Categories
Consumer Rights

New Gift Voucher Legal Protections from 2nd December 2019-Minimum Expiry Period of 5 Years

The law regarding gift vouchers changed from 2nd December 2019, thanks to the new Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 Act.

This act introduces welcome changes in relation to expiry dates and outstanding balances.

The Act came into force from 2nd December 2019 and relates to gift vouchers only.

The voucher must have been purchased after 2nd December 2019 and there are certain types of products which are not covered:

  • One4All vouchers and other ‘electronic money’ products
  • Groupon vouchers and other vouchers which are for a specific product or service from a specific trader on a specific date or timeframe not exceeding 3 months
  • Vouchers offered as part of a customer loyalty scheme
  • Vouchers supplied by way of a refund for goods or service returned to the trader

New Protections

The new protections include

  1. The gift voucher must have an expiry date no earlier than 5 years
  2. It cannot be insisted that the entire gift voucher be used in one transaction
  3. A transfer of a voucher to a third party sees all of the rights accruing to the original purchaser transferring to the third party
  4. No limit on the number of vouchers in a single transaction is permitted

Any terms and conditions which a trader seeks to impose, and which attempts to trump the rights afforded by the act are of no effect. Moreover, traders can face criminal prosecutions, summarily and on indictment, for breaches of the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 Act.

You can find some useful links on the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation website here.

Categories
Consumer Rights Defamation

Defamatory or Illegal Content on Social Media Sites Can Be Removed Worldwide-ECJ Decision in Facebook Ireland Case

Do you think the social media sites do enough when it comes to the offensive material that is published on their platforms?

Do Facebook and Twitter, for example, act swiftly (or at all) to remove the hate speech and racist stuff that is on full view courtesy of various keyboard warriors hiding behind fake names and flags?

The Court of Justice of the European Union has just handed down an interesting decision in a case taken against Facebook Ireland. The case I am referring to is Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook Ireland Limited Case C-18/18, Court of Justice of the European Union, with a decision delivered on 3 October 2019.

What the ECJ decided

The European Court of Justice has held that Facebook can be ordered by EU national courts to remove or block access to defamatory material-defamatory, that is, in the eyes of the national court of the EU member state.

There is a further significant outcome to this decision: a national court’s decision that material should be removed means it can be ordered to be removed in another country even if, in that other country, the material is not defamatory or illegal.

Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook Ireland

Ms Glawsicnig-Piesczek is an Austrian politician who requested Facebook remove certain comments about her made by a user on Facebook. The Supreme Court in Austria referred the case to the European Court of Justice as it held the comments to be illegal and defamatory.

The consequences of the EU Court decision

  • Social media platforms can be ordered to remove or block access to identical information declared unlawful
  • They can be ordered to remove equivalent information deemed unlawful or defamatory
  • The decision applies on a worldwide basis-that is to say if it is deemed unlawful in Austria, for example, the comments cannot be published on Facebook UK or Facebook Ireland.

As a consequence of this decision the Supreme Court in Austria now has the power to decide on where and how the material is to be removed. This remains to be seen but the Austrian Supreme Court now has the authority to order Facebook to remove the comments on every Facebook platform worldwide and this was one of the questions referred by the Supreme Court in Austria.

Conclusion

This is good news for the user of the platform and gives an individual more power to ensure illegal or unlawful comments are not published anywhere and there is no getting around the order of a national court to remove illegal comments.

This is a significant increase in the power of the user of social media platforms and places far greater obligations on the social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

You can read the entire judgment in Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook Ireland Limited here.

Read the press release of the Court of Justice of the European Union the 3rd October 2019.

Categories
Consumer Rights

Discrimination in the Provision of Goods and Services in Ireland-the Essentials

equal status discrimination

Not a lot of people know this..

Most people think the WRC (Workplace Relations Commission) only deals with employment and/or industrial relations issues.

That’s not the case, at all.

The Workplace Relations Commission also deals with complaints about discrimination in the provision of goods and services, accommodation, and access to education under the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015.

Discrimination in the context of employment has 9 grounds of discrimination. But under equality legislation there is now 10 grounds of discrimination, thanks to the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015, which created a 10th ground in respect of housing assistance.

The main thrust of the Equal Status acts is to prevent discrimination in relation to the provision of all services, including entertainment, banking, transport, travel, insurance, and more.

The 10 grounds of discrimination covered by the Equal Status acts are

  • Gender
  • Civil status
  • Race/colour/nationality
  • Family status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Membership of the travelling community
  • Disability
  • Housing assistance in relation to the provision of residential accommodation
  • religion.

How to Make a Complaint to the WRC

The first thing you must do is to complete and send a form-ES1-which is a notification in writing to the person/company who you are complaining about. This form must specify the act of alleged discrimination and must be received by the other party within 2 months’ of the incident.

The other party does not have to respond, but if he chooses to do so may use form ES2.

If the other party ignores you and does not respond within 1 month, or you are not happy with the reply, you can then refer the complaint to the WRC for adjudication. This referral must be made within 6 months of the alleged discrimination.

In due course an adjudication hearing will be heard and both parties can put their side of the story forward and the adjudicator will make a decision.

Equal Status Acts in Ireland

The relevant legislation is:

  • The Equal Status Act, 2000
  • The Equality Act, 2004
  • The Equal Status (Amendment) Act, 2012
  • The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2015.

The Law Reform Commission has published a consolidated version of the Equal Status Acts which you can access here.

Categories
Consumer Rights Family Law

How to Change a Name by Deed Poll

bare trust

If you want to change a name by deed poll, the Judgments Section of the Central Office of the High Court will be your first port of call.

The Judgments Section/Deed Poll section will give you precedent wordings that you can use and adapt to your own particular circumstances and which will be used in your deed poll application.

Changing a Child’s Name

If the child is aged between 14 and 17 years, the child can execute/sign a deed poll with the consent of both parents.

If a child is under the age of 14 years, a parent who is a guardian must sign the deed poll with the consent of the other guardian. If this consent is not forthcoming you need to contact the Judgments Section of the Central Office of the High Court.

Documents Required

To change a name by deed poll you will need

  • The deed poll printed on good quality strong paper-deed paper, parchment paper, or judicature paper is recommended
  • An Affidavit of Attesting Witness-this is a sworn statement from the person who witnessed the execution/signing of  the deed poll
  • The Original Birth Certificate of the person who wants to change name.

There is a stamping fee of €35 which will need to be stamped on the deed poll.

All documents to do with your deed poll application must be lodged by hand in the Judgments Section of the Central Office of the High Court.

Foreign Nationals

A foreign national must first obtain a change of name licence from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration (INIS) before filling out  a deed poll. A British citizen does not need a licence but will need a letter from the INIS confirming this for the Deed Poll section of the High Court.

Categories
Consumer Rights

How to Become an Irish Citizen through Naturalisation

You acquire Irish citizenship through birth, descent or naturalisation.

how-to-become-irish-citizen

This piece will look at how to become an Irish citizen through naturalisation which is how a foreign national living in Ireland can become an Irish citizen.

All application for Irish citizenship must be approved by the Minister for Justice and Equality.

Are you Eligible for Irish Citizenship?

To become an Irish citizenship through naturalisation you need

  • To be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a person of good character (an Garda Siochana will provide a report about your background)
  • To have lived in Ireland for 1 year prior to your application for naturalisation and, in addition, you must have lived in Ireland for 4 years of the previous 8 years prior to your application. So you need to have lived in Ireland for at least 5 years out of the last 9 years
  • To intend to remain in Ireland
  • To make declaration of fidelity and loyalty to Ireland and pledge to observe the laws of Ireland

Self Supporting?

You must prove that you can support yourself and your family while living in Ireland. You do this by demonstrating that you have not received any state support in the 3 years prior to your application.

How the Application for Naturalisation is Dealt With

Your application for naturalisation needs to pass an initial processing stage. You should know within 1 week whether you are successful at this stage or not.

If it has passed the initial stage, your application will be processed within about 6 months.

If your application is then approved you will be given a letter setting out the documentation you will require before the certificate of naturalisation is issued to you.

Once this certificate of naturalisation is issued, you are an Irish citizen from the date of the certificate.

Fees

The initial application fee for applying for naturalisation is €175.

If you are successful and a certificate of naturalisation is to be issued the fee at this stage is €950 or €200 for a minor or widow/widower/surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen.

If you need assistance with any aspect of becoming an Irish citizen, please contact us through the form below or call.