The judge in the DTC monitors the progress of the participants on the programme and provides leadership and motivation to them, while also enforcing and imposing sanctions if necessary. The judge meets with the team each week at a pre-court meeting to discuss each participant’s progress. In the early stages of the programme the participant appears in court every week but this is reduced as s/he progresses through the three separate phases.
At the hearing in open court there is a direct conversation between the judge and the participant. Over time a full picture of the participant becomes apparent to the judge and the team. Through continued interaction between the judge and participant, a relationship develops and it is important that the participants appear as much as possible in front of the same judge. The President of the District Court has appointed two other judges to sit in the DTC to allow for dates when Judge Ryan is unavailable. In this way the essential consistency and continuation of judicial input can be maintained and the energy, interest and skill of these judges can help in the development of all aspects of the court’s work.