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High Court

New Planning and Environment division of the High Court established

The Department of Justice said this new division of the High Court is a ‘key commitment in the Housing for All Strategy’.

A NEW DIVISION of the High Court has been established to deal with planning and environmental cases.

The Department of Justice said the change will improve the delivery of housing, infrastructure and environmental commitments through greater efficiencies.

The Department added that the new planning and environment division of the High Court was a “key commitment in the Housing for All Strategy”.

The move has been welcomed by Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Minister of State with responsibility for Law Reform, James Browne.

The court has been operating on an administrative basis for a number of months but a ceremonial first sitting this morning will mark its full establishment as a High Court Division.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the new division of the High Court will “help us improve the delivery of housing by reducing planning delays” and described it as a “much needed reform”.

McEntee added that it will “also allow for greater efficiency and specialism in the handling of litigation relating to planning and environmental matters, particularly judicial reviews”.

She remarked that dealing with these cases in an “effective and efficient manner is key to enabling the State’s delivery of housing and infrastructure, while also protecting the environment”.

The new High Court division will become fully operational after the assignment of a third additional High Court judge to the area, and follows the appointment of 24 additional judges this year to increase resources in the Courts.

Minister Browne said the assignment of three judges to the Planning and Environment Court is “crucial to support increased capacity and flexibility”.

Cases will now be heard by the three judges who have been assigned to the new Court Division. 

The new Division will replace and expand the scope of the “Commercial, Planning and Environmental List” of the High Court, which became operational on 17 April.

It also has an expanded scope which includes planning, transport, water, climate, natural heritage, built heritage, waste, mineral exploration, the marine, agriculture and pollution.

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