Monday, July 25, 2011

Justice Denham on Judges' Pay Cuts, New Court of Appeal

The new Chief Justice, Susan Denham, has issued a statement revealing her views on a number of pressing issues. On the proposed referendum to cut pay: “Judge[s] are not, nor have they ever been, opposed to playing their part in sharing the financial pain required of everyone in this difficult time, [w]hile we can be thankful that our children and grandchildren are not going off to war, and that famine is not stalking the land, we are in the midst of a financial storm which has shaken families throughout the country, and imposed enormous stresses upon individuals, families and communities.” Note the choice of words - not opposed, rather than support.

She voiced her support for a court of appeal: “With the growth in the number and complexity of cases coming before the Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeal, the State would be well served by a Court of Appeal; and we need to develop a 21st century infrastructure for the judiciary of Ireland.” It would be huge step in the right direction if the new chief prioritises all aspects of a 21st century court infrastructure while setting up a court of appeal. Requiring written briefs before oral arguments, electronic access to these briefs for the public, getting rid of the costumes ...

On judicial restraint: "In a world of instant communication and commentary the concept of silence may seem unusual, but it is an inherent part of our democratic tripartite system of government. Indeed, in these difficult times the need for an institution of independence and thoughtfulness, with an obligation to maintain the rule of law, is greater than ever,"

She also supported the establishment of a judicial council. It promises to be an interesting tenure.