any part of Moore Street, a national monument. A lot of campaigning was carried out by people like Jim Connolly Heron, and others who are mainly relatives of those involved in 1916, Number 16 Moore Street was where Padraig Pearse surrendered to the British Army. “In 2008, the Minister for Arts and Culture decided to make numbers 14 to 17 Moore Street, including number 16, a national monument. My clients’ position had always been that the entirety of Moore Street, as well as Moore Lane and Henry Place should be declared a Battlefield site. It is the last urban battlefield site in Europe and it should be saved, they repeatedly asked successive Ministers to consider this and each one refused, saying that it is not a battle site and that it doesn’t qualify as a national monument.
Hennessy continued, “I was approached when the political campaigned had failed and the legal angle was the only one left. I wrote a letter last October to the Minister and set out that my clients wanted the area from the GPO to Moore Street to be declared a Battlefield Site and I set out why,” said Hennessy. The Minister, Heather Humphries came back and said it was a moot point, but I asked her to look at the Interpretation Act 2005. We pointed out that the decision taken by the State regarding 14-17 Moore Street was unauthorised and we sought clarification. The case went on for four weeks. There were 40 affidavits exchanged and we finally got the decision we were looking for,” said a delighted Hennessy.
“The decision essentially found completely in favour of my client,” he said. “This is one the most significant planning decisions for national monuments in the history of the state on a par with the Wood Quay decision. The ramifications of this decision will be felt for many years to come. From a purely legal point of view, it has consequences for anyone who wants to challenge the State on its decisions. Secondly, it actually changes the face of Dublin city centre and makes history by changing the State’s original plan, which was to build a huge shopping centre here. In my view, it puts a completely different shape on what this area will look like in the future. It turns this type of planning decisions on it’s head. It’s an unbelievable and brilliant day for us all and I’m really proud to have been associated with it,” concluded an overjoyed Hennessy.
The decision has also been welcomed by Sinn Fein, whose spokesperson said, “Sinn Fein welcomes the decision and regrets that it took a private citizen to force the state to listen to the call of the relatives of those who fought and died in the 1916 Rising and the supporters of the campaign to have the street and its environs protected and restored as a fitting tribute to the courageous men and women who took to those streets in Easter Week 1916.”

Legal Services Regulation Bill

January 17, 2012

By Omar Perrozzi

There has been much debate in the media about the Legal Services Regulation Bill published by the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter. It does seem to me that whilst there are welcome reforms in the bill, much of the proposed legislation will primarily have a detrimental effect on the public’s access to justice as opposed to reforming the legal profession.

The clear benefits of the bill are the greater transparency in relation to the manner in which legal costs are agreed between Solicitor and Client (or determined in the absence of agreement) and the revised complaints process being more independent of the law society.

It is important that we distinguish the ideal of reforming the legal profession and the removal of the independence of the legal profession. The bill provides for the creation of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority and it is the powers conferred on the authority being subject to Ministerial approval is what has caused most consternation among lawyers.

According to the provisions of the bill, the Government appoints and may remove members of the Regulatory Authority. The Government determines the term of office, remuneration and expenses of the members of the authority. The Minister for Justice is to be kept informed by the authority of developments in relation to the provision of legal services.

The Minister is afforded the right to approve the appointment of consultants or advisors to the Regulatory Authority. The Minister is allowed to direct the content and form of the annual report to be published by the Regulatory Authority. Ministerial consent is required for the authority to amend, revoke or withdraw approval for a code of practice or professional code. It is the potential for Governmental scrutiny and influence that could potentially affect the public’s right to assert their individual rights against the State.

The bill does not just affect the legal profession. Almost 50% of court cases have a statutory body involved so the bill affects every citizen in this jurisdiction seeking to assert their individual rights through the court process. The question which the Minister needs to address is how to allow the Courts the independent ability to judicially review the decision of a statutory body when a member of that statutory body has made a decision due to the fear of dismissal because the Government states that they have formed that particular opinion.

Reform of the legal profession is necessary. The removal of the independence of the legal profession is hazardous. A recent publication of the law society of Ireland quotes the former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Warren Burger:

“The very independence of the lawyer from the government on the one hand and the client on the other hand is what makes law a profession. It is as critical to our system of justice as the independence of judges themselves.”

Hennessy & Perrozzi Solicitors • Burgundy House, Forster Way, Swords, Co Dublin, Ireland
• Phone: 01-8901888 • Fax: 01-8901904 • DX: 91 012 SWORDS •
© Hennessy & Perrozzi Solicitors 2012

*In contentious business, a Solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.