BaileNuachtPreaseisúntaí an Rialtais

Appointments to the Court of Appeal and the High Court


At its meeting today, the Government nominated a serving High Court judge, The Hon. Mr Justice John Hedigan, for appointment by the President to the Court of Appeal. This vacancy arose following the appointment of The Hon. Mr. Justice Peter Kelly as President of the High Court in December 2015.

The Government also agreed to nominate Mr Paul Coffey SC and Ms Úna Ní Raifeartaigh SC for appointment by the President to the High Court. Two vacancies were created following the enactment of the Courts Act 2015, which increased the number of ordinary judges of the High Court from 35 to 37.

The Government has taken the necessary steps to formally advise President Higgins of the nominations in accordance with constitutional procedure.


Note for Editors:

Section 17 of the Courts and Court Officers Act 1995, as amended, provides that where the Government proposes to advise the President to appoint to judicial office a person who is for the time being, a Judge of the Court of Appeal, a Judge of the High Court, a judge or specialist judge of the Circuit Court, or a judge of the District Court, the provisions of section 16 of that Act (which relate to the provision by the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board of a list of suitable nominees) shall not apply.

The nominations to the High Court follow the receipt of a list of suitable candidates from the Judicial Appointments Advisory Board.

Biographical Notes:

The Hon. Mr Justice John Hedigan
· Educated Trinity College Dublin and King’s Inns
· Called to the Bar: 1976
· Called to the Inner Bar:1990
· Called to the English Bar: 1986 and Bar of New South Wales Australia: 1993
· Bencher of the King’s Inns since 2002
· Judge of the European Court of Human Rights: Nov 1998 to April 2007
· Appointed as a judge of the High Court: April 2007
· Previous chairperson of the Civil Service Disciplinary Appeals Tribunal: 1992 to 1994

Mr Paul Coffey, SC
· Educated: University College Dublin, King’s Inns and Middle Temple, London
· Called to the Bar: 1984
· Called to the Inner Bar: 2002
· Certificate in International Human Rights Law
· Accredited Mediator
· Practices in criminal law and in civil law with wide experience in personal injury, medical negligence, planning and Constitutional law as well as in chancery and judicial review cases.
· Chairman and sole member of the Stardust Examination: 2008-2009

Ms Úna Ní Raifeartaigh, SC
· Educated: University College Dublin and King’s Inns
· Called to the Bar: 1993
· Called to the Inner Bar: 2009
· Practices mainly in criminal law with wide experience in Constitutional law, the European Convention of Human Rights, the law of evidence and in judicial review
· Advised in a number of inquiries including the Child Abuse Commission and the Inquiry into the conduct of Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission officers
· Former Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Trinity College Dublin: 1991-1995
· Member of the Committee for the monitoring of the treatment of persons in Garda custody; Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties; Chairperson of the Private Securities Services Appeal Board and author of, and contributor to, many legal articles and publications.