Website for judges' association goes live
A website for the judges’ representative association becomes operational today. The site – www.aji.ie– will be funded by the Association of Judges of Ireland, set up late last year following controversy over judicial pay and independence.
The site is partly a response to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter’s complaints about the posting on the Courts Service website of a statement by the judiciary expressing their concerns on the referendum to reduce judges’ pay. While intended primarily as an information source, sources say the site is also perceived as an outlet for the judiciary to express views in relevant situations of extreme crisis or controversy.
The need for the site may be reviewed when the proposed judicial council is established on a statutory footing. The association was established following a decision at the November 2011 conference of judges.
Chaired by Mr Justice Peter Kelly, about 95 per cent of the judiciary are members. The initiative arose from a widespread view within the judiciary that their views on the pay referendum and other issues were not being fully represented.
The judges had earlier published a 12-page statement on the referendum on the Courts Service website, courts. ie. It argued political interference in setting pay could interfere with the judiciary’s independence.
The statement remained on the site for days despite the Minister’s complaint. He said he was surprised it was placed on a State-funded site and confirmed he had asked an official in his department to inform the chief executive of the Courts Service that he “did not believe this posting to be appropriate”.