Sunday 22 January 2017

Chief Justice lashes out at lack of a judicial watchdog

Published 26/09/2016 | 02:30

Chief Justice Susan Denham said the lack of a judicial council was damaging Ireland’s reputation internationally. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Chief Justice Susan Denham said the lack of a judicial council was damaging Ireland’s reputation internationally. Photo: RollingNews.ie

The country's most senior judge has lashed out at the failure of successive governments to put in place a judicial watchdog.

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Chief Justice Susan Denham said the lack of a judicial council was damaging Ireland's reputation internationally.

A council was proposed 20 years ago as a means of setting standards for judicial conduct and ethics and providing a mechanism to handle complaints about judges.

"This significant institutional vacuum is a matter for real concern," Ms Justice Denham said in a statement marking the beginning of the new legal year.

"The failure to progress this institutional reform with the urgency it deserves weighs heavily, both on relations between the judiciary and the executive, and on the State's reputation internationally."

The Chief Justice noted that while proposals for a judicial council were contained in a draft Programme for Government, they were missing from the final partnership document between Fine Gael and Independents. She said a Judicial Council Bill appeared to have been demoted on the list of legislation the present Government is seeking to enact.

There has been some movement, with a Seanad motion calling for the introduction of legislation for a council.

Irish Independent

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