FORMER Attorney General Rory Brady has been tipped as a favourite to become a Supreme Court judge following the appointment of Judge Nicholas Kearns as President of the High Court.
Last night the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board, the body that recommends judicial nominees to the Government, placed advertisements inviting solicitors and barristers to apply to become a Supreme Court judge.
According to legal sources, the JAAB advertisement indicates that the Cabinet may exercise a rare option to go outside the ranks of the judiciary and appoint a Senior Counsel directly to the Supreme Court, where judges earn €244,173 a year.
Mr Brady and Senior Counsel Donal O'Donnell, a constitutional law expert and one of the country's most outstanding advocates, have both emerged as potential favourites -- according to their law library colleagues -- to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy.
Last night, the JAAB notice was placed on the Courts Service website as the Government formally announced that it has nominated Judge Kearns as High Court President.
Formal notification of the nomination comes weeks before the vacancy actually arises on October 27 when the serving President of the High Court Mr Justice Richard Johnson retires.
Legal practitioners say the Government may have been anxious to fill the post before the crucial Green party convention this weekend.
High Court Judge Frank Clarke has been also been widely tipped to succeed Judge Kearns in the Supreme Court owing to his chairmanship of the Lisbon Referendum Commission and his forensic dismissal of developer Liam Carroll's second bid for court protection.
Practitioners, however, say his skills are needed in the Commercial Court, which is facing a deluge of multi million euro actions because of the economic downturn.