Cabinet nominates judges for High Court
THE Government has nominated three senior counsel as judges of the High Court, ahead of the creation of a new 10-judge Court of Appeal.
Deirdre Murphy, a well- known criminal law expert, will be joined on the High Court by personal injuries and arbitration law expert Bernard Barton and competition lawyer Brian Cregan. Mr Barton is a member of Fine Gael in Dun Laoghaire.
He is a supporter of Fine Gael councillor Barry Ward and has, in the past, supported Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor.
The vacancies arise from the recent retirements from the High Court of Mr Justice John Cooke, Mr Justice Eamon de Valera and Ms Justice Maureen Harding Clark.
Up to 15 new judges may be appointed this year.
As well as filling the new vacancies and staffing the Court of Appeal, three senior judges – Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Nial Fennelly and High Court judges Mr Justice Daniel Herbert and Mr Justice Barry White – are due to retire this year on age grounds.
The latest nominations, which were agreed at Cabinet yesterday, come after the deadline passed for submissions to Justice Minister Alan Shatter's Public Consultation on the Judicial Appointments Process.
The Judicial Appointments Review Committee (JARC), chaired by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham, wants the Government to appoint a high-level body to carry out research as part of plans to make a radical improvement in the judicial appointments process.
"Political allegiance should have no bearing on appointments to judicial office," said the JARC in its submission.
The new nominations come amid fears that other senior judges, who have not yet reached full retirement age, will retire early ahead of new reductions in the pensions of high earners.