Government asks Law Reform Commission to report on legality of economic sanctions

Monday 22 July 2013 23.17
The Government is also asking the Law Reform Commission to examine and report on mechanisms for compliance and enforcement
The Government is also asking the Law Reform Commission to examine and report on mechanisms for compliance and enforcement

The Government is to ask the Law Reform Commission to report on legal difficulties surrounding the imposition of sanctions for enforcement of economic regulation.

The Government has issued a new policy statement on economic regulation.

It says efforts to introduce administrative sanctions for enforcement and compliance similar to those seen in other jurisdictions are "severely restricted by the Constitutional provisions around the administration of justice".

It also states that this issue is becoming increasingly problematic when it comes to transposing EU law in Ireland.

The Government is also asking the Law Reform Commission to examine and report on mechanisms for compliance and enforcement.

As part of the new strategy, ministers will also be mandated to conduct a review of regulation of energy, water, aviation and other sectors every seven years.

In addition, economic regulators will have to produce strategy statements at least every three years, as well as output statements and annual reports.

According to the strategy, the Government views the promotion of the consumer interest and national competitiveness as key national objectives to be prioritised by sectoral departments.

The framework defines "consumer interest" as meaning providing business and residential end users with sustainable, competitively priced access to quality services, while also providing a sustainable level of long-term investment.

The core principles for economic regulation will include effectiveness, predictability, accountability and transparency, and will aim to prioritise and balance national and sectoral level objectives.

The new framework will also allow the Government to set national policy objectives, while allowing relevant departments to establish a hierarchy of objectives that must then be implemented.

The statement notes that different regulatory sectors have different appeals mechanisms, saying little consensus emerged during the consultation process on the type of reform required.

It says ministers and their departments will have lead responsibility for the implementation of the components of the strategic framwork for economic regulation relating to their sector.

The new Government strategy also aims to drive further efficiencies by increased use of shared services.

It highlights the need to build expertise within regulatory bodies through training and other measures.