Seanad debates

Wednesday, 20 March 2024

Court Proceedings (Delays) Bill 2023: Second Stage


12:00 pm

Photo of Robbie GallagherRobbie Gallagher (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

The Minister of State is very welcome to the House today to debate the Court Proceedings (Delays) Bill 2023. I thank him for outlining the general draft of the Bill. It is imperative in any society that citizens have access to the courts in a prompt timeframe and that courts will be properly resourced. Having an efficient court system that provides timely access to justice is of central importance to any society. The courts exist to protect our rights and uphold the rule of law. At some stage we are likely to have some interaction with the courts system, and when we do, it is important we experience an efficient, fair and timely service that is equally accessible to all.

As the Minister of State outlined, this particular Bill flows from McFarlane v. Ireland in which the applicant took a case to the European Court of Human Rights regarding unjustified delays in criminal proceedings against him. The court in that case ruled against Ireland under Articles 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Bill has two functions, as the Minister of State outlined. First, it implements an effective remedy for breach of ECHR Article 6 right to the conclusion of legal proceedings within a reasonable timeframe. Second, it provides a remedy for breaches to the constitutional and common law right to trial with reasonable expedition. It does this through the creation of a statutory right to conclusion of proceedings within a reasonable timeframe.


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