Irish Law Scociety Concerned About Limited 2 Hour Court Sessions

The Law Society of Ireland has expressed concern, in the public interest, about the news that physical court sittings are to be limited to two hours per day.

Director general Ken Murphy described the development as “bizarre and very frustrating”.

The move to limit sittings was announced in a statement from the chief justice and other presidents of the courts today (20 May). It followed advice given to the Houses of the Oireachtas earlier this week about people who may be in the same room for more than two hours, even though they are practising social distancing.

Urgent advice

The judges said the decision was made pending “urgent advice” being sought by the Courts Service from health authorities.

While the limit will not apply to remote hearings, Mr Murphy explains that “such a limitation is a disappointing setback to the valiant efforts being made by the Courts Service to reopen the courts in the public interest.”


“It is bordering on bizarre that Ireland is being given this advice for the first time, more than two months into the COVID-19 crisis, where the public health advice, up to now, has been admirably clear.”

“The question has to be asked if there has been some miscommunication and overreaction here,” Mr Murphy noted.

“The Dáil has frequently sat for periods of well in excess of two hours during the crisis. Furthermore, businesses and workplaces providing essential services have been operating for periods well in excess of two hours for the duration of the restrictions.”