Irish Judicial System

Irish Judicial System

Note: for information on the Irish Criminal Justice System, please see here.

1. Administration.

The Highest court is the Supreme Court, which
has the power to decide whether a Bill passed by
the Oireachtas is constitutional. It has
appellate jurisdiction for all decisions of the
High Court, and the Court of Criminal Appeal, and
can pass rulings on questions of law submitted by
the Circuit Court.
The Court of Criminal Appeal handles appeals
brought by persons convicted on indictments in the
Circuit Court or Central Criminal Court. Its
ruling is final unless the court, Attorney General
or the DPP deem it a point of law of exceptional
importance, after which it may be taken to the
Supreme Court. When exercising its criminal
jurisdiction, the High Court is known as the
Central Criminal Court.
For purposes of the circuit court, the
country is divided into 8 circuits. It has the
same jurisdiction as the Central Criminal Court
for all indictable offenses, except murder,
treason, piracy and allied offenses. Finally, the
lowest court is the District Court which sits at
248 venues throughout the country.

2. Special Courts.

The Special Criminal Court was established to
deal with a list of scheduled offenses. There
also exists the Family Court, which deals with
separation agreements, and the Children’s Court,
which deals with the welfare of juvenile

3. Judges.

*Number of judges. There are a total of 86
judges, 7 of whom are female.

*Appointment and qualifications. Most judicial
appointments in the Republic of Ireland are made
from the ranks of Barristers with a minimum of 10
years experience. However, solicitors with 10
years experience are eligible to become District
Court judges at the District Court level.

Note: this work was completed in 1993


See Also

  • Criminal Justice
  • Legal System
  • Criminology
  • Criminal Justice System

Further Reading

  • Cole, George F., S. J. Frankowski, and M. G. Gertz, (1987) Major Criminal Justice Systems. Beverly Hills: Sage.
  • David, R. and J. E. Brierley (1968) Major Legal Systems of the World Today. London: Free Press.
  • Fairchild, E. (1993), Comparative criminal justice systems. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  • Feeley, Malcolm M. (1973), “Two models of the criminal justice system”. Law and Society Review, 7(3): 407-425.

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