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Judge Suggests a Judicial Commission to Oversee Judicial Appointments


ger12

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Mr Justice Frank Clarke is reported to have suggested setting up a form of judicial commission to take responsibility for judges’ appointments, their terms and conditions and discipline. This body could include representatives from politics, the law and civil society, with members of the latter group being nominated by the president.

“So far as political representation is concerned, there is an argument for suggesting that it should not be confined to the government of the day but should also include persons nominated by the Oireachtas to ensure that there was reasonable representation for all streams of political thought,” the judge said.

“A more broadly based political representation would, of course, reduce any perception that appointments were made on a party political basis”.

What do yee think?

New body could handle judicial nominations and pay, judge suggests - Crime & Law News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Thu, Apr 11, 2013
New High Court judge has strong links to coalition - Independent.ie
Will ALL new judges have ties to FG/Lab? – NewsScoops.Org - Irish Newspaper Investigations
 

bactrian

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Mr Justice Frank Clarke is reported to have suggested setting up a form of judicial commission to take responsibility for judges’ appointments, their terms and conditions and discipline. This body could include representatives from politics, the law and civil society, with members of the latter group being nominated by the president.

“So far as political representation is concerned, there is an argument for suggesting that it should not be confined to the government of the day but should also include persons nominated by the Oireachtas to ensure that there was reasonable representation for all streams of political thought,” the judge said.

“A more broadly based political representation would, of course, reduce any perception that appointments were made on a party political basis”.

What do yee think?

New body could handle judicial nominations and pay, judge suggests - Crime & Law News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Thu, Apr 11, 2013
New High Court judge has strong links to coalition - Independent.ie
Will ALL new judges have ties to FG/Lab? – NewsScoops.Org - Irish Newspaper Investigations
I read the newspaper report and the online report on the IT website. The IT website report has the full speech given by Mr.Justice Clarke. It is worthwhile reading the whole speech. It is a very measured speech which raises topics for discussion and which acknowledges

"Any proper solution to the problem of marrying independence and accountability requires a real dialogue between those within and without the legal community. That requires lawyers and judges to engage with others, but it also requires engagement, in the other direction, with the legitimate concerns of those in the legal community and, perhaps, an acknowledgement that not all who raise problems do so out of self-interest and that there truly are difficult questions often with no easy answers and which require significant consideration. "

The speech deals with Judicial appointments, Judicial pay , and Judicial misconduct.
 

ger12

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I read the newspaper report and the online report on the IT website. The IT website report has the full speech given by Mr.Justice Clarke. It is worthwhile reading the whole speech. It is a very measured speech which raises topics for discussion and which acknowledges

"Any proper solution to the problem of marrying independence and accountability requires a real dialogue between those within and without the legal community. That requires lawyers and judges to engage with others, but it also requires engagement, in the other direction, with the legitimate concerns of those in the legal community and, perhaps, an acknowledgement that not all who raise problems do so out of self-interest and that there truly are difficult questions often with no easy answers and which require significant consideration. "

The speech deals with Judicial appointments, Judicial pay , and Judicial misconduct.
He certainly seems very measured and clever. I agree, his speech is well worth a read.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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I agree with the principle. Out of curisity, does anybody know who appointed this good judge?
 

Ryan Tubbs

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Any proposal from Frank Clarke is worth considereing
Agreed.

And once this council is set up, 15 mins later we can all start calling Liveline to complain about how the Government has appointed its cronies to the Judicial Commission.....

Round and around we go......
 

corelli

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I agree with the principle. Out of curisity, does anybody know who appointed this good judge?
FF/PD Government. McDowell was the mover behind it. McDowell, with all his faults, made some very good appointments to the superiour courts.

Clarke, along with McMenamen, who was appointed at the same time, are, to be fair, well known FG'rs.
 

borntorum

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FF/PD Government. McDowell was a judge. McDowell, with all his faults, made some very good appointments to the superiour courts.

Clarke, along with McMenamen, who was appointed at the same time, are, to be fair, well known FG'rs.

Whereas the current government seem to have pretty much unanimously selected judges from their own side
 

Aindriu

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The appointment of judges should never be political. Judges are supposed to be apolitical.
 

Ryan Tubbs

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The appointment of judges should never be political. Judges are supposed to be apolitical.
And what about the appointment of the Judicial Commission? Who would appoint them?

I'm presuming politicians should be stripped of that as well. Maybe we can establish a Judicial Commission Appointments Commission?
 

Ryan Tubbs

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The appointment of judges should never be political. Judges are supposed to be apolitical.
The reality is that we have a judiciary in this country which is extraordinarily independent of Government. It's a hangover of sorts from the Brits.

Anyone with any knowledge of our superior courts over the last 30 years couldn't possibly say that the judiciary are in thrall to political parties
 

ProfCalculus

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The reality is that we have a judiciary in this country which is extraordinarily independent of Government. It's a hangover of sorts from the Brits.

Anyone with any knowledge of our superior courts over the last 30 years couldn't possibly say that the judiciary are in thrall to political parties
This is generally true in terms of how the vast majority conduct themselves once appointed.

However, with some exceptions, most appointments have obvious (sometimes not so obvious) connections with the government of the day.

My biggest beef with the current system is not so much the fact that the government takes its pick from a list of seven produced by the current "appointments" board, rather that there is absolutely no interview or selection process employed in coming up with the list of seven names - as I understand it eligible solicitors and barristers (those with at least 10 years' experience) simply fire in an expression of interest. I find it astonishing that there appears to be zero vetting of candidates in the form of even the most rudimentary of interviews.

Notwithstanding this extremely lax selection process, appointments to the Supreme Court and the High Court over the years have, by and large, been of people of very high calibre.

The same is generally true of appointments to the Circuit Court.

However, there have been some absolutely shocking appointments to the District Court. I can think of at least 4 on the District Court bench at the moment who have zero sense of natural justice and who your binman could trump for knowledge of basic legal principles. I've also noticed that the worst tend to have the strongest political connections - stands to reason given that no one in their right minds would see any other good reason for appointing them.

I find it hard to believe that if there was even the most elementary of interview processes in place the four I can think of off the top of my head (I'm sure I'd come up with more if I thought about it) would not have been weeded out before they made it to the Bench, where they have spread untold stress and misery and cost the State tens of millions in slam dunk judicial reviews taken to quash their outrageous judgments/statements. Taking appointments out of the hands of the government of the day would hopefully eliminate any residual risk that patently unsuitable candidates would still worm their way on to the Bench.

So I'm completely with Frank Clarke - make appointment regulation etc. of judges completely independent of government and make candidates undergo rigorous selection and interview processes before appointments are made.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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And what about the appointment of the Judicial Commission? Who would appoint them?

I'm presuming politicians should be stripped of that as well. Maybe we can establish a Judicial Commission Appointments Commission?
Each political party in the Dáil to have two nominations; existing HC and SC judges to have two nominations between them; independents in the Dáil to have one nomination between them.

There's a rough start.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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FF/PD Government. McDowell was the mover behind it. McDowell, with all his faults, made some very good appointments to the superiour courts.

Clarke, along with McMenamen, who was appointed at the same time, are, to be fair, well known FG'rs.
Thanks.
 

Ryan Tubbs

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Each political party in the Dáil to have two nominations; existing HC and SC judges to have two nominations between them; independents in the Dáil to have one nomination between them.

There's a rough start.
Ah. So politics WOULD become a part of it.

Should Fine Gael (36% of the vote) have the same input as the Profit Before People Alliance? And why should either of those parties have the same representation on it as unelected HC and SC judges?

I'm not trying to belittle your view on it, I'm just illustrating the central fact here: this slippery slope we're all on whereby politicians who have a direct democratic mandate are slowly having their decision-making powers eroded and eroded, in favour of unaccountable and unelected civil servants and "independent" worthies.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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Ah. So politics WOULD become a part of it.

Should Fine Gael (36% of the vote) have the same input as the Profit Before People Alliance? And why should either of those parties have the same representation on it as unelected HC and SC judges?

I'm not trying to belittle your view on it, I'm just illustrating the central fact here: this slippery slope we're all on whereby politicians who have a direct democratic mandate are slowly having their decision-making powers eroded and eroded, in favour of unaccountable and unelected civil servants and "independent" worthies.
Input should be equal because everyone is equal before the law.

I should have added that ultimately the nominations should be put to a referendum.

Unelected judges should have a nomination, I feel, because they know what it takes to be a judge.

Any political party will always be free to promise, as part of its manifesto, to have a referendum on the compostion of such a panel of judges.
 

Ryan Tubbs

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Unelected judges should have a nomination, I feel, because they know what it takes to be a judge.

Any political party will always be free to promise, as part of its manifesto, to have a referendum on the compostion of such a panel of judges.
Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

You've just taken a slightly dodgy idea, and made it a hell of a lot worse.......
 

Ryan Tubbs

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Please explain how
You want to remove judicial appointments from politicans.......... but then mix the judiciary with electoral politics by having them directly elected and endorsed by political parties?

Surely you see how utterly disastrous this would be for any notion of judicial independence?
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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You want to remove judicial appointments from politicans.......... but then mix the judiciary with electoral politics by having them directly elected and endorsed by political parties?

Surely you see how utterly disastrous this would be for any notion of judicial independence?
That's not what I'm saying. I am saying that the commission is appointed, based on selections made by political parties - which are themsleves voted on via referendum. At no point would judges be directly elected by politicians, or voted on by the public.
 
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