Published 1st October 2020. Updated 2nd October 2020.
Non-statutory Review by Ms Justice Susan Denham for the Supreme Court arising out of the attendance of Mr Justice Seamus Woulfe at an event in the west of Ireland on the 19th August 2020 (“The Review”).
The key functions of the Judicial Council include promoting and maintaining public confidence in the judiciary and the administration of justice. In light of the exceptional circumstances of the particular situation considered in the Review, and given public concern, the Board of the Judicial Council decided to give an indemnity to Ms Justice Denham in respect of her work in carrying out the Review in relation to her legal expenses and any litigation which may ensue.
While such an indemnity is a standard feature of non-statutory reviews, this also made it possible for this process to be concluded and to enable the Board to consider publication of the Report. The Board considers that publication is consistent with its statutory functions and conversely not to publish would have had an adverse impact on these same functions. Therefore the Board of the Judicial Council has decided to publish the Report. The Board has not yet had an opportunity to fully consider all of the Appendices to the Report. In order to facilitate publication in early course, those which are specifically referred to in the Report are included at this juncture and further Appendices will be reviewed with a view to deciding on publication.
The Board would like to thank Ms Justice Denham for her work in carrying out this review. The Judicial Council intends to implement the recommendations made by Ms Justice Denham in relation to the development of Judicial Conduct and Judicial Ethical Guidelines and an introductory programme for newly appointed judges at the earliest opportunity. Prior to the receipt of the Report, work had commenced by the Judicial Conduct Committee and the Judicial Studies Committee respectively in respect of both of those areas.
The Board will not be issuing any further comment.
2nd October 2020:
Links to the Appendices referred to by Ms Justice Denham in her report are set out below, with the following exceptions:
Appendix D – Transcript of 8th September 2020 – redactions on Page 82 and Page 110 for legal reasons
Appendix F – Transcript of 25th September 2020 – not published as it relates to legal argument and submissions on a draft report