Skip to main content
Normal View

Seanad Éireann debate -
Monday, 28 Jul 1924

Vol. 3 No. 17



The next item on the Orders of the Day is a motion by Senator Brown:—

"That the Seanad approves the Criminal Appeal Rules, 1924, made pursuant to Section 36 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1923, and presented to the Seanad on the 28th day of July, 1924."

This motion is not in order, and if it is to be considered to-day, Standing Orders will have to be suspended. The motion states that the rules were presented to the Seanad on the 28th July, 1924. The 28th day of July is to-day, and when Senator Brown gave notice of that Motion the 28th July had not arrived, and the rules had not been presented. There is an old saying that you should not count your chickens before they are hatched. Senator Brown wants us to extend that, and to adopt these rules before they are laid.

I am not entirely responsible for the form of this notice of motion, and I would be very grateful to any Senator who would move the suspension of Standing Orders to enable this Motion to be considered.


Have you seen the Rules? Not only have they not been laid on the Table, but they have sent us only one copy, that being the printer's proof. You will find that on that proof there are a lot of inter-lineations in ink.

I have noticed some.


I think we ought to be careful about what we are doing. What is the urgency for the Motion?

The urgency is that all the other courts, representing courts that were in existence under the Judicature Act, have got Judicature rules to work upon. The Criminal Appeal Court is a new court, and it has got no rules to work upon. Several cases are pending in that court, and there are likely to be a large number of cases between this and the time the Seanad meets again in October. For that reason, the Motion is very urgent. The rules have got to be approved by both Houses. Perhaps we could sit to-morrow and deal with the Motion.


Will we be any wiser to-morrow?

We will not, except that the rules might perhaps be more in order.


Senators have not got the rules. The copy you have is the only copy in the House.

I am aware of that.


I do not see how the matter is going to be improved by leaving it over until to-morrow.

As this is a matter of urgency, I move the suspension of Standing Orders to enable the motion to be taken now.

I beg to second the motion.

Question put and agreed to.

I move the resolution. As I said, the matter is one of real urgency. There are no rules whatever in existence for this Court. A very considerable number of cases have arisen and will arise between this and October. I am very sorry for the sake of the Ministry that the rules are not in more perfect form to lay on the Table of the House, but the extreme hurry and urgency must be the excuse for the condition in which they appear. I would impress on the House that this is a matter of very great urgency and I would ask the House to approve the rules.

I take it they will be laid on the Table of the Dáil and that the Dáil will be the confirming authority.


The Dáil will probably have a shorter interval to consider them than we have.

Perhaps I had better tell the Seanad the necessity for the rules.


I think you fully explained the necessity, but I doubt if that will absolve the Seanad from the task of reading them.

I have read as much as I could of them since I came in.


I started to read them, but when I found that they ran into 50 pages I dropped it.

They have been very carefully drafted by a very eminent member of the Bar, and they have been approved, subject to some verbal alterations made in ink, by the Rule-making Committee, consisting of the Judges, the President of the Incorporated Law Society, and members of the Bar who are members of the Rule-making Authority. The rules have gone through the test of this Committee. They have been prepared, as I say, by counsel who is drafting the new rules under our Judiciary Bill, and I am sure they are proper rules and will adequately perform their duty. I may say that they are almost verbatim the rules that are in existence in England under an Act which is verbatim the same as the Act under which the Criminal Appeal Court has been set up. There are only verbal alterations which are necessary for the purpose of making them apply to this country.

I am prepared to second this motion, as I understand that the old rules are in operation in the other courts, pending their revision. This motion, as I understand it, really adds some more to the old rules, which did not apply in this case owing to the fact that we did not have a Criminal Appeal Court. Pending the entire revision of the rules for all the courts, I am prepared to second this motion.

During the past few days a number of cases came before the Criminal Appeal Court and were dealt with. I would like to know under what rules they were dealt with. If there is a question of urgency involved, I would like to know how these very important cases were decided within the last few days. As was pointed out when the Courts of Justice Bill was under discussion, this is really equivalent to Departmental legislation. It is a serious thing, on the plea of urgency, to ask the House to adopt elaborate rules that they have not had an opportunity of seeing. Senator Brown mentioned various persons who had been present at the drawing-up of the rules. Strange to say, the person about whom all the discussion arose when the Bill was under discussion— the Minister for Justice—as being the person responsible for making the rules, does not seem to have come into the picture at all. That was evidently a mere bogey.


There is a mistake in that. There is a slip on the file before me, from which it would appear that the Minister for Justice had taken part in the making of the rules and had concurred with the rules made.

He has made an order. I may say that these rules are only to last until the general rules come out. They are only provisional rules and when the rules are made for all the courts under the present Act these rules for the Criminal Appeal Court will be reconsidered and will be part of the Rules of Court.


Nothing appears before us to that effect.

I am told by the Minister that is so.

That being the case, the position is not so serious, and I withdraw any objection I have, particularly on the plea of urgency. Senator Brown has not told us, however, how the recent cases in the Court of Criminal Appeal have been dealt with —under what rules?

They have been dealt with without rules. It was so awkward that the judges made up their minds that it was absolutely necessary to have rules. The absence of rules made it extremely difficult to have them dealt with properly.


The Seanad should bear in mind that Senator Brown mentioned that these rules have been carefully considered by the Committee and the eight judges who have signed them. It is pretty certain therefore that they have received careful consideration. At the same time I am not suggesting that we should take this as a precedent in future for dispensing with consideration of the rules.

Question put and agreed to.