Legislation allowing for a complaints procedure to deal with alleged misconduct by judges comes into effect today.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has signed the commencement order bringing into operation the remaining provisions of the 2019 Judicial Council Act.

She said this would facilitate complaints about judicial conduct by members of the public for the first time in the history of the State.

The new procedure will allow a complaint to be made about a judge within three months of the alleged misconduct.

A complaint can be made by any person who is directly affected or who witnessed the alleged misconduct.

If it is admissible, it will be referred to the judicial conduct committee, made up of judges and lay people.

If the complaint cannot be resolved by informal means, it will be investigated by a panel of inquiry who will report back to the committee.

The committee can recommend action including the issuing of a reprimand to a judge in the form of issuing advice, recommending the judge takes certain action or admonishing the judge.

In the case of the most serious instances of misconduct, it can make a referral to the Minister for Justice under article 35.4 of the Constitution which allows for the removal of a judge on the grounds of "stated misbehaviour or incapacity" following resolutions passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The minister said the judiciary had provided "superb service" since the foundation of the State.

She said maintaining and strengthening public confidence in the judiciary was crucial.