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Establishment of Committee
The Superior Courts Rules Committee was established under section 67 of the Courts of Justice Act 1936.
Functions of the Committee
The Superior Courts Rules Committee under section 68 of that Act was assigned the power (previously exercised by the Minister for Justice under section 36 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924), exercisable with the concurrence of the Minister for Justice and Equality, of making, annulling or altering rules of court, and of making new rules, in particular for:
(i) pleading, practice and procedure generally (including the entering-up of judgment and the granting of summary judgment in appropriate cases) in all civil cases, including revenue cases and proceedings as to the validity of any law having regard to the provisions of the Constitution and proceedings in the nature of a petition of right;
(ii) pleading, practice and procedure generally in all criminal cases before the Central Criminal Court or any court of the High Court Circuit or the Court of Criminal Appeal;
(iii) the sending out of Commissioners of the High Court Circuit at such times, to such centres and for such amalgamated districts as shall seem fit;
(iv) the sittings of the Central Criminal Court for Dublin and such neighbouring counties as shall be determined by such rules and the cases that shall be disposed of by it, which shall include all cases not disposed of by Commissioners of the High Court Circuit, or in which the venue has been changed to the Central Criminal Court at the instance of the Attorney General or the accused;
(v) the use of the national language in the said courts;
(vi) the mode of address to be adopted to the judges and the robes and official dress to be worn by the Bench and the Bar;
(vii) the commencement and duration of the sittings and the vacations;
(viii) the fixing and collection of fees;
(ix) the adaptation or modification of any statute that may be requisite for any of the purposes of this Act and all subsidiary matters;
(x) in relation to proceedings and matters (not being criminal proceedings or matters relating to the liberty of the person) in the High Court and Supreme Court, the authorising of the Master of the High Court and other principal court officers to exercise functions, powers and jurisdiction in uncontested cases and to take accounts, conduct inquiries and make orders of an interlocutory nature¹;
(xi) the disclosure by any party to a personal injuries action of certain information and documentation, and for the admission of same as evidence in personal injuries actions, notwithstanding the rules as to privilege and against hearsay².
Membership of the Committee at 21st September 2020
- The Chief Justice, the Hon. Mr. Justice Frank Clarke (Chairperson)
- The President of the Court of Appeal, the Hon. Mr Justice George Birmingham (Vice Chairperson)
- The President of the High Court, the Hon. Ms Justice Mary Irvine
- The Hon. Mr. Justice William McKechnie, Judge of the Supreme Court
- The Hon. Ms. Justice Elizabeth Dunne, Judge of the Supreme Court
- The Hon. Mr Justice John A. Edwards, Judge of the Court of Appeal
- The Hon. Mr Justice Brian Murray, Judge of the Court of Appeal
- The Hon. Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy, Judge of the High Court
- The Hon. Mr Justice Richard Humphreys, Judge of the High Court
- The Master of the High Court, Mr Edmund W. Honohan S.C.
- Mr. Conor Dignam S.C., nominated by the Council of the Bar of Ireland
- Ms. Grainne Larkin B.L., nominated by the Council of the Bar of Ireland
- Mr. Stuart Gilhooly, Solicitor, nominated by the Council of the Law Society of Ireland
- Mr. Liam Kennedy, Solicitor, nominated by the Council of the Law Society of Ireland
- Mr James Finn, Strategy & Reform Directorate, Courts Service, to whom membership has been delegated by the Chief Executive Officer of the Courts Service
under Section 30(2) of the Courts Service Act 1998 3
- Ms. Mary Cummins, Office of the Chief State Solicitor - appointed to act in place of the Attorney General under Section 36(4) of the Courts and Court Officers Act 2002 4
- Mr. John Mahon, Registrar of the Supreme Court
Administrative and other support
The Deputy Secretary to the Committee is Mr Stephen McCartney. Drafting services are provided by Mr Sean Barton of McCann FitzGerald Solicitors.
Classes of records
» Materials concerning proposals for amendments to rules of court.
The Annual Report of the Committee is contained in the Annual Report of the Courts Service.
Organisation and pay and grading structures
The Committee does not employ any staff. Administrative support is provided by the Rules Committee Support Unit, within the Directorate of Reform and Development of the Courts Service.
Location and contact details
Superior Courts Rules Committee,
Rules Committee Support Unit,
Directorate of Reform and Development,
Green Street Courthouse,
Ph: 01 888 6193
¹ Section 14(3), Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1961
² The powers listed at (i) to (ix) were granted by section 68(1) of the 1936 Act, by reference to section 36 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924. Those mentioned at (xi) were granted by section 45 (1) and (4), respectively, of the Courts and Court Officers Act, 1995. The powers conferred by section 36 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924 (No. 10 of 1924), in respect of rules of court include corresponding powers in respect of rules of court for enabling section 2 of the European Communities Act, 1972 (No. 27 of 1972), to have full effect (see regulation 3, European Communities (Rules of Court) Regulations 1972 (S.I. 320 of 1972)).
3 This provision has since been repealed and replaced by section 67(9)(c), Courts of Justice Act 1936 (inserted by section 21, Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008).
4 This provision has since been repealed and replaced by section 67(9)(d), Courts of Justice Act 1936 (inserted by section 21, Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008).