Justice Minister says he won’t hesitate to appoint judges while appointments bill is before Seanad

The Presidents of the Court of Appeal have already asked for more judges to deal with a backlog of cases

Justice Minister says he won’t hesitate to appoint judges while appointments bill is before Seanad

Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Justice Minister has said he will not hesitate to fill gaps as the long-awaited Judicial Appointments Bill makes its way through the Seanad.

Charlie Flanagan was speaking at the launch of the Court Service’s annual report for 2017.

The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill passed all stages in the Dáil last May, and is now before the Seanad.

The bill has attracted some controversy, and will change the way judges are appointed by establishing a new body with a lay chairperson.

The Presidents of the Court of Appeal have already asked for more judges to deal with a backlog of cases.

The Chief Justice Frank Clarke today called for more resources to ease the burden.

He said: "Despite utilising all of the resources available to it, there's no doubt that the number of appeals lodged in the Court of Appeal have exceeded the number they have disposed off - and, as a result, waiting times have increased."

The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said the bill should be enacted by the end of the year, and he said he wouldn’t hesitate to appoint more judges as they’re needed before then.

15 were appointed last year and 16 have been appointed so far this year - and Minister Flanagan said the judiciary wouldn’t be left wanting.

He noted: "As we move through the summer, there are more appointments becoming due - and I'm very keen that all appointments will be filled, and we'll have no vacancies in the court."

Minister Flanagan also agreed with Mr Justice Clarke that legislators should make laws clearer and less complex to speed up legal proceedings and make them easier.