Minister Flanagan welcomes ongoing improvements in the Courts Service

 

·         Seven modernised facilities worth €150m opened across the State in 2018 under Courts PPP project

·         €138.5 million total gross allocation made to the Courts Service for 2019

·         Minister highlights far-reaching significance of Judicial Council Bill

·         €80m has been made available for new Family Law Centre

 

8 July 2019

 

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has welcomed the continued improvements being made to Court facilities and the ongoing work to better meet the needs of Court users, especially families. Speaking at the launch of the Courts Service Annual Report 2018, the Minister noted that the Courts Service has received €138.5 million in total gross allocation in 2019 with a total capital allocation for this year of €54 million, and drew particular attention to the ongoing modernisation of Courts facilities and the soon to be completed Judicial Council Bill.

 

Minister Flanagan said: “A visit to the courts can be a very stressful experience. Changes such as providing simplified and accessible information and changes in physical environment can make a huge difference for those who have to attend. Last year, a massive programme of modernisation of our facilites was delivered by the Courts PPP project in seven locations at a total cost of €150 million. This investment is going to continue with the Government’s commitment to building a new Family Law Centre through a Public Private Partnership arrangement. A budget of €80 million has been made available in order to deliver this much-needed facility.”

 

The Judicial Council Bill is expected to be passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas tomorrow (9 July). One of the key functions of the Bill will be to promote and maintain excellence in the exercise by judges of their judicial functions. The Council will provide for further education and training of judges as well as matters pertaining to discipline. Additionally, the establishment of a Sentencing and Guidelines Information Committee under the Bill will help provide for greater consistency in the imposition of sentences in criminal cases.

 

The Council will also have a key role in preparing guidelines for appropriate general damages for various types of personal injuries through the establishment of a Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee within the framework of the Judicial Council. This will address a recommendation of the Personal Injuries Commission.

 

The Minister added: “A legal system needs more than good facilities and a professional courts service. It must operate in a way that is fit for purpose. The Judicial Council Bill will play an important role in this regard. We now need to proceed with the implementation of this important work and I trust that this can begin in earnest in cooperation with the judiciary following the enactment of the Judicial Council Bill.”

 

The Minister noted the importance of the Courts and the Courts Service in providing access to justice for citizens and drew particular attention to the review of the administration of civil justice in the State currently being chaired by the High Court President, Mr. Justice Peter Kelly.

 

The Minister said: “The Courts and the Courts Service are a hugely important part of the architecture of our State. They are what ensure our citizens have access to justice. The Group being chaired by Mr. Justice Peter Kelly will make recommendations for changes with a view to improving access to civil justice in the State, promoting early resolution of disputes, reducing the cost of litigation, creating a more responsive and proportionate system and ensuing better outcomes for court users. I look forward to receiving their report in due course”.

 

Minister Flanagan took the opportunity of the publication of the Annual Report to thank the staff of the Court Service for the excellent service provided to the public. He paid particular tribute to the outgoing Chief Executive of the Courts Service, Mr. Brendan Ryan, for his superb leadership in managing and guiding the Courts Service during his tenure as the Chief Executive and congratulated the incoming Chief Executive, Ms. Angela Denning, on her appointment. He added that he looked forward to working with Ms. Denning, who is the first woman to become the Chief Executive of the Courts Service.

 

ENDS

 

Note to Editors:

 

A copy of the Courts Service Annual Report 2018 is available at http://courts.ie/Courts.ie/library3.nsf/(WebFiles)/C2B4BFC1AFEC7B098025842D00473F25/$FILE/Courts%20Service%20Annual%20Report%202018.pdf

 

Courts PPP bundle

In July 2012, the Government announced a €2.25bn infrastructure stimulus programme which included the construction or extension/refurbishment of seven courthouses (called the ‘Courts PPP Bundle’). In terms of scale, the Courts PPP Bundle is the largest capital building project ever undertaken by the Courts Service, delivering a total of 31 courtrooms and 36,000 m2 of accommodation nationwide.

 

Location

Courthouse Buildings

Existing Area

New Area

Total Area2

Drogheda, Co. Louth

A new courthouse consisting of two

courtrooms and associated facilities to be constructed on a landmark town centre site adjacent to the River Boyne.

0m2

1,354m2

1,354m2

Letterkenny,

Co. Donegal

A new courthouse to accommodate four

courtrooms and associated facilities to be constructed on a town centre site close to the

existing courthouse.

0m2

5,027m2

5,027m2

Limerick City

A new criminal courthouse to be built on a

site adjacent to Limerick Prison, to include six courtrooms, custody facilities, court

offices and associated facilities.

259m2

7,350m2

7,609m2

Wexford

Town

The refurbishment and extension of an

existing landmark building to provide a new courthouse for Wexford Town consisting of four courtrooms, Custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities.

430m2

4,272m2

4,702m2

Cork City

The refurbishment and extension of the

existing landmark courthouse building at Anglesea Street to accommodate six courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices, the regional office and associated facilities.

1,556m2

6,934m2

8,490m2

Mullingar, Co.

Westmeath

The refurbishment and extension of the

existing historic courthouse in Mullingar to accommodate three courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities.

1,798m2

1,459m2

3,257m2

Waterford

City

The refurbishment and extension of the

existing historic courthouse in Waterford to accommodate six courtrooms improved

custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities.

1,133m2

5,259m2

6,392m2

Totals

5,176m2

31,655m2

36,831m2