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06.52 15 Dec 2020


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A bill to change the way judges are appointed will be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday by Justice Minister Helen McEntee.

It includes some major changes from what former minister Shane Ross failed to bring through the Oireachtas last year.

The new Judicial Appointments Bill would set up a new commission which would consider applications from both sitting judges for promotion, and from applicants who are not on the bench.

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The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill was published back in 2017 and debated in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The reforms came from a public consultations process on a review of the judicial appointments system in 2014.

Selection procedures including the required skills, attributes and criteria would be published - and the commission could carry out interviews of candidates.

It is proposed the commission be chaired by the Chief Justice, with four lay members and four sitting judges along with the Attorney-General as a non-voting member.

It is understood the panel would recommend a name to the Justice Minister for appointment as a judge, which would then be considered by the Cabinet.

The reforms come after considerable controversy about the way in which Supreme Court Judge Seamus Woulfe was appointed, and questions about the transparency of the process and political involvement in it.


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Attorney General Cabinet Chief Justice Judges Judicial Appointments Judicial Appointments Bill Justice MInister Helen McEntee Oireachtas Seamus Woulfe

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