Gerard Hogan nominated to Supreme Court by Government

Procedures approved to appoint chief justice to succeed Frank Clarke

The Government has nominated Mr Justice Gerard Hogan to the Supreme Court and also approved the procedures to appoint the next chief justice when the current holder of the office, Frank Clarke, retires later this year.

Mr Justice Hogan is currently the advocate general of the European Court of Justice, but will return home to join the Supreme Court once his appointment is made by the President.

He previously served as a judge of the Court of Appeal and the High Court, and was a well-known senior counsel and legal academic for many years.

Mr Justice Hogan, a native of Tipperary, holds doctorates from UCD and Trinity College Dublin and has written a number of core legal textbooks, including one on the Constitution.

He was associated with liberal causes, including the anti-apartheid movement, in the 1980s, and was also involved with the Progressive Democrats.

Mr Justice Clarke is due to retire in October when he turns 70. The Government has appointed the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Declan Morgan, to the advisory committee that will consider candidates to replace him.

The committee also includes Jane Williams, a former head of the Top Level Appointments Commission, and Attorney General Paul Gallagher. It will make recommendations for consideration by the Government, although it is not obliged to accept such recommendations when making the appointment.

Government adverts

In adverts published on Wednesday seeking expressions of interest to succeed Mr Justice Frank Clarke when he turns 70, the Government calls on prospective candidates to present a written statement and a medical report saying they are suitable on health grounds.

Candidates must have demonstrated a “very high level of intellectual, legal and analytical ability,” the advert states.

Prospective candidates have been told to submit their expressions of interest by May 6th to Martin Fraser, secretary general to the Government.

Supreme Court judge Donal O'Donnell is seen as the favourite for the State's top judicial post. Other possible contenders include the president of the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine; Supreme Court judges Elizabeth Dunne and Iseult O'Malley; and the president of the Court of Appeal, George Birmingham.

The statement sought from prospective candidates cannot exceed 1,500 words and it must set out how they meet specific legal, leadership and personal criteria.

In addition to demonstrating high intellectual ability, candidates must have an established record of adjudicating very complex and high-profile cases. They must also have a “very thorough” understanding of the interaction between the legislative, executive and judicial organs of government and the role of the Supreme Court.

The Government said prospective candidates must have demonstrated integrity and independence of mind. They must have good communication skills and have “displayed very good judgment and an ability to work under pressure”.