Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Ceisteanna (74)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

74. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is finalising plans to fill vacancies in the Judiciary; his views on the fact that the delay in doing same is causing cases to be delayed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41373/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Ensuring access to justice, including maintaining adequate judicial resources within the courts, is a priority for Government. Because it is a priority, I ensured that legislation was brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas before the end of its last session to provide a legal basis for a significant expansion of the Court of Appeal. The Courts Act 2019 provides for an increase in the number of ordinary judges in the Court of Appeal for its current configuration of nine to fifteen, and was signed into law by the President on 23 July 2019.

At its meeting of 8 October 2019 the Government agreed to nominate one judge in principle (to fill a vacancy which will arise in the Court of Appeal on 26 October) and 6 new ordinary judges for appointment, by the President of Ireland, to the Court of Appeal. Arrangements are currently being made with regard to their appointments.

I wish to advise the Deputy that there are currently 11 judicial vacancies in the Courts (6 of which were addressed at Cabinet this week) as follows:

Court

Number of vacancies

Supreme Court

2

Court of Appeal

6

High Court

1

Circuit Court

1

District Court

1

Judicial appointments are made by the President acting on the advice of the Government in accordance with articles 13.9 and 35.1 of the Constitution. Accordingly, it is my intention to bring forward, in the coming weeks, a Memorandum for the Government, seeking approval for the filling of the remaining vacancies.

Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions. Furthermore, the scheduling of court cases and the allocation of court business is a matter for the Presidents of the Courts and the presiding judges who are, under the Constitution, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions.