Thursday, October 06, 2011

Travellers - Clare, Equal Status Act

In 2008 I blogged about a complex case in County Clare concerning travellers bringing claims under the Equal Status Act 2000.

Thanks to Stare Decisis Hibernia, I see that High Court judgment was issued in July - Clare County Council v Director of Equality Investigations [2011] IEHC 303.
The Council made various complaints about ongoing Equality Tribunal hearings, e.g. that the claim forms submitted were not adequately completed. Hedigan J. refused various orders sought by the Council and allowed the hearings to proceed. Hedigan J. stated: "In establishing the Equality Tribunal, the Oireachtas did not intend to create a complex system of adversarial decision-making. The procedures before the respondents are not to have the formality of a court case."

Hedigan J. appeared to approve of the call-over system which was used to establish which claimants wished to proceed with their cases. He also emphasised that the claimants were entitled to be respresented by a non-lawyer (Ms Heather Rosen) and that "allowances must be made for the fact that lay persons and representatives do not articulate complaints in the same way as professionally qualified advocates".

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