Seanad abolition and court referendums to be held on October 4th
Ireland’s legal reputation ‘in the dock’ over four-year delays in hearing cases, says Minister
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter says Ireland’s legal reputation is ‘in the dock’ over four-year delays in hearing cases.
Two referendums will be held on October 4th after the Seanad today passed a Bill for the creation of a new Court of Appeal.
The Thirty Third Amendment of the Constitution (Court of Appeal) Bill will provide for a referendum, to ask the electorate if they agree with amending the Constitution “for the purpose of establishing a court to be called the Court of Appeal”.
Introducing the Bill, which has already been passed by the Dáil, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said setting up the court was a commitment in the programme for government.
It was necessary because of the lengthy delays in hearing cases, he said.
Supreme Court appeals now take four years to be heard, an increase of one-and-a-half years since 2009 when a group examining the situation reported that delays at the time were two-and-a-half years.
The Minister said citizens had a right recognised in the European Convention on Human Rights to a fair and speedy trial.
The State has already had to pay compensation because of successful cases taken to the European Court because of delays.
Ireland’s reputation “is in the dock” in relation to human rights and the rule of law, he said.
That reputation was also in the dock in relation to international business, he added.
The world of international business “works best where the law is clear, where the judiciary is independent, and where those who find themselves either asserting their rights or defending their actions before the courts can expect to know the final outcome without undue delay.”
He said international investors, all things being equal, “will favour a country with an efficient and effective legal system over one without such a system”.