The Supreme Court



The Supreme Court is the court of final appeal and the ultimate arbiter of the law in Ireland. Before Ireland’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1922, this function belonged to the House of Lords in London and the courts in Ireland largely reflected those in England.

After the creation of the Irish Free State in December 1922, one of the first tasks was to establish a new court system. The Courts of Justice Act 1924 established this new system, which included a Supreme Court as the final court of appeal in Ireland subject to an exceptional right of appeal to the Privy Council in London. By 1935, the right of appeal to the Privy Council had been abolished.

In 1937, the People ratified by plebiscite a new Constitution: Bunreacht na hÉireann. This Constitution provided for, among other things, a new court system. Legislation to establish these new courts was enacted in 1961.

In 2014, the Constitution was amended to create a new court – the Court of Appeal – which sits below the Supreme Court in the now-five-tiered court system. The Constitution was also amended to provide that the Supreme Court will hear appeals only in exceptional cases involving matters of public importance or where the interests of justice require it to hear such an appeal.

The Court is made up of a Chief Justice and a maximum of nine ordinary judges. The Presidents of the Court of Appeal and the High Court are ex officio members of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is located in the historic Four Courts complex in Dublin, the capital city in Ireland..