Removal from Judicial Office

Article 35.4 of the Constitution of Ireland states:

  1. A judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour or incapacity and then only upon resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann and by Seanad Éireann calling for his removal.
  2. The Taoiseach shall duly notify the President of any such resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann and by Seanad Éireann, and shall send him a copy of every such resolution certified by the Chairman of the House of the Oireachtas by which it shall have been passed.
  3. Upon receipt of such notification and of copies of such resolutions, the President shall forthwith, by an order under his hand and Seal, remove from office the judge to whom they relate.

Although Article 35.4 refers specifically only to judges of the Supreme Court and High Court, the same procedure would have to be followed in order to remove a judge of the Circuit Court or the District Court as these judges are declared to hold office by the same tenure as the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court by, respectively, section 39 of the Courts of Justice Act 1924, and section 20 of the Courts of Justice (District Court) Act 1946.

To date no judge has ever been removed and the phrase in Article 35.4.1 referring to “stated misbehaviour or incapacity” has never had to be judicially interpreted.