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Dublin City and County Courts set for first overhaul in decades

With no change, the Court Services said they will have to cut back services.

Criminal Courts of Justice, Dublin.
Criminal Courts of Justice, Dublin.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A ‘ROOT AND branch’ reorganisation of the District Court sittings and venues in Dublin has been proposed.

This is the first overhaul of the system in the capital in decades, according to the Court Services.

Under the new proposals all criminal matters from Dublin City and County may be centralised in the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street, with what the court services says are “vastly improved facilities for all court users”.

Centralisation

The Courts Service is seeking submissions about the centralisation of criminal business to the CCJ.

The closure of the offices in Swords and Dun Laoghaire and court venues
in Swords, Dun Laoghaire, Balbriggan and Tallaght is proposed.

The creation of two dedicated road traffic courts for Dublin is being proposed, in Blanchardstown courthouse, which will deal with all road traffic summons offences currently dealt with in Chancery Street, Swords, Balbriggan, Dun Laoghaire and Tallaght are to be transferred to the proposed dedicated Road Traffic Act courts in Blanchardstown.

Meanwhile, juvenile business in Blanchardstown, Dun Laoghaire and Tallaght will be transferred to the Children’s Court in Smithfield.

All other business currently dealt with in Swords, Balbriggan, Dun Laoghaire and Tallaght is to be distributed among existing civil/family law courts in the city centre.

Criminal charge sheets from Blanchardstown Court are to be transferred to the CCJ.

Reorganise

The Court Services says that the “failure to reorganise will inevitably lead to disruption and cancellation of court sittings in Dublin”.

They said that the changes will ensure that “future court sittings can be fully supported with our reduced staff and resources, with  several courts in city centre to be freed up for anticipated increases in civil business and the new Court of Appeal…”.

The Court Services added that the changes would maximise court resources as well as providing more courtroom capacity.

The Courts Service said today that the changes they are proposing are a “once in a generation opportunity, to improve the organisation and delivery of District Court business in Dublin”.

Our staff are currently stretched to the limit to meet and maintain existing service levels, and at the same time meet increasing demand. Consequently we must consider restructuring, reorganisation and prioritisation to ensure that a fully functioning court administration is in place for the people of Dublin.

Inconvenience

They said while it is fully accepted that the closure of any court office or venue whether in Dublin or elsewhere will inevitably cause inconvenience for some, these proposals will result in improved services for court users.

With no change, they said, they will have to cut back services.

Extensive consultation with all involved is planned and all submissions received will be given full consideration both by the Building Committee and the Board, said the Court Services.

The Courts Service said they have written to court user groups in Dublin who would be impacted by any changes, to inform them of the proposals to overhaul the manner and location of District Court business in Dublin City and County.

This is the first such review and re-organisation of such services in many years and it follows from a major reorganisation of services throughout the country over the past
four years.

All submissions received from interested parties will be considered by both the Building Committee and the Board. Submissions should be sent to dublinreview@courts.ie.

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