A warning from the bench
Sir, – I understand from Fiach Kelly’s report (August 18th) that the Taoiseach sought legal advice on whether he could publish the contents of a letter signed by the former chief justice and the presidents of the Court of Appeal, High Court, Circuit Court and District Courts.
Who was left to ask? – Yours, etc,
Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
Sir, – The judges claim the new system for appointments would be an “expensive, cumbersome and unwieldy process”. That sounds a bit rich coming from members of the legal profession. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – You report on the judges’ continuing concerns over the Government’s proposals to change the procedure for judicial appointments. They believe that these will be “harmful to the administration of justice”.
In May 1882, following the Phoenix Park murders, the government published a Bill making provision for non-jury trials for specified serious crimes. A meeting of the judges adopted a resolution recording their opinion that this “would seriously impair the public confidence in the administration of justice in Ireland”.
The government was not prepared to amend the Bill to acknowledge the judges’ concern. However, the implementation of the relevant section in the new law, once enacted, was postponed and never actually brought into operation. A score draw, and perhaps a middle way? – Yours, etc,