Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (285)

Martin Heydon

Question:

285. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when section 5 of the Judicial Council Act 2019 will be enacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51689/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Judicial Council Bill was enacted on 23 July 2019. This is a major landmark piece of reforming legislation which provides for the establishment, for the first time, of a Judicial Council comprising all members of the judiciary. The primary function of the Council will be to promote and maintain excellence in the exercise by judges of their judicial functions and high standards of conduct among judges. The Board of the Council will be responsible for carrying out the functions of the Council on a day-to-day basis.

In preparation for the Judicial Council’s establishment, in September, I already commenced a number of the Act's provisions under Statutory Instrument No. 457/19. These provisions concern the appointment of the interim Secretary to the Council, and the process of identifying and recommending to the Government, persons who are suitable for appointment to be lay members of the Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee, the Judicial Conduct Committee, and panels of inquiry. The commencement of these provisions will enable the Council to commence its work on establishment day and the Committees of the Council to undertake their functions within the time frames specified in the Act.

Regarding the Deputy’s query about the Council’s establishment day under Section 5 of the Judicial Council Act, I envisage that the Judicial Council will be established by the end of this month. A great deal of work is underway to facilitate establishment within that time frame. This is an ambitious timetable for such a significant new structure and demonstrates the government’s commitment to establishing the Council as soon as possible.

Question No. 286 answered with Question No. 244.