Court of Criminal Appeal (Ireland)



The Court of Criminal Appeal ( ga, An Chúirt Achomhairc Choiriúil) was an
appellate court A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In much of ...
for criminal cases in the
law of the Republic of Ireland The law of Ireland consists of constitutional, statute, and common law. The highest law in the State is the Constitution of Ireland, from which all other law derives its authority. The Republic has a common-law legal system with a written const ...
. It existed from 1924 until 2014, when it was superseded by the
Court of Appeal A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In much of ...
, which can hear appeals for all types of case.


The Court of Criminal Appeal heard appeals for
indictable offence In many common law jurisdictions (e.g. England and Wales, Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore), an indictable offence is an offence which can only be tried on an indictment after a preliminary hearing ...
s tried in the Circuit Court, the Central Criminal Court, and the Special Criminal Court. The Court sat in a division of three, with one
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of courts in most legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, apex court, and high (or final) court of appeal. Broadly speaking, the decisions ...
judge and two High Court judges. The court could hear appeals by a
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a person or object who is the party either accused of committing a crime in criminal prosecution or against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in a civil case. Terminology varies from one jur ...
conviction In law, a conviction is the verdict reached by a court of law finding a defendant guilty of a crime. The opposite of a conviction is an acquittal (that is, "not guilty"). In Scotland, there can also be a verdict of " not proven", which is co ...
, sentence or both. Leave to appeal was only given where there was a disagreement on a point of law, although an exception can be made when new evidence becomes available which could not have been presented before the original court. The
Director of Public Prosecutions The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is the office or official charged with the prosecution of criminal offences in several criminal jurisdictions around the world. The title is used mainly in jurisdictions that are or have been members ...
could also appeal against a sentence on the grounds that it was unduly lenient. A further appeal to the Supreme Court only lay when the Court of Criminal Appeal itself or the
Attorney General In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general (sometimes abbreviated AG or Atty.-Gen) is the main legal advisor to the government. The plural is attorneys general. In some jurisdictions, attorneys general also have exec ...
certified that a point of law of exceptional public importance needed to be resolved.


Before independence

The Crown Cases Act 1848 established a Court for Crown Cases Reserved in each of
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Eng ...
and Ireland. These courts were sometimes called the "Court of Criminal Appeal", but only heard point of law appeals. In England and Wales, a Court of Criminal Appeal was established in 1907, but in Ireland the 1848 court remained in operation. A Court of Criminal Appeal was temporarily established during the Irish Land War by the Prevention of Crime (Ireland) Act, 1882. This comprised the judges of the Supreme Court of Judicature except for the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. The 1882 Act expired after three years.

After independence

The Courts of Justice Act 1924 established a new court system under the terms of the 1922 Constitution of the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state established in December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. The treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the ...
. These included a new Supreme Court and High Court, and a Court of Criminal Appeal comprising judges of those two courts. The courts were re-established in 1961 under the terms of the current (1937) Constitution. The Court of Criminal Appeal was replaced on 5 November 2014 by the Court of Appeal, as mandated by the 33rd Amendment of the Constitution passed in 2013. The Court of Appeal has taken on all hearings of the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Courts-Martial Appeal Court, as well as many backlogged Supreme Court cases.



External links

Court of Criminal Appeal – Courts Service of Ireland
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the s ...
Courts of the Republic of Ireland 1924 establishments in Ireland 2014 disestablishments in Ireland Courts and tribunals established in 1924 Courts and tribunals disestablished in 2014