Number of Court of Appeal judges to rise to 15

05 Dec 2018 / judiciary Print

Law Society welcomes Court of Appeal judge boost

The Law Society has welcomed the rise in ordinary judge numbers at the Court of Appeal.

Their number is to rise from nine to 15 through an amendment of the primary legislation, the Court of Appeal Act 2014.

The general scheme of the bill will be published and submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality for pre-legislative scrutiny. The short bill consists of only two heads.

Cohort

The total cohort of judges will be 16, including the court’s president.

Law Society Director General Ken Murphy said: “The Court of Appeal has been a runaway success story since it first opened its doors in 2014. However, to this point, and despite the best efforts of courts’ staff, resources have been insufficient to keep up with demand.

“In relation to civil appeals, for example, the number of new appeals lodged last year (611 cases) far exceeded the number of new appeals resolved by the court (470 cases).

Justice denied

“Justice delayed is justice denied.

“This much-needed investment in the court will further improve access to justice for the public, whether commercial businesses or ordinary citizens, by reducing waiting times.

“As we anticipate the changes that Brexit might bring, this improvement to essential courts’ infrastructure will allow Ireland to take advantage of new opportunities for the benefit of our economy."

Justice minister Charlie Flanagan said that the Government was committed to ensuring that the courts had the necessary resources to ensure prompt and timely access to justice.

Volume

“It is clear that the Court of Appeal has a very significant volume of work, both in terms of the inherited caseload it received from the Supreme Court on establishment of the new court in 2014, as well as the volume of new cases it is receiving,” he said.

“I am concerned that, with the current waiting times, the Court of Appeal may soon be facing a similar level of delay to that of the Supreme Court prior to 2014, which stood at over four years.

Compelling case

“I am satisfied that there is a strong and compelling case for additional judicial resources in the Court of Appeal, which will address the waiting times for cases to be heard, and will improve efficiency in the appellate process and the overall administration of justice,” the minister concluded.

The current waiting time for civil cases is approximately 20 months.

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