Chief Justice of Ireland
The Chief Justice of Ireland is the president
Chief Justice
The Chief Justice in many countries is the name for the presiding member of a Supreme Court in Commonwealth or other countries with an Anglo-Saxon justice system based on English common law, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Court of Final Appeal of...

 of the Supreme Court of Ireland.

Under Constitution of Ireland
Constitution of Ireland
The Constitution of Ireland is the fundamental law of the Irish state. The constitution falls broadly within the liberal democratic tradition. It establishes an independent state based on a system of representative democracy and guarantees certain fundamental rights, along with a popularly elected...

, the Chief Justice of Ireland also occupies several positions ex officio, these include;
  • A possible judge of the High Court.
  • A member of the Council of State
    Council of State (Ireland)
    The Council of State is a body established by the Constitution of Ireland to advise the President of Ireland in the exercise of many of his or her discretionary, reserve powers...

     (a position retained on retirement).
  • A member of the Presidential Commission
    Presidential Commission (Ireland)
    The Presidential Commission is the collective vice-presidency of Ireland.-Membership:Three members serve on the Presidential Commission.* Chief Justice – President of the Supreme Court* Ceann Comhairle – Presiding officer of Dáil Éireann...


Statutory roles

Under s. 2(5) of the Referendum Act 1998
Referendum Act 1998
The Referendum Act 1998 is an act of the Oireachtas which modified how referendums are carried out in Ireland. The act was necessary following the McKenna case where the Supreme Court of Ireland held that the spending of public money on constitutional referendums to support the...

, the Chief Justice nominates the chairperson of the Referendum Commission
Referendum Commission
The Referendum Commission is an independent statutory body in Ireland which is set up in advance of any referendum. The Referendum Act 1998 as amended by the Referendum Act 2001 provides for the establishment of the body.-Background:...


List of Chief Justices since 1924

Name Entered Office Left Office
Hugh Kennedy
Hugh Kennedy
Hugh Kennedy was the only Attorney-General of Southern Ireland and the first Attorney-General of the Irish Free State, and later the first Chief Justice of the Irish Free State. As a member of the Irish Free State Constitution Commission, he was also one of the constitutional architects of the...

1924 1936
Timothy Sullivan
Timothy Sullivan (Irish judge)
Timothy Sullivan was Chief Justice of Ireland from 1936 to 1946.He was born in Dublin, the third son of Timothy Daniel Sullivan, a prominent Home Rule MP and Lord Mayor of Dublin. Through his sister Anne who married Dr. Thomas Higgins he was the uncle of Kevin O'Higgins and great-uncle of another...

1936 1946
Conor Maguire
Conor Maguire
Conor Alexander Maguire was an Irish politician, lawyer and judge. He was a founding member of the Legal and Economic Society in UCD in 1911; now known as the University College Dublin Law Society...

1946 1961
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh
Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh served as the fifth President of Ireland, from 1974 to 1976. He resigned in 1976 after a clash with the government. He also had a notable legal career, including serving as Chief Justice of Ireland.- Early life :Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, one of four children, was born on 12 February...

1961 1973
William FitzGerald
William FitzGerald (Irish judge)
William O'Brien FitzGerald was an Irish lawyer and judge. He was born in County Cork in 1906, and was educated in Belvedere College, Dublin, and King's Inns. He was called to the Bar in 1927 and to the Inner Bar in 1944...

1973 1974
Thomas O'Higgins
Tom O'Higgins
Thomas Francis O'Higgins was an Irish Fine Gael politician, a barrister and a judge.Tom O'Higgins was born in Cork in 1916. He was the son of Thomas F. O'Higgins and the nephew of Kevin O'Higgins...

1974 1985
Thomas Finlay
Thomas Finlay (judge)
Thomas Aloysius Finlay is a former Irish Fine Gael politician and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He is the second son of Thomas Finlay, a politician and senior counsel whose career was cut short by his early death in 1932. He was educated at Clongowes Wood College, University College Dublin...

1985 1994
Liam Hamilton
Liam Hamilton
Liam Hamilton was an Irish lawyer and judge. He was educated at C.B.S. Mitchelstown, University College Dublin and King's Inns. He was called to the Bar in 1956 and to the Inner Bar in 1968....

1994 2000
Ronan Keane
Ronan Keane
The Hon. Ronan Keane , S.C., was Chief Justice of Ireland from 2000 to 2004. Keane was educated at Blackrock College, Dublin, and graduated from University College Dublin in 1953 with a BA in Modern History. He was called to the Bar in 1954 and became a Senior Counsel in 1970. He was appointed...

2000 2004
John L. Murray
John L. Murray
John Loyola Murray is an Irish judge and served as the Chief Justice of Ireland from 2004 to 2011.Murray was born in Limerick in 1943 and educated at Crescent College, Limerick, Rockwell College, County Tipperary, University College Dublin, and the Honorable Society of King's Inns. He was...

2004 2011
Susan Denham
Susan Denham
Susan Denham is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland. She was appointed by the President of Ireland on 25 July 2011...

2011 Incumbent

Constitution of Ireland and the removal of a judge from office

There is no Twenty-second Amendment. The Twenty-second Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2001 [relating to the removal of a Judge from Office and providing for a body to be established by Law to investigate or cause to be investigated conduct constituting misbehaviour by a Judge or affected by incapacity of a Judge] was not passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas.

See also

  • Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
    Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
    thumb|200px|The Four CourtsThe headquarters of the Irish judicial system since 1804. The Court of King's Bench was one of the original four courts that sat there....

  • Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
    Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
    The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is the head of the judiciary in Northern Ireland, presiding over the Courts of Northern Ireland. The present Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is Sir Declan Morgan...

  • Master of the Rolls in Ireland
    Master of the Rolls in Ireland
    The office of Master of the Rolls in Ireland originated in the office of the keeper of the Rolls in the Irish Chancery and became an office granted by letters patent in 1333. It was abolished in 1924....

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