Dáil Éireann - Volume 602 - 11 May, 2005

Written Answers. - Courts Service.

  239. Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps being taken to avoid exposing the State to possible action before the European Court of Human Rights due to failure by a judge to deliver a reserved judgement in view of the fact that there have been four cases in recent years in which the State was sued over delays in issuing reserved judgements. [15606/05]

[592]   Mr. McDowell: As the Deputy will appreciate, the courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions. It is not therefore open to me to comment or intervene in any way in relation to how a particular case is being conducted, which is entirely a matter for the presiding judge.

With regard to the general issue of reserved judgments, the Deputy will be aware that I recently signed the Courts and Court Officers Act 2002 (Register of Reserved Judgments) Regulations 2005, which came into effect on 31 March 2005. These regulations provide for the establishment and maintenance on computer by the Courts Service of a register of the judgments reserved by the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Circuit Court and the District Court. They set out where the various parts of the register are to be kept, the arrangements for getting a copy of an entry in the register and other relevant matters.

I am informed that every effort is being made to afford judges time to prepare reserved judgments within acceptable time periods.