The judiciary and the Oireachtas


Sir, – Surely those concerned for the separation of powers, which doctrine bars all avoidable involvement by the executive in the judicial organ, would want to end the shadowy rule of practice by which the attorney general has first claim on any judicial vacancy arising in or near their period in office. This supposed, although not always admitted, rule has led to substantial difficulty in three well-known cases in recent years.

A simple way of ending this rule would be to require an incoming attorney general to give a commitment not to apply for any judicial vacancy, until they have left office for at least 12 months.

Now that we have solicitor senior counsel, there is no impediment, even conventional, to the appointment of a solicitor as attorney general. This would widen the pool of talent available and would, therefore, make up for any reduction in the candidates available for the position which might arise from the commitment suggested earlier. – Yours, etc,


Emeritus Professor

of Law,

University College Cork.