Judicial Council ready to receive complaints about judicial misconduct
The Judicial Council is, as of today, accepting complaints from members of the public about alleged judicial misconduct.
Helen McEntee, the justice minister, has signed an order bringing into operation the remaining provisions of the Judicial Council Act 2019 concerning judicial conduct and ethics.
The Judicial Council adopted judicial conduct and ethics guidelines in February, described by Chief Justice Donal O’Donnell at the time as “an important step in the promotion of standards of behaviour which the Constitution contemplates as part of the administration of justice, in courts, by judges”.
The former chief justice, Frank Clarke, previously said the guidelines would close a “gap in judicial accountability and transparency”.
Mrs McEntee said: “In a democratic society, the judiciary plays a central and independent role in how justice is administered, and our judiciary have provided us with superb service since the foundation of the State a century ago.
“Maintaining and strengthening public confidence in our judiciary, a foundation stone of our democracy, is crucial and I am really pleased to bring into effect all remaining sections of the Judicial Council Act 2019.
“These sections deal with judicial conduct and ethics. Crucially, they pave the way for procedures that will facilitate, for the first time in the history of the State, complaints from members of the public about judicial conduct.
“They also set out that a complaint may be made by any person who is directly affected by, or who witnessed, the alleged misconduct within three months of same, as well as the criteria for such complaints to be admissible, and the processes under which these complaints will be examined.”
She added: “I would like to thank the members of the judiciary for their support for this important legislation and to acknowledge the importance of their continued constitutional independence.”