Six judges nominated for High Court and Circuit Court
Four lawyers have been nominated by ministers for appointment as High Court judges and two as Circuit Court judges.
Barristers David Nolan SC, Denise Brett SC, Nuala Jackson SC and Conleth Bradley SC have been nominated for appointment to the High Court.
Mr Nolan was chairperson of the Bar Council from 2012 to 2014. He was educated at University College Dublin and the King’s Inns, calling to the Bar in 1985 and the Inner Bar in 2003.
Ms Brett is the vice-chairperson of the Bar Council and the founder and immediate past chair of the Immigration, Asylum & Citizenship Bar Association (IACBA). She was educated at Our Lady of Mercy College, Carysfort and the King’s Inns, calling to the Bar in 1996 and the Inner Bar in 2015.
Ms Jackson is the chairperson of the Legal Aid Board and vice-chairperson of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1985 before studying at the King’s Inns, qualifying as a barrister in 1988 and calling to the Inner Bar in 2015.
Mr Bradley was educated at Queen’s University Belfast and the King’s Inns. He called to the Bar in 1994 and the Inner Bar in 2005. He has appeared before the High Court, the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of the European Union and the UK Supreme Court.
Solicitors Jonathan Dunphy and Christopher Callan have been nominated for appointment as ordinary judges of the Circuit Court.
Mr Callan is a partner at Callan Tansey Solicitors LLP. He qualified as a solicitor in 1988 after studying at Trinity College Dublin.
Mr Dunphy is a sole practitioner at Jonathan Dunphy & Co Solicitors and is a member of the Law Society’s criminal law committee. He was educated at University College Dublin and qualified as a solicitor and barrister in 2002.
One of the High Court vacancies and both Circuit Court vacancies arise from the expansion of judicial numbers under the Courts Act 2023. The government said these nominations complete the delivery of the first tranche of 24 additional judges approved by ministers in February.
Justice minister Helen McEntee said: “I established the judicial planning working group to bring a strategic focus to planning the number and type of judges needed to ensure the efficient administration of justice, make it easier for our citizens to access justice and build stronger, safer communities.
“I am so pleased today to complete the initial phase of its first recommendation and significantly increase the number of judges in Ireland by 24.
“Implementing the group’s recommendation to appoint 44 new judges in two phases is a keystone of my commitment to improve access to justice across the courts system.
“The second tranche of 20 further judicial appointments is planned, subject to an impact assessment of the first tranche of judges and on the condition of certain reforms and efficiencies having been implemented.”
She added: “I congratulate each of the candidates who have been nominated today and look forward to supporting the Judiciary and the Courts Service as we move forward with this momentous period of growth and reform.”
The government said it has taken the necessary steps to formally advise President Higgins of the nominations in accordance with constitutional practice.