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McEntee to scrap board after Woulfe controversy



Minister Helen McEntee

Minister Helen McEntee

Minister Helen McEntee

Justice Minister Helen McEntee is to bring proposals to Cabinet to abolish the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board (JAAB) in the wake of controversy over Séamus Woulfe's appointment.

"I will shortly seek the approval of the Government for a judicial appointments commission bill, providing for the establishment of a new commission to replace the JAAB," Ms McEntee said.

"The Programme for Government contains a commitment to reforming the judicial appointments process and I intend to bring forward new legislation to do this very quickly."

There are currently three vacancies on the national courts: one on the Supreme Court, one on a Circuit Court and one on a District Court.

The vacancies on the Circuit and District Courts will be filled as soon as possible, Ms McEntee said, while it is practice to maintain a vacancy on the Supreme Court due to the reduction in waiting times achieved there in recent years.


She said that at a meeting with the Chief Justice last week, he had "restated to me that there was no urgent need for this vacancy to be filled".

The minister said the lower court vacancies would be filled in the meantime.

A request will be made to JAAB for a list of candidates for appointment and the names of all those who applied, she said.

"The JAAB recommendations are considered along with any expressions of interest from serving judges and all judges eligible for appointment," Ms McEntee said.

"I then submit a memorandum for Government to the Cabinet agenda, at which point the Cabinet agrees on a nominee for appointment by the President."

She said she was committed to creating a new commission to replace the JAAB "as quickly as possible".

"It needs reform," she said.

"It is important that we pass new legislation as quickly as possible, but people must have confidence in this process."