Introduction to the Justice System

The justice system is the mechanism that upholds the rule of law.

Article 34.1 of the Constitution of Ireland provides that “[j]ustice shall be administered in courts established by law by judges appointed in the manner provided by this Constitution, and, save in such special and limited cases as may be prescribed by law, shall be administered in public”.

The Courts provide a forum for determining in accordance with the laws of the state all controversies of a justiciable nature arising within the territory of the State, and for that purpose exercising the authority of the State over persons and property. They are independent and impartial, and every judge makes and subscribes to a declaration that he or she will execute their office “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will towards any man”, and “will uphold the Constitution and the laws.” Accordingly, the decision of any Court will be based upon what the evidence establishes and what the law says, and upon nothing else. It is for this reason that justice is said to be blind, and why it is often depicted by a blindfolded figure holding a balancing scales in one hand. The justice system must also, where necessary, be coercive and that is why the same figure is usually also depicted with a sword in the other hand.

Within the justice system the administration of the courts, as opposed to the administration of justice itself, is carried out by the Courts Service of Ireland.