Speaking today in response to the Government’s approval of the proposal of Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, to increase the number of ordinary judges in the Court of Appeal from nine to fifteen, Chairman of the Council of The Bar of Ireland, Micheál P O’Higgins SC said; “The foundation of the Court of Appeal was a critical step in enhancing the efficiency of the courts system and ensures that only those appeals which raise issues of major public importance or the interests of justice go to the Supreme Court. However, since its establishment in 2014, the Court has been dealing with a significant backlog, in addition to an increase in new appeals with the delay in an ordinary appeal being heard currently at approximately 12 months, and increasing all the time”.
At the time of the Court’s establishment in 2014, Ireland had the lowest number of judges of 47 countries examined by the European Commission at 3 per 100,000 inhabitants, as opposed (for example) to 10 per 100,000 in France or 24.3 per 100,000 in Germany. “Council of The Bar of Ireland has highlighted the need for a significant number of additional judges in the Court of Appeal since 2016 and we welcome this positive step in facilitating the Court to meet its obligations. We urge the Government to ensure the prompt passage of the legislation through the Oireachtas to safeguard the proper administration of justice” concluded Mr O’Higgins SC.