Monday 27 January 2020

Appeal result paves way for court reform

Four Courts
Four Courts
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

THE most radical shake-up of the Irish courts system since the foundation of the State will soon get under way after voters overwhelmingly endorsed the proposal for a new appeals court.

The Court of Appeal referendum was passed by a two-to-one majority.

The result was welcomed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said the new court, which will stand between the High and Supreme Courts, will "greatly improve the efficiency of the system".

The referendum was passed by 369,961 votes. In all, 795,008 voted in favour of the new appeal court and 425,047 against.

From a 39.15 per cent turnout, that gave a Yes result of 65.16 per cent against a No of 34.84 per cent.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said he was delighted with the result, adding that it was clear there was a requirement for the new court.

One surprise from the ballot was the number of spoiled votes, which totalled 20,080.

Galway City councillor Catherine Connolly said the result had "renewed her faith in democracy".

She added: "It is a great result. It has been clearly set out by the Chief Justice that there is a four-year delay and justice delayed is justice denied."

The news comes a week after Chief Justice Susan Denham criticised the current system as being both "indefensible and unsustainable".

The result will eliminate the current four-and-a-half-year backlog in cases being heard by the Supreme Court. It will also allow the Supreme Court to concentrate more on cases of national and constitutional importance.

Sunday Independent

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