Seanad debates

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017: Committee Stage (Resumed)


10:30 am

Photo of David NorrisDavid Norris (Independent) | Oireachtas source

Absolutely. The same principle emerges with regard to amendment No. 91e which states:

Nothing in this Act shall require the Government or the Minister to make any statement or explanation to the Houses of the Oireachtas in relation to its advice to the President in respect of any person for appointment to any judicial office, whether or not the person was a person recommended by the Commission for appointment under this Act.

Senator Craughwell spoke about circumstances where the person was recommended. Far more significant is the circumstance where the person is not recommended. While I believe the Minister is in large part in agreement with us on this issue, I ask him to contemplate a particular situation as it would be more economical if it was accepted at this point. This is, once again, a case of live horse and one will get grass, with the Minister saying he will introduce an amendment. We have, therefore, a hypothetical amendment overshadowing discussions of a specific and particular amendment. I am not sure that is good practice. Let us consider a situation where a High Court judge makes an application to be appointed to the Supreme Court, the Government decides not to appoint him and then gives the reasons for not appointing him. Obviously, these must involve some defect of character, legal training or expertise or related to previous bad judgments in court cases and so on. How on earth would that judge go back to his role in the High Court because he would be discredited and his reputation completely damaged? How could he operate properly as a judge of the High Court in those circumstances? I urge the Minister to accept the amendment at this point.


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