The Association of Judges of Ireland
The Association of Judges in Ireland (AJI) was formed on the 18th of November 2011. It is a representative body and represents the interests of its members. Although it does not represent the judiciary as such, the AJI’s membership comprises the vast majority of the judges in the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Circuit Court and the District Court. The AJI’s mandate is set out in detail in its Constitution and includes the protection and enhancement of judicial independence, the improvement of the administration of justice and the promotion of a better public understanding of the role played by the judiciary both within the justice system and as an arm of government.
The background to the foundation of the AJI was concern that, in the absence of an independent judicial council established by statute, no satisfactory mechanism existed for the judiciary as a whole to convey its point of view on matters of concern to it, when appropriate, and in a manner consistent with the judicial function.
Existing channels for communication between the executive and the judicial branches of government, respectively, were perceived to be inadequate; in particular, it was felt that established protocols for consultation between the executive and the judiciary about matters of mutual interest were ineffective, alternatively too slow, and in any case no longer fit for purpose in the second decade of the 21st century.
The AJI was established as a vehicle to facilitate its members in addressing such issues, both those of urgent and immediate concern, and those that might arise in the future.
The AJI was founded on the 18th of November, 2011 at the 2011 National Conference of the Judiciary hosted by the Committee for Judicial Studies at Dublin Castle. On that occasion some 113 members of the Irish judiciary, drawn from every jurisdiction, and representing approximately 77% of total number of serving judges in Ireland, signed the Constitution of the Association of Judges of Ireland as founding members. Membership is voluntary but has grown to the point where the AJI now represents in excess of 90% of the serving judiciary. In addition, a number of retired judges have joined the AJI as Honorary Members.