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Judges will skip holiday to deal with big backlog

SOME of the State's judges are to work through their traditional holiday in September in a bid to reduce the backlog of appeal cases.

The courts usually close during August and September, but this year the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeal – which have waiting lists of four years and 15 months respectively – will hear cases.

The move comes just over a week after Justice Minister Alan Shatter complained about the length of judicial holidays.


He questioned "the appropriateness of a court vacation period which at least formally incorporates the entirety of August and September".

However, Chief Justice Susan Denham said that September sittings were "a pro-active measure" by the judges who wanted to tackle the significant delays

in hearing appeals.

"It is part of our ongoing efforts to lessen delays," she said. The Supreme Court was due to rise from July 31 to October 7.

Last night Mr Shatter welcomed the move.

He said: "The lengthy waiting periods being experienced by people who are awaiting appeals before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal has been of concern and contributed to the Government's recent decisions to appoint additional Supreme Court judges and propose a constitutional amendment to provide for a permanent Court of Appeal.

"This measure on the part of the judiciary will alleviate the delays and help to ensure that citizens' right of access to justice is upheld."

It also emerged over the weekend that Judge Mary Ellen Ring, who was recently appointed to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, has caused some problems by working late into the evenings.

While traditionally the circuit court day runs from 10.30am to 4pm, Judge Ring often sits past 7pm.

This is reported to have created issues for civil servants, prison officers and solicitors.