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Criminal Justice Systems in Europe: Ireland

NCJ Number
C J M Kimber
Date Published
54 pages
The Irish criminal justice system is a hybrid of the common law of England, historical practice, and legislation of the modern Irish State.
Irish criminal law is comprised of common law and statute law. Common law has developed over centuries through judicial decisions, while statute law represents a mix of pre-1922 British legislation and post-1922 Irish legislation. Ireland does not have a code of criminal procedure; instead, the criminal justice system is regulated by statute which has been interpreted by case law. The Irish criminal court system consists of the district court, the circuit court, the high court, and the supreme court. The Irish legal profession is divided into two branches, barristers and solicitors. Fundamental principles of criminal law and procedure in Ireland's criminal justice system are described, particularly in terms of legality, age of criminal responsibility, and strict liability. The organization of criminal investigations, trials, and the Director of Public Prosecutions is discussed, and the victim's role in criminal proceedings is examined. Consideration is also paid to sentencing, sanctions, juvenile and young offenders, probation, the prison system, and prisoner aftercare. Statistics are tabulated on offenses against the person, murder, manslaughter, traffic fatalities, offenses against property with violence, robbery, burglary, larceny, arson, and malicious damage. 18 references, 51 footnotes