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Irish Government will have to decide on appointment to the judiciary

One of the tasks facing the Government in the next few weeks is deciding on a successor to Mr Justice Richard Johnson, who retires as President of the High Court on October 23rd. Leaving the Government with the task of filling the second most senior position in the judiciary.

Among those named to replace him are current Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns and judges of the High Court Mr Justice Frank Clarke, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill and Mr Justice Michael Peart.

The President of the High Court carries a heavy administrative burden, as he or she must ensure backlogs do not build up in the court, manage the court lists and assign judges to maximise the use of resources.

However, each judge is independent in the exercise of his or her duties, and the President has no power other than that of persuasion, so people skills are of the utmost importance.

The High Court President also has a number of other duties, including responsibility for wards of court adults and children who are not capable of administering their own affairs.

Victims of accident or medical mishap, who received substantial awards, are also administered by the courts.

Despite the workload, the job is a sought-after one, as it places the holder in second place in the judicial hierarchy, and therefore well-placed to become Chief Justice when that position becomes vacant in three years’ time.

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