AJI holds talks with Attorney General over judicial independence concerns

Wednesday 17 April 2013 23.19
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The Chief Justice has announced the establishment of a new forum to resolve the difficulties between the Government and the judiciary
The Chief Justice has announced the establishment of a new forum to resolve the difficulties between the Government and the judiciary
Mrs Justice Susan Denham said it was clear new structures were needed
Mrs Justice Susan Denham said it was clear new structures were needed

The Association of Judges of Ireland has said that it is satisfied after holding talks with Attorney General Máire Whelan that its concerns about judicial independence are "fully understood" and that "progress will be made by mutual co-operation in resolving issues".

AJI President Mr Justice Peter Kelly said: "the meeting was cordial and fruitful,"

"As a result, the AJI is satisfied that its concerns are fully understood and that progress will be made by mutual co-operation in resolving issues." he said.

The Chief Justice has announced the establishment of a new forum to resolve the difficulties between the Government and the judiciary.

Ms Justice Susan Denham said a more regular forum for communication had been set up because of the concerns expressed by judges in recent times.

The establishment of a Court of Appeal is among many of the topics raised at constructive meetings with the Minister for Justice in relation to future developments and reforms in the courts.

A number of meetings have taken place, the most recent on Monday, but it remained confidential until now.

Along with the Chief Justice and the Attorney General, the new forum, described as a working group for renewal, will include the secretary general to the Government and other judges.

She also plans to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny "in due course".

Ms Justice Denham said while she has had constructive discussions with the Taoiseach, the discussions focused on matters relevant to the executive and the judiciary.

She said that the normal conduit between the judiciary and the executive was the Attorney General.

"That avenue of contact continues as a positive and proper route," she said.

However, she also said it was clear new structures were needed.

Speaking to the Law Society at Griffith College in Dublin, the Chief Justice acknowledged that "there are currently issues of serious concern to the judiciary".

She said these "have been highlighted in recent days by some members of the judiciary".

Ms Justice Denham paid tribute to the energy and commitment of the judges of Ireland, saying they showed an enormous willingness to change and to accept more work with fewer resources.

She added that the Court of Appeal is one of a number of matters she discussed with the Taoiseach.