35. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will establish a judicial council with lay representation; if she will provide an effective mechanism for dealing with complaints against judges; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10889/16]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Legislation is being drafted to provide for the establishment of a Judicial Council. It is intended that the key functions of that Council would encompass the maintenance and promotion of excellence in the exercise by judges of their judicial function and of high standards of conduct among judges.
The model, which will of course be subject to consideration and approval by Government in the context of the publication of the Bill in due course, provides for lay membership on the Judicial Conduct Committee which is a key component being established under the Bill and which will be responsible for facilitating the investigation of allegations of judicial misconduct. The proposed legislation also envisages the creation of a number of Committees to support the Judicial Council in areas, for example, such as continuing education and professional development and these Committees may provide an opportunity for participation by persons who are not judges but who do have appropriate expertise and experience in the relevant subject matter.
Work on the drafting of the Bill continues in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, and my Department is working closely with that Office to bring that work to a timely conclusion.