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Court of Appeal sits for the first time, but they already have a 'ready-made backlog'

The President of the Court said it is their goal to keep up to date with current appeals as far as reasonably possible.

THE COURT OF Appeal sat for the first time today, with the President of the Court warning that they have a tough job ahead of them.

“The Court of Appeal comes with a ready-made backlog of civil and criminal cases which represents a formidable challenge,” said Mr Justice Sean Ryan, adding:

Obviously, justice is the essential requirement but efficiency and
justice are complementary not alternatives.

L TO R. Judges Peter Kelly and Sean Ryan Judges Peter Kelly and Sean Ryan with Mary Finlay Geoghegan during the opening of the new court of Appeal. Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

On day one, there are some 146 appeals that are ready for hearing by the Court of Appeal and the court must work to determine those appeals by the end of this term.

“We will shortly begin to progress through the list of 75 certified conviction appeals and will fix dates for all of them to be heard by the end of next term. As we work through this case load, more of the backlog appeals amounting to 220 sentence and 124 conviction cases will be got ready and listed. Meanwhile, current cases will come through the system,” said Mr Justice Ryan.

The opening of the new court of Appeal. The opening of the new Court of Appeal. Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

The Court also has 258 civil cases certified as ready for hearing that are transferred from the Supreme Court’s list plus a much bigger, but as yet unknown number, of the non-certified backlog from that Court that has built up over the years.

B1IxegBIcAA6mUX Taoiseach, Minister Francis Fitzgerald, President Higgins and the Attorney General Máire Whelan with newly appointed Court of Appeal judges. Source: @merrionstreet

Justice Ryan said it is the Court’s goal to keep up to date with current appeals as far as
reasonably possible while at the same time dealing efficiently with the arrears that have been assigned to the new court.

He stated that the Court has an “enormous responsibility” and they are very conscious of that and of the hopes and expectations of everybody who is concerned about justice and the courts.

The new courts are currently sitting in temporary accommodation, but the president said that work has begun on a permanent home in the Four Courts complex.

The Court of Appeal Act which was signed into law by President Higgins in July after the Irish public approved its establishment through a referendum.

Originally published 16:02

Read: Here are the newly appointed Court of Appeal judges who start work next week>

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