Good Samaritans, rights of way and family maintenance, The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011

From time to time, Miscellaneous Provisions legislation is introduced to tidy up areas of the law that don’t fit neatly into the government’s legislative programme. The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 covers areas as diverse as sale of alcohol, tribunals of inquiry, equality and immigration. Section 3 deals with liability of good Samaritans and volunteers, the first time the topic has been addressed in Irish law. The act states that good Samaritans will not be personally liable when giving assistance to another person who is in injured or in danger, for example, by administering as first aid. This protection also covers emergencies which the person has caused themselves. Volunteers are also covered when engaged in activities authorised by their organisations. Part 8 of the Act gives the courts more powers in cases where family maintenance payments have not been made. Failure to make payments can now be considered a contempt of court and the District Court can now insist a person comes before it to deal with the matter. Parts 12 and 13 deal with registration of rights of way and allows landowners to register a right of way with the Property Registration Authority without having to get a court order, if the parties involved agree on the right of way.