Special Criminal Court

Information

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.

Rules

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:
    -offences under Part 7 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 (excluding conspiracy)
    - offences under the Explosive Substances Act 1883
    - offences under the Firearms Acts 1925 to 2006
    - offences under the Offences against the State Acts 1939 to 1998
  • 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 the Court of Appeal

Page edited: 20 May 2015