Bill allowing for appointment of additional judges clears Oireachtas

Bill allowing for appointment of additional judges clears Oireachtas

Legislation providing for the appointment of 24 additional judges this year and a further 20 judges in future has concluded its passage through the Oireachtas.

The Courts Bill 2023 completed the committee and final stages in the Seanad yesterday and will now be referred to the president to be signed into law.

The legislation was drafted as a priority following the publication of the judicial planning working group’s final report in February.

James Browne, minister of state with responsibility for law reform, said: “Ensuring that the courts are resourced to administer justice efficiently and effectively is central to ensuring there is access to justice.

“To continue to improve access to justice for all of our citizens, we will increase the number of judges in two phases, beginning with 24 additional judges this year. This increase in judicial resources was recommended by the judicial planning working group earlier this year and has been approved by government.

“The Courts Bill 2023 will allow government to significantly increase the number of judges. Not only will this enable the Courts Service to provide an efficient and fair service, it also paves the way for policy initiatives under the programme for government such as the establishment of a dedicated Planning and Environmental Court and for the provisions under the Family Law Bill.”

When enacted, the bill will allow for a maximum of 17, up from 16, judges to be appointed to the Court of Appeal; 48, up from 45, judges to be appointed to the High Court; 45, up from 41, judges to be appointed to the Circuit Court; and 71, up from 64, judges to the District Court.

Mr Browne added: “This substantial increase in judicial resources will be complemented by the ongoing implementation of the courts modernisation plan.

“My Department is committed to driving a modernisation and Digital First agenda across the entire justice sector. We will work with the Courts Service and the judiciary to deliver a number of important commitments in the programme for government which will help ensure that we have a modern Courts Service.”

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