Judicial appointments bill compatible with Constitution

Judicial appointments bill compatible with Constitution

Landmark reforms to the judicial appointments process are compatible with the Constitution and can become law, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2022 was referred to the court by President Michael D. Higgins under Article 26 of the Constitution — the first time he has exercised this power.

Following the decision of the Supreme Court, Article 34.3.3 of the Constitution precludes the possibility of any further legal challenge to the constitutionality of the legislation.

Justice minister Helen McEntee said: “I am pleased that the bill, which was carefully crafted in line with legal advice, will now become law, and the system of judicial appointments in Ireland will be modernised to further strengthen gender balance and diversity on the bench.

“In bringing forward this bill, I have always striven to strike a balance between the requirements of the Constitution and European standards. This legislation will ensure that our tradition of a fully independent judiciary will continue to thrive and evolve to serve the public as it has for the last century.

“The bill will ensure that anyone who wishes to be considered for appointment to judicial office, including serving judges, will apply to the Commission and undergo the same application and interview processes. It will also ensure that the selection of nominees for judicial office will be through fair and open competition from the widest range of possible candidates.

“I will now seek to establish the new Commission next year.”

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