287. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the backlog of cases on the courts asylum list; the number of such cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21501/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions. Furthermore, the scheduling of court cases and the allocation of court business are matters for the Presidents of the Courts and the presiding judges who are, under the Constitution, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has advised that the President of the High Court keeps waiting times under ongoing review. The Courts Service works with the President and the judiciary to improve waiting times and where specific issues are identified, resources are targeted at areas of greatest need.
The Courts Service has further advised that asylum cases require a two stage process which include applications for leave to take a judicial review, and then the hearing of the substantive Judicial Review.
I understand there are no waiting times for applications for leave to take a judicial review as the Asylum Judicial Review List saw a number of initiatives implemented in 2018 which led to the elimination of waiting times for those applications. Moreover, the number of active cases in the substantive Asylum List reduced from 772 to 122 through case management and other measures. Waiting times for judicial review hearings are currently one Legal Term, indicating a case ready for hearing will be heard in the next legal term.
It should be noted however that there are over 400 other cases awaiting decisions of the appellate courts or, in respect of the largest portion of that number, the Court of Justice of the European Union, before they can be progressed through the High Court.