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The feasibility of introducing a Community Courts system in Ireland will be the focus of the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality at its afternoon meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, 29th January for 2014.

Those attending the meeting are: Julius Lang, Centre for Court Innovation – New York; Philip Bowen, Centre for Justice Innovation – UK; Justice Michael Reilly; David Brennan, Dublin City Business Association; Oisín Quinn, Lord Mayor of Dublin; Tony McGillicuddy, The Bar Council; Ken Murphy, The Law Society; and Maura Butler, Association for Criminal Justice Research and Development.

Committee Chairman David Stanton, TD, said: “Late last year, the Committee sought submissions on the possibility of introducing a community courts system in Ireland. Tomorrow we will beging our hearings when we will get the perspectives of a number of interested parties and individuals. Already established in a number of countries, such as the UK, USA and Canada, community courts take a problem-solving justice approach to dealing with what are considered minor crimes such as disorderly conduct, anti-social behaviour, petty theft and criminal damage. The system sees the vast majority of offenders undertaking community service in the neighbourhood to make some reparation for their offences. Availing of health and social services, the system provides immediate access to justice, cuts down on the number of people being incarcerated and, in areas where it is established, has led to a fall in the number of people repeating offences. At our meeting tomorrow, we will have an opportunity to consider how a community courts system might work in Ireland.”

This meeting will start in Committee Room 2 at 4pm tomorrow, Wednesday, 29th January 2014.

Committee proceedings can be followed live at: