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Bill enabling extra judges passes all stages
Minister of State James Browne Pic: RollingNews.ie

18 May 2023 / legislation Print

Bill enabling extra judges passes all stages

A bill that allows the Government to increase the number of judges across the courts system has concluded its passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Courts Bill 2023 will now be referred to the President to be signed into law.

Earlier this year, the Minister for Justice Simon Harris received Government approval to appoint an additional 44 judges to the courts by the end of 2024.

An initial 24 will be appointed this year, followed by a further 20 who will be subject to the implementation of reforms and efficiencies in the operation of the courts.

Policy initiatives

Primary legislation was needed to enable the increase.

“Not only will this enable the Courts Service to provide an efficient and fair service, it also paves the way for policy initiatives under the Programme for Government, such as the establishment of a dedicated Planning and Environmental Court and for the provisions under the Family Law Bill,” said James Browne (Minister of State with responsibility for law reform, pictured).

When enacted, the bill will allow for:

  • A maximum of 17 (up from 16) judges to be appointed to the Court of Appeal,
  • 48 (from 45) judges to be appointed to the High Court,
  • 45 (from 41) to be appointed to the Circuit Court, and
  • 71 (from 64) judges to the District Court.

Three of these additional judicial positions have already been created in the Circuit Court under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act 2022.

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