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Special Criminal Court and Defence Forces Judges

  • 05-10-2022 1:00pm
    Posts: 0

    Is it common for judges of the Special Criminal Court to be officers of the Defence Forces? The guidelines for the sitting of the Special Criminal Court says that a Defence Forces officer can act as a judge. Im not sure if this is for emergency meaures or it is actually a regular occurrence?


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,218 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    I don't believe it has ever happened honestly, though I'm open to correction.

    Two things are relevant. There are Military Judges. They are Officers of the Defence Forces qualified and experienced (10 years) in the Law, and are appointed to a rank not less than Colonel / Captain (Navy). They are appointed to be Military Judges by the President, like any other Judge, but carry out no other Military duties except as a Judge presiding at Courts Martial or other judicial functions as prescribed.

    The Special Criminal Court has its own legislative basis, distinct by its nature from the operation of the other Courts. The Government appoints a Panel of High, Circuit and District Court judges to sit as Judges of the SCC.

    So, because a Military Judge is a Lawyer and a Judge like any other, but with specific duties, they MAY be appointed to the SCC, but as there is only one Military Judge active at any one time in Ireland, I don't think it has ever been necessary or practical to have an assigned Military Judge sit on the SCC, considering there are 160 or so Civil and Criminal Judges available for empanelling to the SCC at any given time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,017 ✭✭✭Claw Hammer

    It does not happen nowadays. The current court was established in 1972 is usually composed of 1 judge from each of the High, District and Circuit Courts.

    The legislation allows eithe judges of the courts or barristers of not less than 7 years standing or army officers not below the rank of commandant to sit as judges. The current court dates from 1972 and only judges of the High, Circuit and District courts have sat on it.

    Between 1939 and 1946 only officers of the Defence Forces sat on the Special Criminal court . Since that court was disestablished army officer have not participated in the special criminal court.

    The military judge, a colonel, is not a member of either the District, Circuit of High Courts and is not even considered for appointment as a judge of the Special Criminal Court since the participating judges are nominated by the President of the respective courts.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran

    What does he do for most of the year? I can't imagine there are that many courts martial