Dáil Éireann - Volume 473 - 28 January, 1997

Written Answers. - Courts Service.

41. Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Justice the reason for reversing her statement to Dáil Éireann of 12 November 1996, in regard to the setting up of a court service on an interim non-statutory basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23322/96]

Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): On 12 November the Taoiseach announced the Government's decision to establish a courts service on an interim non-statutory basis. Subsequently, on 18 November 1996, I received the Third Report of the Working Group on a Courts Commission entitled Toward the Courts Service.

Following consideration of the report which contained the draft heads of a Bill to establish the courts service which will greatly facilitate the speedy preparation of the necessary legislation, and as a result of discussions which I held with the Chief Justice and Mrs. Justice Denham, chairperson of the Working Group on a Courts Commission, the Government decided on 19 November 1996 that the courts service should be established on a statutory basis from the beginning and that interim non-statutory arrangements should not be made.

In reaching their decision of 19 November 1996 the Government took into account the fact that the establishment of the courts service would not be unduly delayed by putting the necessary legislation in place because of the preparatory work [1666] already done by the Working Group in their Third Report. In addition the Government also recognised that the separation of the respective roles of the Executive and the Judiciary would be better served by the establishment of the courts service on a statutory basis from the beginning. The legislation to establish the courts service is currently being drafted in my Department as a matter of priority.