Thursday 17th July 2014

 

Frances Fitzgerald, TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, welcomed the successful passage of the Court of Appeal Bill 2014 through the Dáil and the Seanad.

The Minister said that “in publishing and steering this Bill through both the Dáil and Seanad, the Government has responded in the most positive way possible to the mandate given to it by the people last October to provide for the establishment of a new Court of Appeal.”

The Court of Appeal Bill 2014, published on 4th July, provides for the establishment of the new Court and makes the necessary legislative provision to ensure that it is accommodated within the existing courts’ structure.

The Minister stated: “This is the biggest reform in the organisation of our courts system since the foundation of the State. This Bill paves the way for changes in our courts system which will be radical and far-reaching.”

The Minister paid tribute to the collaborative spirit which marked the passage of the Bill through both Houses: “I am very conscious of the overwhelming support which the Bill received in its passage. This affirms the fact that reform in this area has been long-awaited and I am pleased that I am in a position to bring the legislative phase of this project to a successful conclusion.”

The Minister continued: “Other arrangements of an implementing nature are already in train to ensure that the Court of Appeal will be operational in October.”

She concluded: “A measure of success for the new Court will be the delivery of significant reductions in the waiting time for the hearing and determination of appeals. I am confident that the new Court is equipped with all of the tools necessary to enable it to realise the expectations which are being placed upon it.”

The Bill will shortly go to the President for signature.

 Ends.../

 

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, definitions etc.

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

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.