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Justice Plan 2023 Published Today.

  • Justice Plan 2023 outlines over 140 headline actions to continue building stronger, safer communities.
  • Contains updated actions in areas such as policing, anti-social behaviour, DSGBV, civil law, immigration and family law.
  • Builds on work already completed or progressed under previous Justice Plans 2021 and 2022.

Minister for Justice Mr Simon Harris and Minister of State Mr James Browne have today published Justice Plan 2023, outlining over 140 actions to continue building stronger, safer communities.

The Plan, which was recently brought to government, can be read HERE.

Justice Plan 2023 is the third in a series of annual plans, building on the work already delivered under Justice Plans 2021 and 2022, which were published by Minister McEntee. The annual justice plans contain objectives and actions to deliver on the strategic goals set out in the Department of Justice’s Statement of Strategy 2021-2023, which are focused on ensuring a safe, fair and inclusive Ireland.

To ensure that progress on delivery of actions under the Justice Plan is measurable and transparent, the Department is committed to publishing two reports on progress against the Plan annually, mid-year and at the end of the year.

As was also the case with the previous Plans, actions contained within Justice Plan 2023 are grouped within five overarching strategic goals:

1. Tackle crime, enhance national security and transform policing.

Actions under this goal include:

  • Support the landmark Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas to enactment.
  • Reviewing the powers available to An Garda Síochána in relation to public order and anti-social behaviour to include the effectiveness of ASBOs.
  • Enhancing the Greentown Project to break the link between children most at risk of recruitment by organised crime groups.
  • Increase the maximum sentence for assaulting a peace officer to 12 years, to help protect our Gardaí.
  • Ensure the Criminal Assets Bureau remains a world leader in seizing ill-gotten gains by strengthening and updating its powers with the Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill 2023.
  • Supporting legislation to increase sentences for assault causing harm, conspiracy to murder as well as creating stand-alone offences of stalking and non-fatal strangulation.
  • Investing more in An Garda Síochána to drive recruitment, fund new stations and infrastructure, such as the new Garda plane.
  • Support to enactment the Recording Devices Bill to provide for the nationwide roll-out of body cameras.

2. Improve access to justice and modernise the courts system.

Actions under this goal include:

  • Develop a world class family justice system with the needs of users at the centre of decision making, through the enactment of the Family Court Bill and implementation of the Family Justice Strategy.
  • Support the establishment of the Gambling Regulation Authority.
  • Reform professional legal education through the introduction of independent oversight for the first time; remove the barriers to becoming a solicitor or barrister; support the Establishment of the Judicial Appointments Bill, providing the biggest reform for how judges are appointed in over 25 years.
  • Improving access to justice by increasing the number of judges by 24 and reforming how the courts operate.
  • Reform and modernise Ireland’s Defamation Laws.
  • Support to enactment the Sale of Alcohol Bill to reform Ireland’s antiquated licensing regime.
  • Establish the Planning and Environmental Court to improve delivery of housing and help protect the environment.
  • Introduce new pre-action protocol regulations (clinical negligence) in implementation to encourage early resolution of disputes.
  • Amend the Occupiers Liability Act to provide for changes to the Duty of Care as part of the Government’s Plan to reduce the cost of Insurance.

3. Strengthen community safety, reduce reoffending, support victims and combat domestic, sexual and gender based violence.

Actions under this goal include:

  • Continue to implement Zero Tolerance, the third national strategy to tackle domestic, sexual and gender based violence
  • Work to remove the legal barriers that prevent domestic violence victims from remaining in their homes and examine how to allow An Garda Síochána issue removal orders to take offenders out of the home in high risk cases
  • Publish a new Human Trafficking Action Plan
  • Support legislation to ensure character evidence in sentencing for sexual offences trials can be tested and character witnesses cross examined
  • Prepare for the national rollout of new Community Safety Partnerships across the country in 2024
  • Establish a task force to improve education and upskilling across the criminal justice system, starting with prison education. The task force will also consider youth justice issues, will agree a work programme, and be co-chaired at Ministerial level in the Department of Justice and Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

4. Deliver a fair immigration system for a digital age.

Actions under this goal include:

  • Maintain the 25 per cent increase in immigration applications, as well as increasing outputs in the International Protection Office by 25 per cent in 2023.
  • Ensuring a fair and balanced rules based International Protection system by :
  • Ensuring accelerated/priority International Protection cases receive a first instance decision within 3 months.
  • Secure Additional Resources to support IPO process improvements.
  • Identifying additional measures that can be put in place to prevent travel (working with relevant stakeholders) by those with no permission to enter Ireland.

5. Accelerate innovation, digital transformation and climate action across the justice sector.

  • The Department will prepare and implement a Smarter Travel Action plan to encourage a move away from car as primary travel means.

Other actions in Justice Plan 2023 to be implemented will include:

  1. Support the Gambling Regulation Bill 2022, through the Houses of the Oireachtas to enactment in order to allow for the establishment of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland.
  2. Further progress implementation of the Youth Justice Strategy, which provides a developmental framework to address key ongoing challenges, as well as new and emerging issues, in the youth justice area including a new and expanded mandate for the Youth Diversion Projects (YDPs) to provide full geographic availability of youth diversion services throughout the State by end of 2023.
  3. Keep our national security legislation under review; strengthen measures to tackle terrorism through domestic action and international cooperation, draft legislation to strengthen our laws around cybercrime, and progress legislation to deal with retention of data for criminal enforcement purposes.
  4. Put in place a revised National Referral Mechanism for victims of trafficking and publish a new National Action Plan to combat human trafficking
  5. Publish a General Scheme of a Criminal Legal Aid Bill to modernise the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme and transfer the administration to the Legal Aid Board.
  6. Bring forward a service improvement plan for the coronial service to drive innovation; enhance customer service and improve interaction with pathology services nationwide.
  7. Continue to progress tackling the cost of insurance, the personal injuries guidelines is making a difference in reducing the level of personal injuries awards, proposals on the duty of care will be made we will also publish research on tackling legal costs.
  8. Progress the draft legislation to place the Irish Prison Service on a statutory footing.
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