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Passing Of Courts Bill 2023 Through Houses Of Oireachtas Announced.

  • This legislation will allow for an increase of judges across all courts as recommended by the Judicial Planning Working Group earlier this year.

Earlier today, Minister Browne took the bill through Committee and Final stages in the Seanad. The Bill will now be referred to the President of Ireland to be signed into law.

A key recommendation arising from the report published by the Judicial Planning Working Group was to increase judicial numbers to ensure the efficient administration of justice over the next five years.

In February of this year, Minister for Justice, Mr Simon Harris received Government approval to appoint an additional 44 judges to the courts in Ireland by the end of 2024. An initial tranche of 24 will be appointed this year, followed by a further tranche of 20 subject to the implementation of reforms and efficiencies to the operation of the courts.

CourtCurrent as at 16/5/2033,
Inc President.
Phase 1Phase 2Additional
Phase 1 & Phase 2
Future
District Court64861478
District Court418*61452
High Court45661257
Appeal Court1622420
Sopreme Court1100010
Total177242044217
* Three of these additional judicial positions have already been created in the Circuit Court under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act, 2022.

Primary legislation was required to enable this increase, so the Courts Bill 2023 was drafted as a priority.

Speaking after the completion of the Bill’s passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas, Minister Browne said: “Ensuring that the Courts are resourced to administer justice efficiently and effectively is central to ensuring there is access to justice.
To continue to improve access to justice for all of our citizens, we will increase the number of judges in two phases, beginning with 24 additional judges this year. This increase in judicial resources was recommended by the Judicial Planning Working Group earlier this year and has been approved by government.
The Courts Bill 2023 will allow Government to significantly increase the number of judges. Not only will this enable the Courts Service to provide an efficient and fair service, it also paves the way for policy initiatives under the Programme for Government such as the establishment of a dedicated Planning and Environmental Court and for the provisions under the Family Law Bill.”

The Courts Bill 2023, when enacted, will allow for a maximum of 17, up from 16 judges to be appointed to the Court of Appeal; 48, up from 45 judges to be appointed to the High Court; 45, up from 41 judges to be appointed to the Circuit Court; and 71, up from 64 judges to the District Court.

Minister Browne added: “This substantial increase in judicial resources will be complemented by the ongoing implementation of the Courts Modernisation Plan.
My Department is committed to driving a modernisation and Digital First agenda across the entire Justice Sector. We will work with the Courts Service and the Judiciary to deliver a number of important commitments in the Programme for Government which will help ensure that we have a modern Courts Service.”

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