Chief Justice Susan Denham has said that ethics in the boardroom and in the governance of enterprises, rather than a constant eye on the needs of shareholders, is the way forward to building trust in Ireland's economic sector.

She made her comments at the publication of the 2012 annual report of the Courts Service of Ireland.

The report shows that there was a 50% increase in the number of applications restricting individuals from being company directors and a 350% increase in orders to disqualify company directors.

There were 81 orders made to restrict individuals from being company directors, which was up from 51 in 2011.

Disqualification orders were made involving the directors of 18 companies, compared to four in 2011.

Elsewhere, repossession orders and judgments for the recovery of debts were both down 30%.

However, there was an 82% increase in committal orders to jail people for the non-payment of debts, from 1,051 in 2011 to 1,921 last year.

Domestic violence cases were up by almost 20% last year, mostly in relation to safety and protection orders.

This increase could be explained by changes to eligibility criteria for applications.

Murder cases were down by 20%, drink-driving cases were down by 32%, drug offences were down by 10%, public order offences were down 22% and there was a 30% reduction in juvenile crime cases.

However, the court service said there was a 32% increase in rape cases over two years.

New pub licences granted were up almost 25% and defamation cases also increased.

Court services costs decreased almost 6% last year and 41% since 2008.