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33 2019

JUDICIAL COUNCIL ACT 2019

Chapter 5

Investigation of complaints

Referral of complaint by Judicial Conduct Committee to panel of inquiry

64. (1) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall, where it decides to refer a complaint to a panel of inquiry under subsection (1)(b), (3) or (4) of section 60 , appoint a panel of inquiry to investigate the complaint.

(2) A notification under subsection (5) of section 60 (other than a notification of a decision under subsection (1)(a) or (2) of that section) to the judge concerned shall inform him or her—

(a) of the referral of a complaint to a panel of inquiry for investigation,

(b) of the particulars of the complaint, including any evidence in support of the complaint, and

(c) that if the panel of inquiry conducts a hearing in connection with the investigation of the complaint, he or she is entitled—

(i) either in person or through his or her representative to attend and defend himself or herself at the hearing, and

(ii) to request—

(I) where no direction is given under section 68 (5), that some or all of the hearing be conducted otherwise than in public, or

(II) where a direction is given under section 68 (5), the effect of which is that part of the hearing be conducted in public, that such part be conducted otherwise than in public.

(3) A notification under subsection (5) of section 60 (other than a notification of a decision under subsection (1)(a) or (2) of that subsection) to the complainant shall inform him or her that if the panel of inquiry conducts a hearing in connection with the investigation of the complaint he or she is entitled to request—

(a) where no direction is given under section 68 (5), that some or all of the hearing be conducted otherwise than in public, or

(b) where a direction is given under section 68 (5), the effect of which is that part of the hearing be conducted in public, that such part be conducted otherwise than in public.

(4) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall not accede to a request under subsection (2)(c)(ii) or (3) in the absence of reasonable and sufficient cause.

Recommendations for nomination of lay members of panels of inquiry

65. (1) The Government shall request the Public Appointments Service to undertake a selection process for the purpose of identifying and recommending to the Government persons who it is satisfied are suitable for appointment to be lay members of panels of inquiry and, accordingly, the Public Appointments Service shall comply with that request and, following the conduct of such a selection process, make a recommendation to the Government in respect of persons who participated in such process in relation to whom it is so satisfied.

(2) Subject to subsection (3) and section 66 (3), the Minister shall agree with the Public Appointments Service the selection criteria and procedures that are to apply to a selection process under this section.

(3) For the purposes of making a recommendation under this section, the Public Appointments Service shall have regard to the desirability that the lay members of a panel of inquiry will, among them, possess knowledge of, and experience in, as many as possible of the following matters:

(a) the maintenance of standards in professions regulated by a statutory or other body;

(b) dealing with complaints made against members of such professions;

(c) mediation or other mechanisms for alternative dispute resolution;

(d) the administration of justice;

(e) the management and provision of services to members of the public.

(4) Subject to subsection (3), the Public Appointments Service shall not make a recommendation under this section in respect of a person unless it is satisfied that the person possesses such relevant experience, qualifications, training or expertise as is appropriate having regard to the functions of a panel of inquiry as would render him or her suitable for appointment to be a lay member of a panel of inquiry.

(5) The Public Appointments Service shall provide the Government with particulars of the experience, qualifications, training and expertise of each person in respect of whom it makes a recommendation under this section.

Nomination for appointment of lay members of panels of inquiry

66. (1) From time to time, the Government shall, from among persons in respect of whom a recommendation has been made under section 65 , nominate not fewer than 7 persons and not more than 12 persons for appointment by the Judicial Conduct Committee under section 67 (1)(b) to be lay members of panels of inquiry.

(2) The Government shall, insofar as practicable and having regard to relevant experience, endeavour to ensure that not fewer than 40 per cent of persons nominated under subsection (1) are women.

(3) A person shall not be eligible to be nominated under subsection (1), or appointed under section 67 , to be a lay member of a panel of inquiry—

(a) if the person is a member of either House of the Oireachtas, the European Parliament or a local authority,

(b) if, in the case of a person who was a member of either House of the Oireachtas, the European Parliament or a local authority and who has ceased to be such a member, a period of 5 years has not yet elapsed since he or she was a member of either such House, such Parliament or a local authority,

(c) if the person is a judge or a former judge,

(d) if the person is a judge or a former judge of—

(i) the General Court of the European Union,

(ii) the Court of Justice of the European Union,

(iii) the European Court of Human Rights,

(iv) the International Court of Justice,

(v) the International Criminal Court, or

(vi) an international tribunal,

(e) if the person is an Advocate-General or a former Advocate-General of the Court of Justice of the European Union,

(f) if the person is a lay member of the Judicial Conduct Committee,

(g) if the person is a practising barrister or solicitor,

(h) if, in the case of a person who was a practising barrister or solicitor and who has ceased to be a practising barrister or practising solicitor, a period of 5 years has not elapsed since he or she last practised as a barrister or solicitor, or

(i) if the person is a civil servant.

(4) If a lay member of a panel of inquiry—

(a) is nominated to be a member of Seanad Éireann,

(b) is elected to be a member of either House of the Oireachtas or to be a member of the European Parliament,

(c) is regarded pursuant to Part XIII of the Second Schedule to the European Parliament Elections Act 1997 as having been elected to be a member of the European Parliament,

(d) is elected or co-opted to be a member of a local authority,

(e) is appointed to be a judge of—

(i) the General Court of the European Union,

(ii) the Court of Justice of the European Union,

(iii) the European Court of Human Rights,

(iv) the International Court of Justice,

(v) the International Criminal Court, or

(vi) an international tribunal,

(f) is appointed to be an Advocate-General of the Court of Justice of the European Union,

(g) is appointed to be a member of the Judicial Conduct Committee,

(h) commences practice as a barrister or solicitor, or

(i) becomes a civil servant,

he or she shall thereupon cease to be a lay member of the panel of inquiry.

(5) A person nominated under subsection (1) may, by notice in writing given or sent to the chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee, indicate that he or she no longer wishes to be considered for appointment by that Committee under section 67 (1)(b) to a panel of inquiry and, upon receipt of that notice by the chairperson of that Committee, the nomination under subsection (1) in respect of that person shall cease to have effect.

(6) The chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee shall inform the Minister of any notice received by him or her under subsection (5).

Appointment of members of panel of inquiry

67. (1) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall appoint 3 persons to be members of a panel of inquiry for the purposes of this Chapter, namely—

(a) two judges (other than an ex officio member of the Judicial Conduct Committee or an elected member of the Judicial Conduct Committee), one of whom shall be a judge of the court of which the judge concerned is a judge and the other of whom shall be a judge of another court, and

(b) one lay member nominated under section 66 .

(2) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall appoint one member of a panel of inquiry appointed under subsection (1) to be its chairperson.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a), where the judge concerned whose conduct is being investigated is—

(a) the President of the Court of Appeal, he or she shall be considered to be a judge of the Supreme Court,

(b) the President of the High Court, he or she shall be considered to be a judge of the Court of Appeal,

(c) the President of the Circuit Court, he or she shall be considered to be a judge of the High Court, or

(d) the President of the District Court, he or she shall be considered to be a judge of the Circuit Court.

(4) A member of a panel of inquiry appointed under subsection (1) may resign from the panel of inquiry by notice in writing given or sent to the chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee and the resignation shall take effect on the day on which the chairperson of the Committee receives the notice, but such resignation shall not of itself prevent his or her appointment to, or continued membership of, another panel of inquiry.

(5) (a) Where a member of a panel of inquiry appointed under subsection (1)(a) was, at the time of his or her appointment to be such a member, a judge of the court of which the judge concerned is a judge and he or she subsequently ceases to be a judge of that court, he or she shall thereupon cease to be a member of the panel of inquiry.

(b) Where a member of a panel of inquiry appointed under subsection (1)(a) ceases to be a judge, he or she shall thereupon cease to be a member of the panel of inquiry.

(6) If a member of a panel of inquiry resigns or otherwise ceases to be a member of a panel of inquiry, the Judicial Conduct Committee may—

(a) if the member was a judge of the court of which the judge concerned is a judge, appoint a judge of that court,

(b) if the member was a judge of a court other than the court of which the judge concerned is a judge, appoint a judge of a court other than the latter court but who may be a judge of a court other than the former court, or

(c) if the member was a lay member of the panel of inquiry, appoint a person standing nominated for the time being under section 66 ,

to replace the member of the panel of inquiry who resigned or otherwise ceased to be a member thereof.

(7) A member of the staff of the Council (other than the Registrar), nominated by the chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee, shall act as registrar to a panel of inquiry (in this Act referred to as “registrar to a panel of inquiry”).

Conduct of investigation

68. (1) A panel of inquiry shall, in accordance with this section, investigate a complaint referred to it under section 60 .

(2) For the purposes of the investigation of a complaint under this section, a panel of inquiry may seek such information or documents relating to the complaint as it considers appropriate.

(3) A panel of inquiry may conduct a hearing in connection with its investigation of a complaint.

(4) The registrar to a panel of inquiry shall notify the judge concerned and the complainant in writing of the date, time and place of a hearing under subsection (3) in sufficient time for the judge concerned and the complainant to prepare for the hearing.

(5) A hearing of a complaint before a panel of inquiry shall be conducted in public unless the Judicial Conduct Committee directs that in order to safeguard the administration of justice the hearing should be conducted in whole or in part otherwise than in public.

(6) At a hearing of a complaint before a panel of inquiry—

(a) the registrar to the panel of inquiry shall present particulars of the complaint,

(b) the testimony of witnesses attending the hearing shall be given on oath, and

(c) there shall be a right to cross-examine witnesses and call evidence in defence and reply.

(7) Any member of a panel of inquiry investigating a complaint, or the registrar to the panel of inquiry, may administer an oath for the purposes of the investigation of the complaint.

Powers and protections relating to witnesses and evidence

69. (1) For the purposes of the investigation of a complaint under this Chapter, a panel of inquiry shall have all the powers, rights and privileges that are vested in the High Court or a judge thereof on the hearing of an action and that relate to—

(a) enforcing the attendance of witnesses,

(b) examining witnesses on oath or otherwise, and

(c) compelling the production (including discovery) of records, including a record of proceedings in court or a transcript of such a record.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), a summons issued on behalf of a panel of inquiry by the chairperson of the panel of inquiry or by such other member of the panel of inquiry as is authorised by the panel of inquiry for that purpose may be substituted for and is the equivalent of any formal process capable of being issued in an action for enforcing the attendance of witnesses or compelling the production of documents.

(3) Subject to any procedures in force and to the necessity of observing fair procedures, a panel of inquiry may receive—

(a) oral evidence given before the panel of inquiry,

(b) evidence by affidavit, or

(c) evidence in such manner (including by means of a live video link, a video recording, a sound recording or any other mode of transmission) as is authorised by procedures specified under section 52 .

(4) A person shall be guilty of an offence if he or she—

(a) fails without reasonable excuse to comply with a summons issued by a panel of inquiry or to attend before the panel of inquiry at the time and place specified in the summons,

(b) while attending as a witness before a panel of inquiry refuses to—

(i) take an oath lawfully required by the panel of inquiry to be taken,

(ii) produce any document in the person’s power or control that the person is lawfully required by the panel of inquiry to produce, or

(iii) answer any question that the person is lawfully required by the panel of inquiry to answer,

(c) while attending before a panel of inquiry does anything that, if the panel of inquiry were a court of law having power to punish for contempt, would be contempt of court, or

(d) gives evidence before a panel of inquiry that if it had been given by the person in proceedings before a court would have constituted the offence of perjury.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of subsection (4) shall be liable on summary conviction to a class A fine.

(6) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (4)(d) shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to such fine or such term of imprisonment as he or she would be liable to if he or she were convicted summarily of the offence of perjury or both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to such fine or such term of imprisonment as he or she would be liable to if he or she were convicted on indictment of the offence of perjury or both.

(7) In this section—

“record of proceedings in court” means a contemporaneous record of proceedings in court made, in accordance with rules of court, by any means, including any sound or other recording capable of being reproduced in legible, audible or visual form;

“transcript”, in relation to a record of proceedings in court, means a transcript of the record of such proceedings that is made by a person appointed by the Courts Service for that purpose in accordance with rules of court.

Failure or refusal by complainant to cooperate with panel of inquiry

70. (1) Where, at any time during the course of an investigation, a panel of inquiry investigating a complaint under this Chapter, considers that the complainant has failed or refused to make reasonable efforts to cooperate with the investigation, the panel of inquiry shall prepare, and submit to the Judicial Conduct Committee, a report of such failure or refusal to cooperate and may suspend its investigation pending receipt of a direction from the Judicial Conduct Committee under subsection (2).

(2) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall, after considering a report received by it under subsection (1), give a direction to the panel of inquiry to—

(a) proceed with the investigation to which the report relates, or

(b) discontinue that investigation.

(3) If the Judicial Conduct Committee directs a panel of inquiry under subsection (2) to discontinue the investigation of a complaint—

(a) the complaint shall be deemed to have been withdrawn by the complainant and no further action shall be taken in relation thereto, and

(b) the Registrar shall notify the complainant and the judge concerned thereof in writing.

Failure or refusal by judge concerned to cooperate with panel of inquiry

71. (1) Where the judge concerned fails or refuses without reasonable excuse to cooperate with an investigation of a complaint under this Chapter, the panel of inquiry may, if it considers it appropriate in all the circumstances, decide to discontinue the investigation.

(2) If an investigation is discontinued under subsection (1), the panel of inquiry shall prepare, and submit to the Judicial Conduct Committee, a report in writing setting out the circumstances of the failure or refusal of the judge concerned to cooperate and—

(a) shall recommend the issuing of a reprimand to the judge concerned in respect of his or her failure or refusal to cooperate, and

(b) may make such recommendations as the panel of inquiry considers necessary for the purposes of safeguarding the administration of justice.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2)

(a) a recommendation under paragraph (a) of that subsection shall provide for one or more of the following:

(i) the issuing of advice to the judge concerned;

(ii) the making of a recommendation to the judge concerned as to a course of action to be pursued by that judge, including his or her attendance at a specified type of course or training;

(iii) the issuing of an admonishment to the judge concerned,

and

(b) a recommendation under paragraph (b) of that subsection may include a recommendation to which section 76 (6) applies.

(4) Sections 77 and 78 shall, with any necessary modifications, apply to a report of a panel of inquiry under subsection (2) as they apply to an interim report or a final report of a panel of inquiry referred to in those sections.

(5) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall consider the report received from the panel of inquiry under subsection (2) and shall make such determination in relation to the investigation of the complaint concerned as it considers appropriate and, in doing so, may accept, with or without modification, or reject any recommendation contained in that report.

(6) The Registrar shall, as soon as practicable after the Judicial Conduct Committee makes a determination under subsection (5), notify the judge concerned and the complainant in writing of—

(a) the determination of the Judicial Conduct Committee, and

(b) the reasons therefor.

Matter before panel of inquiry concerning health of judge

72. (1) Where during the course of an investigation by a panel of inquiry under this Chapter, the panel of inquiry forms the view that the conduct that is the subject of the complaint under investigation may be related to the health (whether physical or mental) of the judge concerned, the panel of inquiry shall, having given the judge concerned an opportunity to address the matter, prepare, and submit to the Judicial Conduct Committee, a report in writing stating that view and the reasons therefor.

(2) Where the judge concerned informs the panel of inquiry that he or she has taken, or is taking, steps to address the matter related to his or her health referred to in subsection (1), the panel of inquiry shall specify those steps in its report under that subsection.

(3) The Judicial Conduct Committee, upon receiving a report under subsection (1), shall as soon as practicable thereafter—

(a) where the judge concerned is an ordinary judge of the Supreme Court, submit the report to the Chief Justice,

(b) where the judge concerned is an ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal, the High Court or the Circuit Court or a specialist judge of the Circuit Court or a judge of the District Court other than the President of that Court, submit the report to the President of the Court of which the judge concerned is a judge,

(c) where the judge concerned is the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the High Court, the President of the Circuit Court or the President of the District Court, submit the report to the Chief Justice, or

(d) where the judge concerned is the Chief Justice, submit the report to the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the High Court, the President of the Circuit Court and the President of the District Court.

(4) In the circumstances referred to in subsection (2), the investigation of the complaint concerned shall be discontinued and the Registrar shall notify the complainant and the judge concerned thereof in writing.

(5) Where a panel of inquiry makes a report under subsection (1) and the circumstances referred to in subsection (2) do not apply, it shall adjourn the investigation of the complaint concerned and the registrar to the panel of inquiry shall notify the complainant and the judge concerned in writing of the adjournment.

(6) Other than in the circumstances referred to in subsection (2), where the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the High Court, the President of the Circuit Court or the President of the District Court receives a report under subsection (3), he, she or they, as the case may be, may—

(a) recommend to the judge concerned that—

(i) he or she seek medical or other specified assistance, or

(ii) take such other steps as the judge or judges who received the report consider appropriate,

and

(b) prepare, and submit to the Judicial Conduct Committee, a report in relation to the making of the recommendation under paragraph (a).

(7) If a judge to whom a recommendation is made under subsection (6)(a) complies with the recommendation, the investigation of the complaint concerned shall be discontinued and the Registrar shall notify the complainant and the judge concerned thereof in writing.

(8) If a judge to whom a recommendation is made under subsection (6)(a) does not comply with the recommendation, the judge or judges who made the recommendation shall prepare, and submit to the Judicial Conduct Committee, a report in relation to the judge’s not complying with that recommendation.

(9) The Judicial Conduct Committee may, upon receiving a report under subsection (8), direct the panel of inquiry to continue the investigation of the complaint concerned.

(10) Where the Judicial Conduct Committee gives a direction under subsection (9), the Registrar shall notify the complainant and the judge concerned thereof in writing.

If judge concerned consents to reprimand by Judicial Conduct Committee before conclusion of investigation

73. (1) Where, before or during an investigation of a complaint by a panel of inquiry under this Chapter, the judge concerned informs the panel of inquiry that, in relation to the complaint, he or she consents to the issuing of a reprimand to him or her, the panel of inquiry may, if it considers it appropriate having regard to the nature, gravity and circumstances of the complaint and the need to safeguard the administration of justice—

(a) adjourn the investigation of the complaint in accordance with section 75 , and

(b) prepare, and submit to the Judicial Conduct Committee, a report in relation to the complaint.

(2) Section 76 shall, notwithstanding the fact that an investigation of a complaint to which this section applies has not concluded, apply in relation to a report referred to in subsection (1)(b) with any necessary modifications.

Withdrawal of complaint while it is being investigated by panel of inquiry

74. (1) Where a complaint is withdrawn by the complainant during the course of an investigation under this Chapter, the panel of inquiry appointed to conduct the investigation may, with the consent of the Judicial Conduct Committee, either—

(a) decide that no further action should be taken in relation to the complaint, or

(b) decide to proceed with the investigation as if the complaint had not been withdrawn.

(2) Where a panel of inquiry makes a decision under subsection (1)(b), the panel of inquiry shall continue with the investigation of the complaint concerned as if that complaint had not been withdrawn and that investigation shall be deemed to have been initiated under section 59 and treated for all purposes as having been so initiated.

(3) The Registrar shall notify the complainant and the judge concerned in writing of a decision under subsection (1) as soon as practicable after the making of the decision.

Adjournment of investigation of complaint by panel of inquiry

75. (1) A panel of inquiry may adjourn an investigation of a complaint under this Chapter at any time during the course of the investigation if it appears to the panel of inquiry to be appropriate to so do.

(2) Where a panel of inquiry adjourns an investigation of a complaint under subsection (1), it may—

(a) resume the investigation at any time, or

(b) prepare, and submit to the Judicial Conduct Committee, an interim report in writing specifying the reasons for the adjournment of the investigation.

(3) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall, as soon as practicable after receiving an interim report under subsection (2)(b), consider the interim report and give a direction in writing to the panel of inquiry requiring it to—

(a) resume the investigation of the complaint concerned, or

(b) discontinue that investigation.

(4) Where the Judicial Conduct Committee gives a direction under subsection (3)(b) to the panel of inquiry requiring it to discontinue the investigation of the complaint concerned under this Chapter, the Registrar shall, as soon as practicable thereafter, notify the judge concerned and the complainant in writing of—

(a) that direction, and

(b) the reasons therefor.

Report of panel of inquiry submitted to Judicial Conduct Committee

76. (1) A panel of inquiry shall, upon its completing an investigation of a complaint under this Chapter, prepare, and submit to the Judicial Conduct Committee, a report in writing of the investigation.

(2) A report of a panel of inquiry under subsection (1) shall specify—

(a) particulars of the complaint,

(b) the evidence (if any) in relation to the complaint presented to the panel of inquiry, and

(c) the findings of the panel of inquiry in relation to the complaint.

(3) Where a panel of inquiry finds that an allegation in a complaint has been proved, the report of the panel of inquiry under subsection (1) shall include the reasons for that finding and—

(a) such recommendations as the panel of inquiry considers appropriate for reprimanding the judge concerned, and

(b) such recommendations (if any) as the panel of inquiry considers necessary for the purposes of safeguarding the administration of justice.

(4) Where a panel of inquiry finds that an allegation in a complaint has not been proved, the report of the panel of inquiry under subsection (1) shall include the reasons for that finding.

(5) Without prejudice to the generality of subsections (2) and (3), a recommendation under subsection (3)(a) shall provide for any one or more of the following:

(a) the issuing of advice to the judge concerned;

(b) the making of a recommendation that the judge concerned pursue a specified course of action, including attending a course or training of a specified type;

(c) the issuing of an admonishment to the judge concerned.

(6) Without prejudice to the generality of subsections (2) and (3), a recommendation under subsection (3)(b)

(a) may be made to—

(i) the Chief Justice, where the judge concerned is an ordinary judge of the Supreme Court, the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the High Court, the President of the Circuit Court or the President of the District Court,

(ii) the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the High Court, the President of the Circuit Court and the President of the District Court, where the judge concerned is the Chief Justice, or

(iii) the President of the court of which the judge concerned is a judge, in the case of a judge other than a judge to whom subparagraph (i) or (ii) applies,

or

(b) may recommend that changes be made to court procedures, practice directions, distribution of work or may also concern related matters,

or both.

Draft report to be sent to complainant and judge concerned

77. (1) The registrar to a panel of inquiry shall, before the panel of inquiry submits an interim report or a final report to the Judicial Conduct Committee in relation to an investigation of a complaint under this Chapter, send a draft of the report to—

(a) the judge concerned, and

(b) the complainant.

(2) The draft of a report referred to in subsection (1) shall be accompanied by a notice from the panel of inquiry specifying the period within which submissions or requests may be made to the panel of inquiry under section 78 (1).

Amendment of draft report

78. (1) A complainant or the judge concerned who receives a draft report from the registrar to a panel of inquiry under section 77 and who believes that the panel of inquiry has not observed fair procedures in relation to him or her may, within the period specified in a notice under that section, submit to the registrar to the panel of inquiry a statement in writing setting out the reasons for his or her belief and a request to the panel of inquiry to review the draft report having regard to the statement.

(2) Where a panel of inquiry does not receive a statement under subsection (1) within the period specified in the notice under section 77 , it shall, as soon as practicable after the expiration of that period, submit its report to the Judicial Conduct Committee.

(3) Where a panel of inquiry receives a statement under subsection (1), it may, after considering the statement and reviewing the draft report—

(a) amend the draft report to take account of the statement received, or

(b) decline to make any amendments to the draft report.

(4) A statement received by a panel of inquiry under subsection (1) shall be attached to the report submitted to the Judicial Conduct Committee under section 76 .

(5) If a draft report is not amended, or is only partially amended, to take account of a statement received under subsection (1), the reasons for that shall be included in the report submitted to the Judicial Conduct Committee under section 76 .

Determination of complaint by Judicial Conduct Committee

79. (1) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall, as soon as practicable after receiving a report under section 76 from a panel of inquiry in relation to a complaint that was the subject of an investigation, notify the complainant and the judge concerned in writing that he or she may make submissions, in writing or orally, to the Committee within such period as is specified in the notification in relation to the recommendations that may be included in the report under subsection (3) of that section.

(2) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall, as soon as practicable after the expiration of the period specified in a notification under subsection (1)

(a) consider—

(i) the report received from the panel of inquiry under section 76 , and

(ii) any submissions made by the complainant or the judge concerned pursuant to a notification under subsection (1),

and

(b) make such determination of the complaint concerned as it considers appropriate, including whether or not the complaint has been substantiated.

(3) The Judicial Conduct Committee may, for the purposes of—

(a) assisting it in making a decision under subsection (2), or

(b) observing fair procedures,

conduct a hearing in relation to a complaint that has been the subject of an investigation to which a report under section 76 relates if, having regard to all the circumstances, it considers it appropriate to do so.

(4) The Registrar shall notify the judge concerned and the complainant in writing of the date, time and place of a hearing under subsection (3) in sufficient time for the judge concerned and the complainant to prepare for the hearing.

(5) Subsections (5) to (7) of section 68 shall apply to a hearing under subsection (3) as they apply to a hearing of a complaint under that section with the following and any other necessary modifications:

(a) references to a panel of inquiry shall be construed as references to the Judicial Conduct Committee;

(b) references to the registrar to the panel of inquiry shall be construed as references to the Registrar.

(6) Section 69 shall apply for the purposes of a hearing under subsection (3) as it applies to the investigation of a complaint under this Chapter by a panel of inquiry subject to the modification that references in that section to a panel of inquiry shall be construed as references to the Judicial Conduct Committee.

(7) A determination under subsection (2)(b)

(a) shall be in writing,

(b) shall give the reasons for the determination, and

(c) may include any one or more of the matters referred to in subsection (5) or (6) of section 76 .

(8) In considering the report of a panel of inquiry and issuing a determination under subsection (2), the Judicial Conduct Committee may accept, with or without modification, or reject any recommendation contained in the report submitted by the panel of inquiry to the Judicial Conduct Committee under section 76 .

(9) Where a determination made by the Judicial Conduct Committee under subsection (2) requires no action to be taken by the judge concerned or is to the effect that the complaint has not been substantiated, the determination shall specify that the investigation of the complaint is concluded.

(10) Where a determination made by the Judicial Conduct Committee under subsection (2) requires the judge concerned to take any action, the Judicial Conduct Committee may—

(a) require the judge concerned to report to the Judicial Conduct Committee in the manner specified by that Committee regarding his or her compliance with the requirement, and

(b) adjourn the matter for such period as the Committee considers appropriate and at the end of that period ascertain whether or not the determination has been complied with by the judge concerned.

(11) The Registrar shall, as soon as practicable after the Judicial Conduct Committee makes a determination under subsection (2), notify the judge concerned and the complainant in writing of—

(a) the determination of the Judicial Conduct Committee,

(b) the reasons therefor, and

(c) where a matter has been adjourned under subsection (10)(b), the manner in which the judge is to report to the Judicial Conduct Committee and the period within which he or she shall do so.

(12) Where the Judicial Conduct Committee receives a report from the judge concerned under subsection (10)(a) and is of opinion that the determination has been complied with, it shall notify the judge concerned and the complainant in writing that the investigation of the complaint is concluded.

(13) Where the Judicial Conduct Committee—

(a) does not receive a report from the judge concerned under subsection (10)(a) within the period specified by the Judicial Conduct Committee under subsection (11)(c), or

(b) receives a report from the judge concerned under subsection (10)(a) but is not satisfied that the determination has been complied with,

the Committee may take such further action as it considers appropriate in all the circumstances, including the making under section 80 of a referral within the meaning of that section to the Minister in relation to the judge concerned.

(14) Where a hearing relating to the investigation of a complaint has been held in public, the Judicial Conduct Committee shall publish, or cause to be published, a determination under subsection (2).

(15) Where a hearing relating to the investigation of a complaint has been held in whole or in part otherwise than in public, the Judicial Conduct Committee may, for the purposes of safeguarding the administration of justice, decide to publish, or cause to be published, a determination under subsection (2) taking account of the extent to which the identities of the judge concerned and of the complainant or either of them have already been made public.

Referral by Judicial Conduct Committee to Minister of matter relating to conduct or capacity of judge for Article 35.4 purposes

80. (1) (a) In this section an “Article 35.4.1°; motion”, in relation to a judge, means a motion that is proposed in either House of the Oireachtas pursuant to the rules and standing orders for the time being in force of that House for the purpose of seeking a resolution of that House under subsection 1°; of section 4 of Article 35 of the Constitution calling for the removal from office of the judge for stated misbehaviour or incapacity within the meaning of that subsection.

(b) For the avoidance of doubt references in this section to an Article 35.4.1°; motion may—

(i) by virtue of section 39 of the Courts of Justice Act 1924, relate to a judge of the Circuit Court, and

(ii) by virtue of section 20 of the Courts of Justice (District Court) Act 1946, relate to a judge of the District Court.

(2) Where the Judicial Conduct Committee determines in accordance with this section that a matter relating to the conduct or capacity of a judge (whether or not arising from a complaint) requires the referral of the matter to the Minister under this section (in this section referred to as a “referral”), the Committee shall make a referral in relation to the judge.

(3) Where at any time during the course of an investigation by a panel of inquiry of—

(a) a complaint under this Part, or

(b) a matter relating to the conduct of a judge under section 59 ,

the panel of inquiry forms the opinion that a matter disclosed by the investigation relating to the conduct or capacity of the judge concerned is of such gravity as would justify a referral by the Judicial Conduct Committee in relation to that judge, the panel of inquiry shall prepare, and submit to the Judicial Conduct Committee, a report in writing in relation to the matter under this subsection.

(4) Where the Judicial Conduct Committee makes a referral in relation to a judge, the Minister shall, as soon as practicable thereafter, propose an Article 35.4.1°; motion in either House of the Oireachtas in respect of the judge (unless he or she sooner ceases to be a judge).

(5) Where a panel of inquiry makes a report under subsection (3) it shall adjourn the investigation of the complaint or matter concerned.

(6) A report under subsection (3) shall—

(a) record the opinion of the panel of inquiry referred to in that subsection,

(b) the reasons for that opinion, and

(c) recommend to the Judicial Conduct Committee that it make a referral in relation to the judge concerned.

(7) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall, as soon as practicable after receiving a report under subsection (3), send a copy of the report to the judge concerned, together with a notice specifying the period within which the judge may make submissions in relation to the report.

(8) Submissions to the Judicial Conduct Committee by a judge in relation to a report under subsection (3) shall be in writing.

(9) The Judicial Conduct Committee shall, as soon as practicable after the expiration of the period specified in the notice referred to in subsection (7), consider the report received from the panel of inquiry under subsection (3) and the submissions (if any) made by the judge concerned.

(10) If the Judicial Conduct Committee is satisfied that a referral is required in relation to the judge concerned, the Committee shall, as soon as practicable, furnish to the Minister—

(a) the report received from the panel of inquiry under subsection (3),

(b) the submissions (if any) made by the judge concerned in relation to that report, and

(c) the views (if any) of the Judicial Conduct Committee with regard to the report referred to in paragraph (a) and the submissions (if any) referred to in paragraph (b).

(11) The Registrar shall, as soon as practicable after the Judicial Conduct Committee complies with subsection (10), notify the judge concerned in writing thereof and shall provide him or her with a copy of the views (if any) of the Judicial Conduct Committee with regard to the report under subsection (3) or submissions made by that judge in relation to that report.

(12) The documents referred to in subsection (10) shall not accompany an Article 35.4.1°; motion proposed by the Minister but the Minister may use those documents, for the purposes of proposing an Article 35.4.1°; motion in respect of the judge concerned in either House of the Oireachtas, to state the matters upon which it is contended that the judge concerned should be removed from office.

(13) If the Judicial Conduct Committee is not satisfied that the recommendation referred to in paragraph (c) of subsection (6) made by the panel of inquiry in its report under subsection (3) should be accepted, the Committee shall direct the panel of inquiry to continue the investigation of the complaint or matter concerned with a view to its preparing and submitting to the Committee a report thereof under section 76 .

(14) Where a referral is made following the investigation of a complaint under this Part, the Registrar shall notify the complainant in writing of the referral as soon as practicable after an Article 35.4.1°; motion has been proposed by the Minister in Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann, as the case may be, in respect of the judge concerned.

(15) A statement or admission made by the judge concerned or evidence given to a panel of inquiry or a submission made to a panel of inquiry or to the Judicial Conduct Committee under this Part shall not be admissible—

(a) in any proceedings in either House of the Oireachtas, or

(b) before a committee of either such House or of both such Houses,

in relation to an Article 35.4.1°; motion in respect of the judge concerned.