Certain members of the Judiciary had got it wrong when they challenged the right of Government to reduce pay during the recent economic crisis, the Honourable Mr Justice Michael Moriarty told members at our first lunch of 2016.
Addressing almost 40 members and guests at Buswells Hotel in Dublin on Friday, 8th January, Judge Moriarty said the pay cuts should have been unanimously adopted and not challenged. This ultimately resulted in a Referendum on the issue of Judicial pay.
Judge Moriarty said he had found significant changes when he returned to the High Court after his period as Sole Member of the Moriarty Tribunal, which enquired into payments to politicians. Judge Moriarty said the commercial Court has witnessed a “fusillade of cases” while there has been a major growth in Judicial Reviews
Judge Moriarty said he spent only a short period sitting as a High Court Judge on his appointment in 1996 before he moved to Dublin Castle to act as Sole Member of the tribunal which bore his name.
Among the changes he noted on his return to the High Court in 2011, not least was the diversity in law and the challenges of IT. “There was a great deal more types of law. For instance the Commercial Court had effectively become a tribunal for large scale disputes,” he said.
In addition to the Commercial Court and Judicial Review cases, there were asylum and extradition cases and crime had moved into the area of major drugs and tiger kidnappings. One pleasing aspect was the increase in female representation at the Bar and in the Judiciary.
Judge Moriarty said there was significantly more “media supervision” of the Courts and this was a good thing. Ireland, he said, was well served by its media and in particular journalists who cover the Courts and offer commentary. “It is good that we are under the microscope and the people of the press play a significant part,” he said.
On his work in the Tribunal, Judge Moriarty said a major contributory factor to its longevity were due to the constant legal challenges made in the Courts .
- Judge Moriarty, who was born in Belfast, was educated in UCD and called to the Bar in 1968 and took Silk
(Senior Counsel) in 1982. He is a former Chairman of the Employment Appeals Tribunal and appointed to the Circuit Court in 1987. He worked on the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s Commission on Crime which reported in 1994.