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Ireland. Courts Service. (2012) Courts service annual report 2011. Dublin: Courts Service.

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In 2011 there were increases in rape cases, and theft/fraud/robbery cases and decreases in murder cases, drugs cases and road traffic cases in the criminal courts. In the civil courts, there were increases across all jurisdictions in applications relating to the recovery of debt though there were decreases in applications for possession in the High Court and applications for committal for non payment of debt, in the District Court. In the family courts there was little change in the numbers applying for judicial separation and divorce - with wives applying for the majority of both. There was a significant reduction in drink driving and other driving offences at District Court level.

Judicial and administrative responses to the resources issue
• In the Supreme Court a number of list management initiatives were introduced to address the delay in the hearing of cases and the delivery of judgments. These included the categorisation of appeals where common issues of law arose and the sitting of the Court in two divisions.
• The President of the High Court scheduled additional sittings of the High Court, with the voluntary assistance of High Court Judges, during September 2011. This resulted in the disposal of over 300 additional common law matters. That and the allocation of an extra judge from the following month on helped reduce the waiting time for motions for judgment from 20 weeks to nine weeks.
• The High Court also assumed the hearing of Notices of Motion seeking an order for discovery, previously dealt with by the Master of the High Court. This measure reduced the waiting time in the Master’s Court from 26 weeks to eight weeks.
• The President of the Circuit Court assigned extra judges to deal with criminal cases in 13 provincial venues - thus reducing waiting times in those areas, and bringing justice in a timely manner.
• The President of the District Court scheduled additional sittings in Dublin in August and September to further reduce waiting times. She also facilitated the extension of the catchment area of the Drug Treatment Court - allowing for more people to avail of its resources to restore them as citizens and to restore them to he community.
• Additional adjudicative functions were transferred by Statute to county registrars during the year, which also saw the appointment of five county registrars as vice chairs of the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
• Twenty court venues were amalgamated in 2011 freeing up judicial and staff time to hear extra cases, allocate specific family law and children’s hearings, and reduce waiting times.

Drug Treatment Court (page 20)
The catchment area for the Drug Treatment Court (DTC) was extended during the year to include participants from additional areas of Dublin. There were four graduations from the third and final (gold) phase of the DTC programme with others completing the first (bronze) and second (silver) phases.

Statistical highlights 2011
Criminal cases:
• 39 murder cases in Central Criminal Court - a 7% increase on 2010 and a 26% decease on 2009
• 80 rape cases in Central Criminal Court - a 27% increase on 2010 and a 63% increase on 2009
• 414 European Arrest Warrant applications in High Court - a 9% decrease on 2010
• 32 defendants before the Special Criminal Court - a 52% increase on 2010
• 50 sentences of 10 years or more in Circuit Criminal Court - mostly for theft/fraud/robbery cases
• 481 sentences of between five and ten years in Circuit Criminal Court - 41% for theft/fraud/robbery cases
• over 1,800 sentences of between two and five years in Circuit Criminal Court - 44% for theft and robbery offences
• 59% of summary cases disposed of in District Court relate to road traffic offences
• Dangerous driving offence orders in District Court decrease by 7% on 2010 figures and 13% on 2009 figures
• Drink driving offence orders in District Court decrease by 12% on 2010 figures and 24% on 2009 figures

Civil cases:
• 16,060 personal injury actions in the High Court and Circuit Court - a 5% increase on 2010
• 305 applications to wind up companies in the High Court - a 12% increase on 2010
• 33 new bankruptcies in High Court - a 13% increase on 2010
• 634 orders for possession made - 281 in the High Court, a 14% decrease on 2010 and 353 in the Circuit Court, a 15% increase on 2010
• 7,549 judgment mortgage certificates issued in High Court and Circuit Court - a 16% increase on 2010
• 21,741 cases for breach of contract and recovery of debt in Circuit Court - a 21% decrease on 2010 - remains the highest category of civil claims at 50%
• 3,783 judgments for recovery of debt in High Court - a 35% increase on 2010 and a 70% increase on 2009
• 4,443 execution (of debt) orders issued in the High Court - a 38% increase on 2010 and a 77% increase on 2009
• 7,795 judgments registered across all jurisdictions - a 42% increase on 2010
• 1,051 committal orders for non payment of debt in District Court - a decrease of 63% on 2010
• 1,193 applications for judicial review in High Court - a 24% decrease on 2010 - 59% of applications relate to asylum
• 1,379 applications for judicial separation - a 3% decrease on 2010 - majority by wives (74% in High Court; 75% in Circuit Court)
• 3,358 applications for divorce - slight reduction on 2010 - majority by husbands in High Court (54%) and by wives in Circuit Court (54%)
• 2,287 care orders granted to the Health Service Executive in the District Court - an increase of 119% on 2010

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