· Bill to give effect to Referendum decision of the people

· Minister describes the Bill as “enhancing access to justice for all our citizens”

· Delivers on a key Programme for Government commitment

 

Friday 4th July

 

Frances Fitzgerald, TD, Minister for Justice and Equality has today announced the publication of the Court of Appeal Bill 2014.

Welcoming the Bill’s publication, the Minister stated: “This Bill delivers on the commitment in the Programme for Government to establish a Court of Appeal and is a timely response to the decision taken by the people last October when they approved the proposal to amend the Constitution to make provision for the establishment of the new Court.”

The Minister noted that the Bill itself is technical in character in that its essential purpose is to ensure that the new Court of Appeal is properly accommodated within the existing courts structure. It makes the legislative changes necessary to ensure that the new court can function smoothly within that structure.

The Minister went on to observe that: “The establishment of the new Court will be an important step in enhancing access to justice for all our citizens. It should make a significant impact upon the waiting lists for cases which are currently pending before the Supreme Court and should also ensure that future cases will be dealt with in an expeditious and timely manner.”

The Bill makes provision for a range of matters associated with the new court such as jurisdiction; the number of judges which are to be appointed to it; and the organisational supports which will be put in place to ensure its smooth running.

The Minister continued: “There is a maxim that justice delayed is justice denied. The ripple effects of current delays extend beyond the justice system to impact not just on individual litigants but also on the wider economy. Today marks a significant step in the modernisation of our courts system and I am proud to be in a position to deliver on this key piece of legislation.”

Referring to the timetable for the Bill the Minister stated: “It is my clear intention to take every step necessary to ensure that this legislation is in place before the start of the summer recess. This is an ambitious timetable but adherence to it is important in order to ensure that the new Court will be established in October of this year.

 

The Bill is available on www.oireachtas.ie

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Note for editors:

The Programme for Government indicated that the necessary steps to create a permanent Court of Appeal would be taken during the lifetime of the current Government. A referendum proposing the establishment of the Court of Appeal was agreed to by the people on 4 October 2013. Under the terms of the referendum proposal it was specified that a law providing for the establishment of the Court of Appeal should be enacted as soon as practicable after the enactment of Article 34A (which indicates that the Court of Appeal is to be established in accordance with its terms). This Bill responds to that imperative.

The Bill is divided into a series of Parts. It is essentially an amendment Bill which amends both courts legislation and legislation across a range of other sectors in order to take account of the establishment of the Court of Appeal.

Part 1 deals with standard provisions in relation to citations and definitions.

Part 2 deals directly with the Court of Appeal and includes provisions relating to

Ø Its establishment

Ø The appointment of judges

Ø The remuneration of judges

Ø The President of the Court of Appeal

Ø Rules of Court in relation to the Court of Appeal

Ø The Office of Registrar of the Court of Appeal

Ø Matters of more general import.

Part 3 provides for the necessary amendment of a variety of Acts.

Part 4 provides for the repeal of certain existing statutory provisions (consequent upon the abolition of the Court of Criminal Appeal and the Courts-Martial Appeal Court). It also contains a number of construction provisions and transitional arrangements to deal with cases which are in being in the Court of Criminal Appeal and the Courts-Martial Appeal Court at the time of the establishment of the Court of Appeal.

Contact:

Department of Justice and Equality

Press Office
01 602 8359

pressoffice@justice.ie