95. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he expects the report stage of the Judicial Council Bill 2017 to be held in Seanad Éireann; the timeline for introducing the Bill in Dáil Éireann; the timeline for establishing a committee on the council to deal with personal injury awards pursuant of the recommendation from the Personal Injuries Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21331/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the Judicial Council Bill completed Committee Stage in the Seanad just over one month ago. In addition to the amendments which I introduced in relation to the important matter of sentencing guidelines, I was also able to take the opportunity offered by Seanad Committee Stage to ensure that the training function of the Judicial Studies Committee includes a specific reference to assessing damages in personal injury claims. I believe that this is indicative of my support for reform in this area.
My current priority in relation to the Bill is to introduce, at an early stage, amendments which address the recommendations contained in the Second and Final Report of the Personal Injuries Commission insofar as personal injuries guidelines are concerned. The work of my Department on this matter is almost complete and I expect that I will be able to seek Government approval for the formal drafting of the necessary amendments very soon. I will then move as quickly as possible thereafter to table those amendments for consideration at Report Stage in the Seanad.
Once the Bill has completed all Stages in Seanad Éireann and has been introduced in Dáil Éireann, its progress will, to a large extent, be a matter for this House itself to determine. It is my intention to have the Bill enacted as soon as possible. Once the Bill has passed work will begin immediately to establish the Judicial Council and its related Committees.