Six new judges for Court of Appeal to help cut waiting times for cases

Delays of almost two years for civil cases to be heard

The Court of Appeal inherited a large volume of work from the Supreme Court when it was established as a new court in 2014, while it is also dealing with significant numbers of new cases.

The Court of Appeal inherited a large volume of work from the Supreme Court when it was established as a new court in 2014, while it is also dealing with significant numbers of new cases.

 

The Government has pledged to cut waiting times for Court of Appeal cases by appointing an additional six judges.

While there is a six-month average waiting time for criminal cases, it takes an average of almost two years for civil cases to be heard.

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has welcomed approval by Government of new legislation which will see the overall number of judges in the court rise to 16.

“This will address the waiting times for cases and improve efficiency in the appeals process and in the administration of justice overall,” Mr Flanagan said.

He said both the President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Justice had made the case that additional judges were needed to tackle delays in cases coming before the courts and the consequential negative impact on access to justice and costs.

The Court of Appeal inherited a large volume of work from the Supreme Court when it was established as a new court in 2014, while it is also dealing with significant numbers of new cases.

Mr Flanagan said that while current waiting times for criminal cases were “an acceptable six months”, he said he did not want to see a situation where waiting times reached levels last seen in the Supreme Court prior to 2014.

“At that point, waiting times for civil cases were over four years,” he said.

The current waiting time for civil cases to be heard is approximately 20 months.

A new bill provides for the amendment of the relevant primary legislation to allow for the number of judges in the Court of Appeal to increase. It is due to will be published under the relevant procedures in the coming days.

At present, the Court of Appeal consists of a president and nine ordinary judges.

Appeal cases from the Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeal were transferred to the new Court of Appeal and it commenced hearing cases in November 2014.