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Sinn Féin publishes bill to end 'political appointment' of judges

The Bill seeks to reform the way in which individuals are selected for appointments to the judiciary by the Judicial Appointments Board.

LEGISLATION PUBLISHED THIS week has sought to end the system of political appointees being made judges in Ireland.

The Reform of Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013, tabled by Sinn Féin’s Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD, is designed to amend the way in which the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board operates in order to “increase transparency and accountability in judicial appointments”.

“Confidence in the justice system is contingent on a judiciary which is free from political control or political or other bias. It is essential that there is an independent and impartial judiciary which is representative of the community it serves,” said Mac Lochlainn.

Mac Lochlainn said that a “truly representative judiciary” would enhance confidence in the justice system, promote the development of a non-partisan judiciary, and therefore promote a culture of judicial independence.

He said that future judicial appointments should be drawn from a wide pool of qualified candidates that fully represent the community in order to “eradicate the corrosive and unaccountable system of patronage”.

“We cannot allow a ‘jobs for the boys’ attitude to permeate something so fundamentally important as the administration of justice in this State and this bill is one part of a range of measures that we intend to propose,” Mac Lochlainn said. “As well as increasing transparency and accountability in the appointment of judges, we also want to see a judicial council and complaints body that will hold judges to account, as well as a Code of Ethics that they should abide by.”

Read: Commission: Legal services are still too expensive in Ireland

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