Judicial Appointments Bill deeply flawed

 

Sir, – The ongoing farce that is the never-ending debate on the deeply flawed Judicial Appointments Bill resumes today in the Seanad.

The Bill is simply genuflection in the direction of political bombast and a symbol of the political impotence of a minority Government dependent on the support of the self-styled Independent Alliance.

The Bill, if ever enacted, will implement no meaningful substantive court reform that will benefit the public nor will it address any of the major deficiencies within our legal system.

If the Bill’s advocates and the Government were truly committed to public-interest legal and court reform, priority would have been given to the implementation of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015, most of which has not yet been commenced and is mired in a legal limbo, the enactment of the Judicial Council Bill to address issues of alleged judicial misconduct, a further increase in the number of judges to reduce undue delay in the hearing and determination of court cases, and the creation of a separate unified system of family courts with specialist assessment and mediation services attached to them.

A further public-interest reform would be to end the scandal of allowing the members of the Independent Alliance operate as a political party while continuing to facilitate each member of the Alliance to receive annually as an “independent”, a substantial tax-free Dáil allowance that is not paid to any TD who is a member of a political group properly registered as a political party. – Yours, etc,

ALAN SHATTER,

Dublin 16.