Written Answers. - Courts Service.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

137 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the degree to which his Department proposes to improve the funding of the Courts Service with particular reference to the need of the family law courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17298/03]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

138 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the extent to which he proposes to allocate extra funds to the Courts Service to facilitate the provision of required facilities at courthouses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17299/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 137 and 138 together.

Under the Courts Service Act 1998 the Courts Service, which is responsible for the day to day management of the courts, is independent in the performance of its functions. I am responsible for ensuring that the service is adequately funded and, in this regard, €92.179 million has been provided in 2003. This represents a 5.6% increase on 2002.

Having regard to the statutory independence of the Courts Service, the Deputy will appreciate that it is a matter for the Service to decide how the funding provided is specifically allocated. The funding provided allows the Courts Service to progress the implementation of its strategic plans and policies and I am confident that the level of funding provided is adequate, not only to maintain existing levels of service, but also to provide for improvements in services and in court accommodation.

Question No. 139 answered with Question No. 134.