Centenary of foundation of Ireland’s courts system marked with presidential reception

Centenary of foundation of Ireland’s courts system marked with presidential reception

A PRESIDENTIAL reception has been held to mark the centenary of the founding of the courts system in Ireland.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Courts of Justice Act 1924, which established Ireland’s modern, independent courts system.

To honour the milestone President Michael D Higgins hosted Taoiseach Simon Harris as well as many senior members of the nation’s legal system to a reception at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Chief Justice, Donal O’Donnell pictured with President Michael D Higgins

Chief Justice, Donal O’Donnell, members of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, Rossa Fanning SC and judges from Ireland’s courts were among those in attendance.

Attorney General of Northern Ireland, Brenda King, Lady Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, Dame Siobhán Keegan, and the Honourable Justices John O’Hara and David Scoffield of the High Court of Northern Ireland were also there.

Síofra O’Leary, President of the European Court of Human Rights was in attendance along with the presidents of the supreme courts of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia and Slovenia.

President Higgins hosted the event to mark the centenary of the establishment of Ireland's modern court system

During the evening, President Higgins paid homage to all those who work in the legal system across Ireland.

“May I thank all of you present today for the vital role that you play in ensuring that the courts of justice of our country uphold the rights of our citizens, that our democracy functions at the highest level and that our courts maintain their integrity and legitimacy in order to ensure that they protect the rights of all citizens,” he said.

President Higgins addressed those gathered for the event

“As judges, you are the linchpins of the justice system, ensuring through your constitutional and judicial functions that the guiding principles of such hallowed documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights are upheld,” he added.

“Law can, and it is important, be emancipatory, but only when our system of law is fair, maintains accountability and works to protect all citizens, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society, can our nation truly prosper and flourish,” he explained.

Chief Justice O'Donnell made a special presentation to the President

During the event Chief Justice O’Donnell presented the President with the first copy of a new edition of the book, ‘The Supreme Court of Ireland: A History’.

Originally published by Dr Rónán Kennedy in 2003, it has been updated to mark the centenary.

Representing the UK at the event were Lord Ben Stephens of the Supreme Court, Lord Justice Nicholas Underhill of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the Lord President of Scotland, the Rt Hon Lord Carloway Colin Sutherland.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Justice hosted a commemorative ceremony in Dublin’s Four Courts to formally mark the centenary of the Courts of Justice Act 1924.