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ÉIRE NUA FACT SHEET 4

AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY 

The Éire Nua (New Ireland) proposal includes as one of its fundamental principles, an independent judicial system. The reason for this is to prevent abuses of governmental powers, common to the present system. Over the years since British rule ended, successive Irish governments have adopted repressive legislation to silence protest and political dissent. The present-day Supreme Court has been reluctant to subject such legislation to judicial review, in fact it has been supportive and a willing party to its implementation.

The Supreme Court would be vested with the judicial power of the nation. The Court would be the final interpreter of the meaning of the Constitution, and as such would exercise the power of judicial review to ensure that legislation and/or the exercise of executive powers would not violate the Constitution. In order to ensure the independence of the Supreme Court under the Éire Nua proposal, the Court would have equal status to the legislative and executive branches of government

As head of an independent judicial system, the Court would be the ultimate tribunal in the nations court system. Within the framework of litigation, the Court would mark the boundaries of authority between the national, provincial and local levels of government, and between the government and the citizen. Nominees to the Supreme Court would be selected by the President and confirmed by the national parliament, Dáil Éireann. The term of office for Supreme Court justices would be to mandatory retirement age unless they are removed from office for cause. Removal from office for cause would be by a two-thirds vote of Dáil Éireann.

Appeal Courts would be established at the national level and in each of the provinces to review criminal and civil cases appealed from lower courts or courts of original jurisdiction. Each of the Courts would consist of at least three sitting judges, to hear and rule on appeals with respect to points of law and rules of evidence.

Nominees to the Court operating at the national level would be selected by the President and confirmed by Dáil Éireann. Nominees to the Courts operating at the provincial level would be selected by Provincial Administrators and confirmed by the provincial parliament. The term of office for Appeal Courts judges would be to mandatory retirement age unless they are removed from office for cause. In that case, judges operating at the national level would be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of Dáil Éireann and judges operating at the provincial level would be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of their respective provincial parliament.

The Central Court system would consist of a Central Criminal Court and an Administrative Court and would be established at the national level. The Central Criminal Court would be the court of original jurisdiction for cases involving civil rights, sedition, extradition, and official corruption. The Administrative Court would rule on issues of administrative law such as consumer protection, taxation, currency, trade and commerce, environmental protection and public safety.

Nominees to the Central Court system would be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Dáil Éireann. The term of office for judges would be until they reach mandatory retirement age unless they are removed from office for cause. Removal from office for cause would be by a two-thirds vote of Dáil Éireann.

The Circuit Court system would consist of courts of original jurisdiction operating at the provincial level for criminal, civil and family court cases. In order to bring the judicial system close to the people, courts would be set-up in each of the province’s regions. All cases brought before these courts, with the exception of family court cases, would be tried before a jury of peers.

Nominees to the Circuit Court system would be selected by the Provincial Administrators and confirmed by the respective provincial parliament. The term of office for Circuit Court judges would extend to mandatory retirement age unless they are removed from office for cause. Removal from office for cause would be a two-thirds vote of their respective provincial parliament.

District Courts would be established at the district level to handle misdemeanor cases such as traffic and ordinance violations, punishable by fines and/or loss of driving privileges. These courts would be presided over by magistrates appointed to office by local councils to predetermined terms.

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