Call McGarr Solicitors on: 01 6351580

Home » Blog » Legal profession

The Long Vacation

Following a long-standing tradition, the Supreme Court, the High Court and the Circuit courts are on holiday. The holiday lasts for August and September and is appropriately called The Long Vacation.

According to Wikipedia;

In the United Kingdom the word “vacation” referred specifically to the long summer break taken by the law courts (and later universities)—a custom introduced by William the Conqueror
from Normandy where it was intended to facilitate the grape harvest. The French term is similar to the American English: “Les Vacances.” The term derives from the fact that, in the past, upper-class families would literally move to a summer home for part of the year, leaving their usual family home vacant.â€?

In Ireland grape harvesting is not to fore. It has been speculated that the tradition facilitated taking in any harvest and that gentleman farmers that were practicing barristers or judges found the same need for quitting their professional activities to bring in their crops.

The pressure of modern life probably ensures the continuation of the tradition rather than ending it. While the courts are sitting, barristers, solicitors and judges are engaged in the constantly moving process that is the formal administration of justice. The pressure of this work suggests “the front lineâ€? of warfare. Even, or particularly, in warfare it is necessary to rotate the troops out of the front line and into the rear, for “rest and recreationâ€?.

Under the Rules of the Superior Courts the obligation to deliver pleadings is suspended during the Long Vacation. Consequently, motions for judgment in default cannot arise; the great engine of confrontation that drives litigation is thrown out of gear, if not switched off entirely.

In fact it cannot be switched off completely. Urgent matters can and do arise. There is always a judge on duty to hear applications of that nature. In addition, the courts sit every fortnight or so and urgent applications may be listed before the court to be heard on those days. They are occasions to see what life would be like without the wearing of wigs, gowns or tabs by the barristers and judges, which, during terms, the forces of political and social reaction dictate.