“Personalised attacks on the impartiality or integrity of a judge threaten the rule of law which protect all of us”

Statement by the President of the Law Society of Ireland, Michele O’Boyle

The President of the Law Society of Ireland, Michele O’Boyle, responded to the attack by a member of Dáil Éireann on a High Court judge which she described as “shocking, unwarranted and dangerous”.

“It is entirely appropriate for a politician to disagree with a judge’s decision,” she said. “They have a remedy which is to appeal the decision or seek a change in the law.”

“It is not appropriate, however, for a politician to launch a personalised attack on the impartiality or the integrity of a judge,” she continued. “Such an attack risks undermining the necessary mutual respect between branches of Government required by the Constitution. It threatens respect for the law and even the rule of law which protects all of us.”

“There is a fine tradition in Ireland of politicians in particular, and commentators in general, displaying respect for the judiciary, even where they may not like individual judgments.  It is in everyone’s interest that this tradition of respect should continue. It is in no one’s interest, neither judges, politicians nor the public as a whole, that this tradition should be departed from under any circumstances.”

“I call on all who respect the rule of law to reject populist attacks on the judiciary and to distance themselves from this latest very regrettable example.”

For further information, please contact:

Kathy McKenna, PR Executive

01 6724915 / k.mckenna@lawsociety.ie