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The courts system in Ireland has its origins in the 1922 Constitution, which was enacted on the foundation of the Irish Free State.  That Constitution provided for the setting up of new courts to replace those which had evolved under the British administration.  New courts were established in 1924 under the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, which established the legal basis for a Court system.

The present courts were set up by the Courts (Establishment and Constitution) Act 1961 pursuant to Article 34 of the Constitution adopted by the Irish people in 1937.

Articles 34 to 37 of the Constitution deal with the administration of justice in general.  Article 34.1 states that 'Justice shall be administered in Courts established by law'.  The Constitution outlines the structure of the court system as comprising a court of final appeal, the Supreme Court, and courts of first instance.  These include a High Court with full jurisdiction in all criminal and civil matters and courts of limited jurisdiction, the Circuit Court and the District Court organised on a regional basis.

Judges are completely independent in the performance of their functions and on their appointment take the oath set out in Article 34.5.1 as follows -

"In the presence of Almighty God, I do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my knowledge and power execute the office of Chief Justice (or as the case may be) without fear or favour, affection or ill-will towards any man, and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws. May God direct and sustain me."

In relation to criminal trials, Article 38 states that 'No person shall be tried on any criminal charge save in the due course of law'. Minor offences are tried in courts of summary jurisdiction while a person accused of a more serious offence cannot be tried without a jury. The Constitution also makes provision for the establishment of Special Courts to secure the effective administration of justice where the ordinary courts would be unable to do so. The public are welcome to enter all courts except those displaying the 'in camera' sign which means that the case is not open to the general public.

 The Irish Courts System exists in what is called a ‘common law’ jurisdiction. It shares this with other English speaking countries, such as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; and some non-English speaking countries, such as India.

The system originates from the English legal system. Common-law legal systems place greater emphasis on previous court decisions than do ‘civil-law’ jurisdictions, such as those in France and other European countries. Those legal systems originate from Roman Law and, more recently, the legal framework put in place by Napoleon Bonaparte.

This means that lawyers working in common-law jurisdictions like Ireland need to work more closely with case-law (previous cases that have come before the courts) than do lawyers operating in civil-law countries. Irish courts are bound by their previous decisions and this is known as the principle of stare-decisis.

 

 

 

About us    

We have been providing legal services for over 50 years to expansive range of clients.

We provide a personal service in a convenient location.  Solving problems is not always easy as people and institutions are not always rational.  Therefore, we often have to fight our client's causes when compromise cannot be reached.   We act in cases in the District Court up to the Supreme Court and we have successfully secured millions of euros for our clients. 

Our firm also has vast experience in residential and commercial property law.  We have acted for developers, banks and other institutions in that sale and purchase of thousands of units worth in excess of €1 billion. 

 

Why use a solicitor? 

Solicitors are educated and trained to the highest standards through the Law Society’s Professional Practice Course, a blend of practice-oriented taught modules and in-office training with law firms.

Life-long professional development and training

Qualified solicitors are required to further their expertise on an annual basis by attending courses to attain a minimum number of continuing professional development points.

The Society’s committees develop and publish a continuous stream of practice notes on new developments in the various fields of law and aspects of legal practice.

High professional and ethical standards

Solicitors are held to high professional and ethical standards and are regulated by the Law Society of Ireland’s Regulation Department.