THIS morning, judges and lawyers will gather at two churches in Dublin to celebrate the 'Red Mass', where the Holy Ghost is asked to bestow wisdom on the legal profession.
The Catholic and Protestant religious services mark the beginning of the new legal year – the last before the introduction of the new Court of Appeal.
There was no confusion surrounding the passing of the Court of Appeal Referendum, with 65pc voting in favour of the introduction of the new interim court.
The Court of Appeal is designed to strip the Supreme Court of its kitchen sink status and shrink it in size.
Unlike other Supreme Courts, which hear only cases of major constitutional or public importance, the Irish final court of appeal has no filtering mechanism.
The new Court of Appeal is designed to clear a chronic four-year backlog the Supreme Court – with a significant amount of its caseload consumed by unrepresented lay litigants – is waiting to clear.
At present, eight judges sit on the Supreme Court and two new judges (High Court judges Mary Laffoy and Elizabeth Dunne) will be shortly sworn in to deal with the debilitating backlog.
The swell in Supreme Court judges is a temporary measure and one that will recede in the coming years through natural attrition.
Former Chief Justice John Murray is due to retire in 2015 and his Supreme Court colleague Nial Fennelly will retire next year.
The current Chief Justice, Susan Denham, will retire in 2017.
What opposition there was to the referendum on the change centred principally on charges that it would result in more jobs for lawyers.
The reform will lead to the creation of 10 new judicial posts, but the cost to the society and the economy of a backed-up Supreme Court should outweigh the €3m cost of the new court.
The Court of Appeal will transform the judicial hierarchy and the president of that court will, in effect, become the deputy Chief Justice, displacing the president of the High Court as the second in command.
The cost implications of the Court of Appeal have yet to be detailed by Justice Minister Alan Shatter who, separately, has crossed swords with the judiciary over a host of issues including independence, pay and pensions.
The reforms will also reignite questions surrounding the transparency of the judicial appointments process.