Supreme Court president opposes shortage of judges, says 20 more people needed to settle backlog

A senior member of the judiciary countered her position with the Government on the shortage of judges, claiming that 18 to 20 more people were still needed to settle the backlogs at the High Court. high.

s Justice Mary Irvine, president of the Supreme Court, said the court has “collected” in cases across all its divisions.

The comments come as she addresses a preliminary issue in former Rehab Group CEO Angela Kerins’ punitive damages claim against Dáil.

Justice Irvine said that due to a lack of judges, the court tried to shorten the hearings where paper submissions were filed.

Her comments are the latest in a row on judicial resources, and they come as a working group is preparing a report on the number and type of judges needed to ensure proper governance. effective justice in the next 5 years.

Last July, Ms Justice Irvine said she was “speechless” when her request for up to 20 new judges to clear the court backlogs aggravated by the pandemic had been met. with only 5 nominees.

In response, Heather Humphreys, who was then acting Attorney General, asserted the increase was one of the largest “in recent memory” and said each new judge would cost €370,000 annually. salaries, allowances and support staff.

The controversy was exacerbated last October when, following delays in issuing orders to appoint five judges, Justice Irvine said multiple trials, including rape and murder cases , will have to be cancelled.

Subsequent subpoenas were issued to four of the five nominees.

At the Supreme Court yesterday, Ms. Kerins’ attorney John Rogers SC said a hearing on the search moves would take two days. Justice Irvine questioned the need for a two-day hearing.

“As you know, the court is short of about 18 or 20 judges right now and we have arrears across all departments,” the judge said.

“We are trying to come to a situation where every case is made in the shortest possible time that is reasonable and consistent with fair and proper administration. So we’re really trying to make sure that in the event that we have a legal submission, where all the documents will be read first, that we’re allocating the hearing time as short as possible. good. ”

Justice Irvine agreed to a two-day hearing after being told both sides were moving, but could not set a date there and after.

“Part of the problem for me is that we currently have commitments to about nine provincial sites during this time period and we are very short of judges in Dublin,” she said.

In 2019, the Supreme Court found the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) acted generally unlawful in the treatment of Ms. Kerins at two hearings in 2014. The case has now been referred back to the court. to the High Court to decide whether she is entitled to damages.

Dáil declined to participate in non-binding mediation on the matter, and a full hearing is expected later this year.

The Supreme Court said that while Ms. Kerins was invited to the PAC to discuss her salary and the operation of state-funded programs, at least three members of the committee “departed.” significantly”.

She was questioned about other matters, including Rehab’s employees’ salaries and whether her predecessor Frank Flannery had commercial relations with Rehab.

Ms Kerins claims she suffered a “tsunami of torture” and then tried to take her own life but survived after she was found by a colleague. Supreme Court president opposes shortage of judges, says 20 more people needed to settle backlog

Fry Electronics Team

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