Role of the tipstaff
Each judge in Ireland has a personal assistant in court called a "tipstaff". He or she wears a black gown and when he or she is in court, he or she usually sits on a chair at one side of the judge. One of his/her duties is to announce the arrival and departure of the judge from the courtroom.
The tipstaff's main function is to provide general assistance to the judge:
- The tipstaff accompanies the judge while the judge is carrying out his or her duties. In the High Court and the Supreme Court, the tipstaff holds a long wooden staff when he or she is bringing the judge from chambers to the court and back.
- The tipstaff communicates with the other tipstaffs to keep the judge informed about what is happening in other courts on a day-to-day basis.
- If the judge wishes to communicate a message to another court, needs a book or needs another errand to be carried out, he or she may ask his or her tipstaff for assistance.