You are here: Home > Justice > Courts system > Special Criminal Court

Print Page Send to a Friend

Special Criminal Court


Special Criminal Courts relate to criminal trials only. They are established where the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order.

The present Special Criminal Court was established in 1972 and comprises three judges of the ordinary courts - usually one High Court judge, one Circuit Court Judge and District Court Judge. There is no jury in the Special Criminal Court.


The Special Criminal Court has no civil jurisdiction. Criminal cases are transferred from the ordinary criminal courts to the Special Criminal Court if:

  • The offence in question is a "scheduled offence". Cases involving a "scheduled offence" generally involve "subversive crime" and are automatically transferred to the Special Criminal Court. The current list of scheduled offences includes:
    - any offence under the Criminal Damage Act 1991
    - an offence under Part 7 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 (excluding conspiracy)
    - any offence under the Explosive Substances Act 1883
    - any offence under the Firearms Acts 1925 to 2006
    - any offence under the Offences against the State Act 1939
  • The offence in question is not a "scheduled offence" but the Director of Public Prosecutions issues a certificate stating that in his/her opinion, the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order. Once such a certificate is issued, the case must be transferred from the ordinary court to the Special Criminal Court.

An appeal against conviction or sentence by a Special Criminal Court may be taken to theCourt of Criminal Appeal

Page updated: 6 August 2009



Related Documents

  • Courts
    An outline of the courts that operate in Ireland and the offices that support them.
  • Circuit Court
    The Circuit Court is a court of local and limited jurisdiction. Ireland is divided into 8 circuits for the purpose of this Court.
  • Classification of crimes in criminal cases
    The way in which a criminal offence is investigated and prosecuted depends on the type of crime involved. For these purposes criminal offences may be described in different ways.

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.