Steps in the process
A person who wishes to be considered for appointment to judicial office may request a form to be issued to them by post. Contact Details
Completed application forms must be submitted in hard copy. Application forms submitted by e-mail will not be accepted.
The Application form provides the Board with such information as it may require to enable it to consider the suitability of that person for judicial office, including information relating to education, professional qualifications, experience and character.
The Board can only recommend persons who comply with the relevant qualifications set out in the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act, 1961, as amended by the Courts and Court Officers Act, 2002.
Furthermore, the Board shall not recommend any person unless in the opinion of the Board the person concerned:
- has displayed in his/her practice as a barrister or solicitor, as the case may be, a degree of competence and a degree of probity appropriate to and consistent with the appointment concerned;
- is suitable on grounds of character and temperament;
- is otherwise suitable; and
- complies with the requirements of Section 19 of the 1995 Act.
A person must have these qualities to be recommended, but having these qualities is in itself not sufficient for a person to be recommended.
Standards in Public Office
The Standards in Public Office Act, 2001 as amended by Section 53 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions Act), 2008 requires applicants to certify that their tax affairs are in order. Section 22 (1) prohibits the Board from recommending a person for judicial office unless the person has furnished to the Board:
- a Tax Clearance Certificate that was issued to the person not more than eighteen months before the date of the recommendation, and
- a Statutory Declaration made by the person not more than three months before that date to the effect that, at the time of the making of the declaration, the person is, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, in compliance with the obligations specified in subsection (1) of section 25 and that nothing in subsection (2) of that section prevents the issue to him or her of a tax clearance certificate.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE
Do not submit an "ordinary" Tax Clearance Certificate (TC2) as this Certificate is not the required Certificate for the purpose of an application to judicial office. In practice, the tax clearance certificate is submitted with the application form or on the expiration of a certificate previously provided.
Statutory Declarations should only be furnished with the application form when: vacancies are advertised; and the Board specifically requests them.
- Two references should be furnished by referees directly to the Secretary.
- It may be of assistance if one of these was from a person working in the same area of law as that in which an applicant practices.
- Letters of reference must be submitted by referees, not by applicants.
- The Board places considerable emphasis on the provision of references.
- A Cover Page for References containing guidelines for the completion of the reference, should be completed and attached to the front of the reference.
Supreme, Court of Appeal and High Court
The criteria for selection to the Superior Courts has been amended by Section 12(d) of the Court of Appeal Act, 2014. The purpose of this amendment seems to be to ensure that solicitors appointed to the Supreme, Court of Appeal and High Courts are sufficiently conversant with practice and procedure in the Superior Courts.
It is best to quote these directly:
Subsection (d)(ii) "The Board shall recommend a person to the Minister under section only if the Board is of the opinion that the person:
- has displayed in his or her practice as a barrister or a solicitor a degree of competence and a degree of probity appropriate to and consistent with the appointment concerned,
- in the case of an appointment to the office of ordinary judge of the Supreme Court, of ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal or of ordinary judge of the High Court, has an appropriate knowledge of the decisions, and an appropriate Knowledge and appropriate experience of the practice and procedure, of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court,
- is suitable on the grounds of character and temperament,
- complies with the requirements of section 19 of this Act, and
- is otherwise suitable.
(ii) In determining whether the requirements of subparagraph (i)(II) of this paragraph are satisfied, the Board shall have regard, in particular, to the nature and extent of the practice of the person concerned insofar as it relates to his or her personal conduct of proceedings in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court whether as an advocate or as a solicitor instructing counsel in such proceedings or both."
Additional Practical Matters
Applications are valid for the calendar year in which the application is made.
Application forms must be accompanied by thirteen current passport size photographs (signed on the reverse)
The process of considering persons and submitting names to the Minister is as follows:
- The Minister will correspond with the Chairperson of the Board requesting recommendations in respect of judicial office.
- The Chairperson so informs the Secretary to the Board and the Secretary puts in place the relevant procedures to hold a Board meeting.
- The Secretary may cause advertisements to be placed in the national newspapers, notifications on JAAB.ie, the Legal Diary and the website of the Law Society and Bar Council seeking applications.
- A date is agreed with all members of the Board for a full Board meeting.
- In advance of the meeting the Secretary will issue copies of all applications held on file for that particular judicial office to each individual Board member. The Board meet and consider all the applications on file and decide which of the applicants it shall recommend to the Minister.
- Following the meeting the Secretary corresponds with the governing bodies of the Bar Council of Ireland and the Law Society of Ireland requesting the professional bodies to verify that those whom the Board propose to recommend are in good standing with their professional organisation and are a Practising Solicitors/Barristers who satisfy the requirements of the legislation relevant to the judicial position in question.
- On receipt of a response from the Bar Council and the Law Society the Chairperson corresponds with the Minister informing the Minister of all those who applied for the vacancy/vacancies and enclosing a list of those applicants whom the Board recommend.
- The Government has the power to recommend a person for appointment to the President without first consulting with the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board.