The Irish Courts and legal system enjoy relatively high levels of trust from the public compared with other public bodies, according to a survey carried out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The Trust Survey asked questions on inter-personal and institutional trusts, while respondents were also asked to rate their satisfaction levels with specific public services.

Respondents were asked to rate their interpersonal and institutional trust levels on a 0-10-point scale from ‘0 Not at all’ to ‘10 Completely’. The mean score for each trust level indicator was calculated by adding individual scores and dividing the total by the number of individuals. A score of 0 to 4 indicated that people ‘don’t trust’ the institution, with 5 signalling a ‘neutral’ stance, and 6 to10 indicating that people broadly trusted the institution.

The highest mean respondents’ trust scores were for trust in ‘most people’ and trust in ‘the Gardaí’, both at 6.7. The Courts and the legal system were not far behind, with a score of 6.5. The lowest average scores were for trust in political parties 3.8, and trust in the news media 4.8.

The percentage of male respondents who trusted the gardaí (72%) was the same as the percentage who trusted the courts and legal system. For female respondents, however, there was a gap, with 79% trusting the gardaí, but 64% trusting the courts and legal system.

More than 70% of respondents who voted for a Government party in the last general election trusted the courts and legal system, compared with just over 60% of those who voted for an opposition party. Almost 60% of those surveyed believed that it was likely that a court would make a decision that could negatively impact on the Government’s image, free from political influence.

Trust levels in most people increased with respondents’ age. Almost one in ten (9%) respondents aged 18-44 don’t trust most people, more than double the rate (4%) for respondents aged 65 and over. 71% of respondents aged 18-44 trust most people. For respondents aged 65 and over this rate is 84%.


NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website, or email