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Upskilling 'mandatory' for judges

03 Jul 2017 / judiciary Print

Disciplinary process in train for judge complaints

Upskilling for judges is to become mandatory under new legislation.

A disciplinary process for complaints against judges is also in train.

Announcing the establishment of a Judicial Council, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that the new body will promote and maintain excellence and high standards of conduct.

Publishing the Judicial Council Bill 2017 and the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017 on 1 June, the Tánaiste praised the judiciary as one of the “great successes of the Irish State”.

The new Judicial Appointments Commission will have a “more substantial role and broader functions” according to the minister.

A Judicial Conduct Committee will consider complaints against judges and refer them either for informal resolution or for formal investigation. The committee will also prepare draft guidelines concerning judicial conduct and ethics.

Mechanism

Short of impeachment, which removes a judge from office, there is no mechanism available currently that allows for the investigation of complaints of a less serious nature.

The minister said “This bill will provide that mechanism.” 

It will also provide for the establishment of a Judicial Studies Committee to facilitate the continuing education and training of judges with regard to their judicial functions.

Information

A Sentencing Information Committee will also be established to collate information on sentences imposed by the courts, and to communicate this information to judges.

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