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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 26 June, 2019
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Judge releases 50 people from jury service - because there was no judge or courtroom available

Mr Justice Bernard Barton discharged over 50 people in Dublin’s Four Courts this week.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

A HIGH COURT judge this week hit out at Ireland’s lack of funding for the judiciary.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton discharged over 50 people in Dublin’s Four Courts this week because there was neither a courtroom or a judge available to hear cases.

Speaking during the jury selection, Mr Justice Barton said that he was not in a position to empanel a jury because there was no judge to hear cases.

He told the jurors who had shown up on Tuesday that they were “seeing first-hand the effects of a lack of investment in the administration of justice”.

“I am in the invidious position of having to discharge all of you from your service this week.”

He added that the lack of judges impacted on everyone.

“People like yourselves are inconvenienced…litigants can’t get cases heard. People are expecting to get their trials heard can’t get heard.”

According to the Association of Judges in Ireland:

“Ireland has the lowest number of judges per one hundred thousand inhabitants of 47 countries examined by the European Commission in 2010.”

In total, Ireland has 3.2 judges per 100,000 people – around commensurate with the UK. However in Poland, that number is 27.8 and in Germany it’s 24.3.

Barton’s comments echo those of High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly. Last year, Mr Justice Kelly drew attention to the difficulties in managing High Court lists due to an insufficient number of judges.

In the same week, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, who manages the High Court judicial review and non-jury list, said the failure to fill judicial vacancies means many important cases were not being heard.

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