Establishment of New Planning and Environment Division of the High Court
Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, and Minister of State with responsibility for Law Reform, James Browne TD, welcomed the establishment of a new division of the High Court dedicated to Planning and Environment cases.
The court has been operating on an administrative basis for a number of months.
A ceremonial first sitting this morning marked its full establishment as a High Court Division and the fulfilment of a key commitment in the Government’s Housing for All Strategy.
Minister McEntee said, “the new division of the High Court will help us improve the delivery of housing by reducing planning delays. It is a key commitment in our Housing for All strategy and, as Minister for Justice, I am pleased have introduced these much needed reforms to establish the new division.”
“It will also allow for greater efficiency and specialism in the handling of litigation relating to planning and environmental matters, particularly judicial reviews. Dealing with such cases in an effective and efficient manner is key to enabling the State’s delivery of housing and infrastructure, while also protecting the environment.”
“Dealing with such cases in an effective and efficient manner is key to enabling the State’s delivery of housing and infrastructure, while also protecting the environment. This marks the culmination of extensive engagement and consultation between my Department, the Courts Service and a number of other Government Departments – in particular the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.”
The new High Court division is to become fully operational following the assignment of an third additional High Court judge to the area and the publication by the President of the High Court of ‘Practice Direction HC 124’, which takes effect from today, 11 December 2023.
This follows the appointment by the Government of 24 additional judges this year to increase resources in the Courts and ensure greater access to justice.
Welcoming the news, Minister Browne said, “the assignment of three judges to the Planning and Environment Court is crucial to support increased capacity and flexibility. I offer my congratulations and best wishes to the three judges; Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys, Mr. Justice David Holland and Ms. Justice Emily Farrell, who is one of the additional High Court judges nominated by Government in June 2023 arising from the recommendations of the Judicial Planning Working Group.”
“The Group’s final report recommended that 44 additional judges be appointed in two phases, representing a 25% increase in the number of judges in the Irish legal system. Government approved a first tranche of 24 additional judges in February, all of whom have now been appointed.”