Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton, is calling for a Yes vote on the Referendum to establish a Court of Appeal, to take place on Friday, October 4th.

“The Referendum to establish a Court of Appeal is in the public interest. There are presently over 600 cases awaiting appeal in the Supreme Court, with new cases being added all of the time. About 70 of these cases have been given priority hearing, and will be heard over the next 12 months; however, it could take up to four years for the remainder to be heard.

“Setting up a Court of Appeal will ensure that we have a more efficient court structure allowing quicker access to justice in both civil and criminal matters. It will be a permanent court which, in addition to hearing appeals of High Court decisions, it will also take over the function of the Court of Criminal Appeal. Voting Yes to set up a Court of Appeal will:

• Ensure that any individual who finds themselves involved in an appeal from the High Court can have the issue resolved within a reasonable timeframe
• Speed up the hearing of criminal appeals, reducing trauma experienced by victims of crime, by giving them closure to an event that may have dominated their lives for many years.
• Ensure that innocent individuals are not condemned to lengthy periods of time awaiting an appeal, where a questionable conviction has been handed down.
• Ensure we have an efficiently functioning courts system, which is essential to attracting investment and creating jobs. This will stop small and medium sized enterprises coming under unfair financial pressure because they are involved in a protracted court dispute. It will also encourage multinational companies to continue investing here as we know they always consider the efficiency of the courts system when making investment decisions.

“The need to establish a Court of Appeal was first put forward by a working group in 2009, chaired by the current Chief Justice, Susan Denham, and is widely supported by all those interested in the reform and modernisation of our courts. I am, however, a bit concerned at the lack of public debate on this referendum.

“A Yes vote in this referendum will provide for the establishment of the Court of Appeal and align our courts system with international best practice. It is hoped that the new court, if approved by the people, will be operational in Autumn 2014