14 Oct 2021, 15.13

The Joint Committee on Justice, in a report launched today, Thursday 14 October, on “Pre-Legislative Scrutiny the General Scheme of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2020’ has put forward a series of recommendations to the Minister based on stakeholder engagement held on 18 May and 15 June 2021.

The General Scheme of the Bill provides for the establishment of a Judicial Appointments Commission containing 9 members, which will replace the current Judicial Appointments Advisory Board (JAAB). This Bill will also make changes to the procedures through which applications from sitting judges are dealt with, will ensure that merit will be the defining factor in recommending candidates for appointment, among other changes.

Committee Cathaoirleach Deputy James Lawless said: “The Committee has identified several areas of interest within the General Scheme which it considers need attention, and these are explained in detail in the body of the Report alongside ten recommendations the Committee has made on these areas."

The Cathaoirleach added: “Among the Heads identified by the witnesses for further examination include the proposed membership of the Judicial Appointments Commission, the need for the number of candidates sent to the Minister to be reduced and ranked in order of preference and the need to ensure greater diversity of the Judiciary, including the opportunity for legal academics to apply.

The Cathaoirleach concluded: “A copy of this report and recommendations will be sent to the Minister for Justice and the Committee has made these recommendations in the hope that they will assist in improving this important piece of legislation.

I would also like to express my gratitude on behalf of the Committee to all the witnesses who attended our public hearing to give evidence.”

Read the full committee report here.

The Joint Committee on Justice has 14 Members, nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad. More information can be found on the dedicated Committee Webpage.

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