Courts (Establishment and Constitution) (Amendment) Bill 2019: From the Seanad

The Dáil went into Committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.
Seanad amendment No. 1:
Section 2: In page 3, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following:
"Amendment of Courts and Court Officers Act 1995
2. Section 27 of the Courts and Court Officers Act 1995 is amended by—
(a) the deletion of subsections (6) and (7), and
(b) the insertion of the following subsection after subsection (11):
"(12) This section shall not apply to an adjudication of legal costs under Part 10 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015.".".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 2:
Section 2: In page 3, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following:
“Amendment of Legal Services Regulation Act 2015
3. The Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 is amended—
(a) in section 141, by the insertion of the following subsection after subsection (5):
"(6) For the purposes of subsection (3)(f), a County Registrar need not publish the reasons for a determination where he or she is of the opinion that the taxation concerned does not involve a matter of legal importance.",
(b) in section 154(10)—
(i) in paragraph (c), by the substitution of "adjudication," for "adjudication, and",
(ii) in paragraph (d), by the substitution of "attempt," for "attempt.", and
(iii) by the insertion of the following paragraphs after paragraph (d):
"(e) a procedure whereby a party to an adjudication may, upon notice to another party—
(i) pay into court a sum of money, or
(ii) make an offer of by way of tender to the other party,
in satisfaction of the costs of the other party that are the subject of the adjudication, and
(f) the respective liability of the parties referred to in paragraph (e) for the costs of the adjudication where the amount of a payment or offer referred to in that paragraph is equal to or greater than the amount of the costs concerned that, in the adjudication, are determined to be paid.",
(c) in section 160(2)(a), by the substitution of "section 163" for "section 166", and
(d) in section 172—
(i) in subsection (2), by the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (a):
"(aa) the President of the Court of Appeal;",
and
(ii) by the insertion of the following subsection after subsection (6):
"(6A) On the death or retirement of the President of the Court of Appeal, the senior ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal who is for the time being available shall be a member of the Committee until the appointment of a President of the Court of Appeal.".".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 3:
Section 2: In page 3, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following:
“Retirement age of judge of District Court increased to 70 years
4. (1) Section 30(1) of the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 is amended by the substitution of "seventy" for "sixty-five".
(2) The amendment effected by subsection (1) extends to a person who is judge of the District Court immediately before the commencement of this section and, in particular, to such judge in respect of whom a warrant made under section 2 of the Courts of Justice (District Court) Act 1949 subsists immediately before such commencement (and the continuance in office, on and from the commencement of this section, of the second-mentioned judge shall be by virtue of the amendment effected by subsection (1) and not otherwise).
(3) The reference in subsection (2) to a warrant made under section 2 of the Courts of Justice (District Court) Act 1949 includes a reference to a warrant made under that section 2 in the circumstances permitted by section 1 of the Courts (No. 2) Act 1988.".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 4:
Section 2: In page 3, line 17, to delete "(Establishment and Constitution) (Amendment)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 5:
Title: In page 3, to delete lines 5 to 7 and substitute the following:
"An Act to amend Section 1A of the Courts (Establishment and Constitution) Act 1961 to increase the number of ordinary judges of the Court of Appeal to fifteen; to amend the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961; to amend the Courts and Court Officers Act 1995; to amend the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015; and to provide for related matters.".

When is it likely these appointments will be made? We welcome the fact that the Court of Appeal will have six more members, but it is important to ensure they are appointed promptly. The delays in the court's list are currently of 18 months to two years. If the Minister could provide any information as to when the nominations will be made, I would appreciate it.

I acknowledge the importance of the legislation as part of the overall reform package and am very grateful to the House for facilitating its passage on the last day of the current Dáil term. I intend to set the wheels in motion to facilitate the appointment by the President of the new judges to the Court of Appeal in September. We are unlikely to have the process completed by the time of the final Cabinet meeting before then, which I expect to take place on the last Tuesday or Wednesday of this month. We are also unlikely to have a Cabinet meeting in August. As such, I hope to place the matter on the Cabinet agenda in early September.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendments reported.