Monday 16 July 2018

Cuts mean judges having 'to go abroad to access training'

Chief Justice Mr Frank Clarke. Picture: Collins
Chief Justice Mr Frank Clarke. Picture: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Cutbacks have left the judiciary without a proper training programme, the Chief Justice has said.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke spoke of his embarrassment at having to receive training abroad and said cutbacks meant it was "virtually impossible" to develop IT systems that could provide help and guidance to judges in sentencing.

His remarks, in a speech at NUI Galway yesterday, come amid ongoing concern over inconsistency in sentencing around the country.

Concerns have also been expressed that unduly lenient sentences are being handed down for certain offences, including dangerous driving causing death.

Although he did not refer to these concerns, Mr Justice Clarke said that with the reversal of some financial cuts, plans were now afoot to see how best to correlate and make available information useful to judges.

The chief justice said this, along with a plan for enhanced judicial training, would form part of a proposal for funding which would be submitted to the Government.

Mr Justice Clarke said it had been estimated the current budget for judicial training of €300,000 would need to be quadrupled for a "proper training programme" to be delivered.

It was "a source of some embarrassment", he said, that he and other judges had to go to Scotland for training.

"Scotland, a jurisdiction broadly of our own size and with a similar financial clout, had a much more sophisticated system of training than anything we could offer, thus requiring Irish judges to obtain much of their training abroad," he said.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News