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Judicial Council

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 17 February 2022

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Questions (135)

Paul Murphy

Question:

135. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the steps that will be taken to put protections in place for persons who are engaged in the legal system from possible harassment and abusive behaviour by judges. [8733/22]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, the judiciary are, under the Constitution, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions. The conduct of court business is entirely a matter for the Chief Justice and the Presidents of the Courts. 

Judicial conduct and ethical guidelines are the responsibility of the Judicial Council. As per section 6 of the Judicial Council Act 2019, the Judicial Council is, subject to the provisions of the Act, independent in the exercise of its functions. Neither I nor my Department has any role in relation to the operation of the Council or its Committees.

One of the main pillars of the Judicial Council's remit is to promote high standards of conduct and I understand that the Judicial Conduct Committee was formally established with effect from 30 June 2020.  It was required under the Act to submit to the Judicial Council Board draft guidelines concerning judicial conduct and ethics, within 12 months of its establishment. The guidelines will deal with admissibility of judicial complaints, informal resolution of complaints and codes for conduct and ethics.

At its meeting on 4 February 2022, the Judicial Council adopted Guidelines for the Judiciary on Conduct and Ethics.  These Guidelines form part of a suite of measures which aim to support the core judicial values of independence, impartiality, integrity, equality, propriety, competence and diligence.

They underpin the high standards and principles which judges in Ireland apply to manage the ethical and conduct issues which they encounter and to help the public understand the role of the judiciary and their professional standards. Further information on the Judicial Council and its Committees is available on the Council’s website at www.judicialcouncil.ie

I will shortly make orders to bring into operation those relevant provisions of the Judicial Council Act 2019 which have not yet been commenced.

Any instances of harassment or abusive behaviour should, of course, be reported to An Garda Síochána for their appropriate investigation. 

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