Shatter and lawyers welcome appeal court result

Minister for Justice hails ‘vital reform’

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has welcomed the result of the appeal court referendum, saying it would was "vital reform" that would modernise the legal system. He thanked those who voted, noting the "substantial support" reflected in the Yes vote of 65 per cent. He expected the new court to be up and running by autumn next year.

“This is the first major structural reform of our courts system to be incorporated into our Constitution since it was first adopted in 1937,” he said. “It is also a vital reform which will modernise our court structure and ensure that at the highest level our courts operate with greater efficiency.”

The result means the Constitution will be amended so as to remove the requirement that the Supreme Court must issue a single judgment in challenges to the constitutionality of Acts passed by the Oireachtas. In future, the individual judges will be allowed to publish their own judgments in such cases.

Mr Shatter said this would bring greater transparency to the Supreme Court's decisions. Taoiseach Enda Kenny also welcomed the outcome, saying the court would greatly improve the efficiency of the courts system.


The referendum proposal was supported by the main parties and prompted little organised opposition.

In a speech a week before the vote, the Chief Justice Ms Justice Susan Denham stopped short of calling for a Yes vote but said the delays at the Supreme Court were "unsustainable" and had untold costs for society and the economy.

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic is an Assistant Editor of The Irish Times