The Judicial Council was established on 17th December 2019 pursuant to the Judicial Council Act 2019.
The four main pillars of the Judicial Council’s remit are to achieve:
- excellence in the performance of judicial functions,
- high standards of conduct among Judges,
- an independent Judiciary, and
- public confidence in the judiciary and in the administration of justice.
The Council is an independent body whose members are all of the judges in Ireland and who constitute a separate and independent branch of Government.
Section 7 of the Judicial Council Act 2019 sets out the functions of the Judicial Council as being to promote and maintain:
- (a) excellence in the exercise by judges of their judicial functions;
- (b) high standards of conduct among judges, having regard to the principles of judicial conduct requiring judges to uphold and exemplify judicial independence, impartiality, integrity, propriety (including the appearance of propriety), competence and diligence and to ensure equality of treatment to all persons before the courts;
- (c) the effective and efficient use of resources made available to judges for the purposes of the exercise of their functions;
- (d) continuing education of judges,
- (e) respect for the independence of the judiciary, and
- (f) public confidence in the judiciary and the administration of justice.
The Judicial Council is made up of the following members:
- The Chief Justice and the ordinary members of the Supreme Court
- The President of the Court of Appeal and the ordinary members of the Court of Appeal
- The President of the High Court and the ordinary members of the High Court
- The President of the Circuit Court and the ordinary members of the Circuit Court
- The President of the District Court and the judges of the District Court
The Board of the Judicial Council performs the functions of the Council on its behalf.
The Board is comprised of the following 11 members:
- The Chief Justice and each of the four Presidents
- One judge elected by and from the judges of each of the five jurisdictions
- One additional judge co-opted by the Board
The Judicial Council Act 2019 provides for a number of Committees to be set up to deal with specific areas of work. These are the Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee, the Judicial Studies Committee, and the Sentencing Guidelines Committee.
It also provides for the establishment of Judicial Support Committees for each of the 5 jurisdictions. The function of a Judicial Support Committee will be to advise and assist the Council in the performance of its functions under the Judicial Council Act regarding matters relevant to that jurisdiction. The Council may establish such further Committees as may be required to support it in the performance of its functions.
At the first meeting of the Judicial Council on 7th February 2020 dates were specified for the establishment of the various Committees of the Council. Those dates are as follows:
- Judicial Studies Committee: 10th February 2020
- Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee: 28th April 2020
- Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee: 30th June 2020
- Judicial Conduct Committee: 30th June 2020
- Five Judicial Support Committees: 31st March 2020
- Judicial Support and Welfare Committee: 10th February 2020
Updates on the establishment and work of the Committees will be published from time to time on this website.
A Judicial Council embodying excellence and high standards of conduct by an independent judiciary, achieving public confidence in the administration of justice.