Inaugural Annual Report of the Supreme Court Launched at NUI Galway

The Chief Justice Mr Justice Frank Clarke with NUI Galway Registrar and Deputy President, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh
Mar 04 2019 Posted: 16:04 CST

Today (Monday, 4 March) marks the launch of the first ever Annual Report of the Supreme Court and the visit of the court to NUI Galway, for court sittings and seminars with students. These events are a part of a drive by the court to bring about an increased visibility of the country’s highest court, along with transparency regarding its work, and an understanding of its role. The televising of aspects of the court in the past year is also part of the efforts to create a familiarity with and access to its work.

In Galway the court will not only hear cases, but will also have professional development seminars with the legal professions and a host of interactions and seminars with the students of the School Law in NUI Galway.

The Chief Justice Mr Justice Frank Clarke today said: “In publishing this inaugural report, it is hoped that the work of the Supreme Court, both inside the courtroom and outside, and both in Ireland and abroad, can be highlighted. I hope that the general public can gain a greater understanding of what it is that the Supreme Court actually does and its role in upholding the Constitution and the law.”

He said that 2018 was a demanding and dynamic year with the Supreme Court determining 157 applications for leave to appeal, disposing of 128 appeals and delivering 91 reserved judgments.  Of the appeals disposed of, 67 were appeals brought under the reformed jurisdiction of the Court which has operated since the establishment of the Court of Appeal. The Court has now effectively disposed of its backlog of legacy cases. 

In 2018, in order to assist the Court of Appeal, the Court also disposed of 42 cases which were returned to the Supreme Court having previously been sent to the Court of Appeal for determination.

Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “We are greatly honoured to welcome the Supreme Court to these historic court sittings at NUI Galway. This is the first time that the Supreme Court will sit outside of a courthouse since the Four Courts reopened in 1932, the first time the court sits in Galway, and only its third time to sit outside of Dublin. I would like to thank the Chief Justice and Judges of the Supreme Court for giving their time so generously by participating in seminars with our students.” 

Dr O’Mahony continued: “The Supreme Court are to be commended for their initiatives to engage with the broader community and with our law students. This engagement demystifies the role of the Court, promotes the rule of law and the concept of open justice. The Supreme Court sittings on campus is a timely and fitting way to celebrate 170 years of teaching law and of legal scholarship here at NUI Galway.”

The Chief Justice said: “It is important to stress that the work of the Supreme Court has evolved significantly in recent years. The establishment of the Court of Appeal in 2014 has changed the structure of the caseload of the Court. Each member of the Court is also engaged in extra-judicial work, outside of hearing appeals and delivering judgments. The Supreme Court of Ireland is a member of no less than ten European and International networks and participation in each of these networks requires extensive judicial resources.”

This international work has increased as a result of Ireland becoming the major Common Law country in the EU, as the UK leaves.

Also for the first time the court is publishing in the report, summaries and notes of the major judgements it gave throughout the year. This will create a ready reference and access to the jurisprudence of the court each year.

The report also notes that it is now possible to file appeals and follow up work and submissions online to the Supreme Court for the first time. This e-court project has just gone live online, and promises ease of access and efficiencies for practitioners.

The report can be viewed at www.courts.ie.

-Ends-

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