Early Reflections on the new EPA system
05 May 2023
The new EPA system is upon us and we practitioners are adjusting to the new regime. I am currently attending the Law Society’s certificate on the 2015 Act and there was a recent presentation by Aine Flynn the Director of the Decision Support service on the 2015 Act. In that presentation, she highlighted the “Digital First” approach of the DSS. I fully support the approach. While I see the merit of the Digital First approach, I did not find the setting up of the My Gov account and logging into the portal immediately intuitive. It did take some time to assist my client in that regard and my client required access to her email and mobile for verification purposes through the process. This will take a degree of adjustment however I would be of the view that very quickly this process will become second nature.
What is not clear from the current process is how the notice to the notice parties must be sent. There does not appear to be a requirement that notice to the notice parties is by registered post and supported by an affidavit of service that would have been part of the previous regime.
The forms are designed to be initially completed without the need for legal assistance and I would support that, in that any step that supports the wider adoption of EPAs is to be commended. It will very much be a case-by-case basis as to whether clients will require assistance from solicitors at the very start or purely to assist with entry into of the legal statement.
Like any new system (such as e-stamping, the SA.2 etc) there is an initial bedding in process. It will be become part and parcel of practice relatively shortly.
In addition, there has been the publication of six new statutory instruments related to the 2015 Act to include the publication of the Circuit Court rules. These are statutory instruments 201 to 206 of of 2023. I attach here the Circuit Court rules SI and the other statutory instruments are available on the Irish statute book online.