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News & Events
Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Council of Europe finds that Ireland violated the European Social Charter the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection.The Council of Europe has today upheld a Collective Complaint that Ireland has violated Article 16 of the European Social Charter on the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection. Adequate housing is viewed as an integral element of this right.The Council of Europe held that Ireland failed to take sufficient and timely measures to ensure the right to housing of an adequate standard for a significant number of families living in local authority housing, and therefore there is a violation of Article 16 of the Charter in this respect.This Collective Complaint was facilitated by the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway, working in association with local tenants groups in the main cities, law centres and Non-Government Organisations, involved the submission of detailed evidence of housing conditions on local authority estates, with associated human rights standards. Some 90% of the estimated 130,000 Irish local authority tenant households live on estates.Dr Padraic Kenna, Director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway today welcomed this landmark decision, saying: "We have been working with tenants groups, law centres, national and international human rights agencies, over the past five years. Our students at the University researched the European human rights norms. This decision marks a significant historical development, which could enhance the development of Irish State housing policy."The Irish State does not support any national organisation of its tenants, who could be consulted or participate in framing legislation or housing policy, unlike almost every other European country. There was no opportunity, within Ireland, for these tenants to have the collective issues examined in any systematic way. They could submit this European Complaint only through other organisations. Many issues faced by Irish local authority tenants could be resolved by tenants associations.Dr Kenna added: "Of course, nothing in this complaint was intended to diminish respect for the valuable and dedicated work of national and local authority housing professionals, or the committed work of voluntary and community groups and public representatives, who work tirelessly to improve the situation of local authority tenants in Ireland. This issue is more complex. State housing in Ireland generates a surplus after maintenance costs are deducted from rents. A recent report from the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) shows that local authorities generated a surplus of €40 million in 2014, from their housing, used to cross-subsidise other services."The Council of Europe noted that complete statistics on the condition of local authority housing have not been collated since 2002. It also noted that a significant number of regeneration programmes have not been completed, leaving many local authority tenants in unacceptable housing conditions.Significantly, housing standards for 30,000 tenants of approved housing bodies are now regulated by the Residential Tenancies Board, but there is no such regulation of State tenancies. Indeed, the State is both the landlord and the regulator on housing standards in local authority housing.The Irish State must report to the Council of Europe within 12 months on how it has addressed this violation.The full decision and a summary is available at: https://mycloud.coe.int/index.php/s/gmW0htvgNt9hFhN#pdfviewer
Friday, 15 September 2017
Professor Mary McAleese was the eminent speaker at a recent Masterclass for PhD law students held at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Professor McAleese was President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011 and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Her area of research is children's rights in Canon Law. Five PhD students from National University of Ireland, Galway were among a group of PhD law students from Universities throughout Ireland who attended the Masterclass. Deirdre Halloran, Luke Hamilton, Maria Corbett, Maria Portuondo, Silvia Gagliardi and Sandra Murphy are all currently engaged in individual doctoral projects under the auspices of the School of Law and The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUIG. Dr. Deirdre McGowan, Head of Law at DIT, chaired the Masterclass and each of the PhD participants gave a short introduction of themselves and their area of research. There was a wide variety of PhD topics and research interests among the students which gave an insight into the diversity of law PhDs currently being undertaken in university law schools around the country. Professor McAleese spoke about her career to date. It is a truly exceptional career that has spanned law, journalism, academics, politics and human rights at national and international levels. Professor McAleese then spoke about her research into Canon Law and told us about the one year of Medieval Latin that she had to master in the first year of her PhD research! As she spoke her passion and conviction for her research topic shone through. Her own experiences of the PhD process and the importance of the project undertaken was truly motivational. Her PhD research is highly significant, focusing on The Holy See and the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. After a fascinating talk Professor McAleese allowed plenty of time for questions and led a discussion of her topic and her research area generally. The afternoon passed quickly and everyone enjoyed Professor McAleese's warmth and generous engagement with us all. The Masterclass series is an innovative initiative of the Royal Irish Academy which allows the participants sit around a table and engage with a high-profile expert and have a face-to-face discussion, rather than in a lecture theatre format. The objective of the masterclass is to engage and motivate early-career researchers and forge relationships and networks.
Monday, 24 July 2017
Congratulations to Kyle Greene, a recent graduate of the BCL International programme, with 1st Class Honours, who has been awarded a place on the prestigious LL.M. European Law programme (2017 – 2018) at the College of Europe, Bruges. The College of Europe is recognised as the leading institution for post-graduate studies in European affairs, with a list of notable alumni that includes former Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Prime Minister of Finland Alexander Stubb, and the former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as well as a number of diplomats and senior civil servants in European institutions. Kyle spent a period of the summer working as a judicial intern at the Supreme Court of Ireland as part of the Chief Justice's summer internship programme and has also been offered a traineeship with Walkers Global, a preeminent international financial services law firm, through their Cathal Lavelle Summer Internship programme, which is organized in conjunction with the (NUIG) School of Law.
Thursday, 13 July 2017
The School of Law is delighted to announce that the Irish Research Council has awarded scholarships to two candidates from the School of Law and its Centres. Congratulations to Jurgita Bukauskaite and her supervisor Dr Ekaterina Yahyaoui-Krivenko, ICHR, and to Sarah Hofmayer and her supervisor Dr Lucy-Ann Buckley. Jurgita's research topic is "Translating Universal Human Rights Commitments on Gender Equality into the Vernacular and in Line with the Istanbul Convention: the Case of Domestic Violence in Ireland". A multidisciplinary socio-legal analysis of the human rights instruments will be conducted with an objective to identify the best practices to promote gender equality, prevent and end violence against women, and domestic violence in particular. This study is timely considering Ireland is preparing to ratify the the Istanbul Convention and will offer informed guidance to the legal professionals and policy makers on the standards necessary to promote and successfully implement the Convention vis-a-vis de facto position of women. Sarah's research topic is "Work Integration Social Enterprises - a tool to further inclusive employment for persons with disabilities?" This research is looking into how WISE can contribute to realizing inclusive employment in conformity with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It includes a comparative analysis of the legal and regulatory situation in Austria, Ireland and Italy, taking the experiences of service users and social entrepreneurs via qualitative interviews into account.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
Dr Connie Healy organised a Summer School in Law for secondary school students in June 2017. The summer school provided participants with an insight into studying law at NUIG. Students travelled from all over the country to participate. Dr Conor Hanly introduced students to Criminal law, Ursula Connolly explored topical issues in Tort law, Dr Ciara Smyth examined the Irish Asylum system, Dr John Danaher explored Game Theory and the Law and Dr Brian Tobin led a session on the Regulation of Surrogacy in Ireland. The students also had an opportunity to meet with current students of the School of Law and learn about the different undergraduate law programmes that we offer. Dr Máire Áine Ní Mhainnín and Dr Deirdre Byrnes, from the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, spoke about the opportunity to study French, German, Spanish and Nicola Murphy and Dr Conor Hanly outlined the many exciting opportunities there are to study throughout Europe and internationally as part of the undergraduate law programmes offered at NUI Galway. The final session, delivered by Dr Connie Healy, focused on outlining the different careers options available both as members of the legal profession (solicitors and barristers) and alternative careers in law.
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Professor Donncha O’Connell of the School of Law at NUI Galway has been appointed by the Government to the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The Commission, which has been established in response to recent controversies involving An Garda Síochána and is modelled on the Patten Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland, will be chaired by Kathleen O’Toole, the Chief of the Seattle Police Department and former Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate. The other members are: Ms Noeline Blackwell, Mr Conor Brady, Dr Johnny Connolly, Dr Vicky Conway, Mr Tim Dalton, Sir Peter Fahy, Dr Eddie Molloy, Ms Tonita Murray, Dr Antonio Oftelie and Ms Helen Ryan.Professor O’Connell recently completed a four-year term as Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway. He is also a Commissioner (part-time) of the Law Reform Commission and served, for four years, as a board member of the Legal Aid Board. He was, previously, a member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights that advised the EU Commission on a wide range of human rights issues. He was also the Senior Irish member of FRALEX, a legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in Vienna for a period of time.Speaking after the announcement of the Commission’s membership, Professor O’Connell said: “It is a great responsibility to be asked to serve on the Commission on the Future of Policing and I look forward to working with Kathleen O’Toole and the other members in an open-minded and rigorous manner so as to make credible and constructive proposals on the future of policing in Ireland.”Professor O’Connell joined the staff of NUI Galway in 1993 having studied at NUI Galway, The Honorable Society of the King’s Inns, Dublin and the University of Edinburgh. He took leave of absence in 1999 to become the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) returning to NUI Galway in 2002. He was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) in the academic year 2009-2010. Professor O’Connell has served on the boards of a number of non-governmental human rights organisations including: INTERIGHTS, Amnesty International – Ireland and the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd. He was also, for nine years, a board member of Druid Theatre Company. More recently, he was a member of the Gender Equality Task Force in NUI Galway chaired by Professor Jane Grimson.
Monday, 15 May 2017
Prof. Ray Murphy, Interim Director, has welcomed the appointment of Prof. Michael O’Flaherty as an Adjunct Professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Michael brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Centre and it is appropriate that he should retain the strong professional and personal links he has with the Centre and School of Law at NUI Galway. Michael is currently Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights since 16 December 2015. Previously, he was Established Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has served as Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. From 2004-2012, he was a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, latterly as a Vice-Chairperson. Michael has been a member of the UK Foreign Office’s advisory bodies on freedom of expression and the prevention of torture and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs’ human rights advisory committee. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and has sat on the advisory boards of numerous human rights groups and journals internationally. Michael read law at University College Dublin, theology and philosophy at the Gregorian University, Rome, international relations at the University of Amsterdam and is a Solicitor of the Irish Courts. He was the principal drafter of the General Comment of the Human Rights Committee on the freedoms of opinion and expression (General Comment 34, adopted in 2011). He was also rapporteur for the development of the Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law with regard to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (the Yogyakarta Principles). He initiated and directed the opening and closing expert consultations of the Dublin Process on the Strengthening of the UN Human Rights Treaty Body System and was rapporteur for its Dublin Outcome Document. He has been a member of the UN Expert Task Force on Human Rights Indicators. His recent publications include volumes on the law and practice of human rights field operations, the professionalisation of human rights field work and on human rights diplomacy. Professor O’Flaherty came to NUI Galway from the University of Nottingham where he was Professor of Applied Human Rights and Co-director of the Human Rights Law Centre. Previously he held a number of senior posts at the United Nations. He established the UN human rights field missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1994) and Sierra Leone (1998) and subsequently guided UN headquarters support to its human rights programmes across the Asia-Pacific region. He has served as Secretary of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and UN human rights advisor for implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. From 2000 to 2002 he chaired the UN reference group on human rights and humanitarian action.
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Professor Siobhán Mullally as the Established Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. Professor Mullally will take up her post in September 2017.Professor Mullally is currently a Professor at the School of Law, UCC where she also holds the position of Vice-Head of the College of Business & Law. She was recently elected President of the Council of Europe expert group on human trafficking, GRETA. Professor Mullally is also a Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.Professor Mullally has worked as an adviser and consultant on human rights, migration and asylum law, gender and justice sector reform for UN bodies and international organisations in many parts of the world, including in Ethiopia, Timor-Leste, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kosovo. In 2009, she was appointed by the International Bar Association to an inquiry team, examining the independence of the judiciary in Pakistan. As President and member of the Council of Europe anti-trafficking body (GRETA), she has been rapporteur for several country reports, including Hungary, France, Italy, UK and Sweden. Professor Mullally is the Irish member of the Odysseus European network of experts on Asylum and Migration Law.Prior to her appointment at UCC, Professor Mullally held lecturing posts in the UK and Pakistan. She has held visiting positions at several leading universities, including at Harvard Law School, Cornell University, Sydney Law School, National Law School of India, Bangalore. In 2009-2010, she was a Fulbright Scholar and Senior Fellow in Residence at Columbia University, Gender, Sexuality and Law Centre, and inn 2011-2012, she was awarded the prestigious Senior Fernand Braudel Fellowship at the European University Institute, Florence. Announcing the new appointment, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “We, in the School of Law and Irish Centre for Human Rights, are delighted that Siobhán Mullally is joining us as a colleague and we look forward the tremendous value that she will undoubtedly add to our work, nationally and internationally. Professor Mullally is an academic of unrivalled renown who, as well as being recognised internationally as one of the foremost scholars in her field, is also a very generous thought leader in civil society. I am certain that she will, in the years ahead, build on the very strong reputation of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway as a world class academic institution.”Professor Mullally said: “The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is one of the world’s premier human rights centres, with an outstanding track record of research, post-graduate teaching and doctoral education in the field of human rights law. Uniquely situated at the cross-roads of practice, policy and academia, the Centre brings together human rights practitioners and scholars from across the world in a dynamic intellectual environment. At this critical time for human rights globally, I look forward to working with colleagues at the Centre and School of Law, to contribute to informed policy debates on many pressing human rights challenges - from gender equality, women’s human rights and social justice, to refugee and migrant protection.”
Thursday, 23 March 2017
The School of Law, NUI Galway hosted a highly successful international conference entitled ‘The Future is Now! - eConveyancing and Title Registration at the Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, Galway on the 7th and 8th April 2017. The conference brought together national and international experts from around the world in the area of eConveyancing and title registration. The conference was chaired by the Honourable Miss Justice Mary Laffoy of the Supreme Court and Mr. Justice Michael Peart of the Court of Appeal. Keynote speaker was Professor J.C.W. Wylie, Irish expert in land and conveyancing law. Pictured at the conference were, from left, Dr Padraic Kenna, NUI Galway School of Law, conference organiser, Sandra Murphy, NUI Galway School of Law, conference organiser, Professor J.C.W. Wylie, Keynote Speaker and Peter McGarvey, Solicitor, RDJ, conference sponsors.
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
Friday, 26 May, to Friday, 9 June Applications are currently being accepted from candidates who 1) are now completing their final year exams as BCL or LLB students, or 2) are presently pursuing LLM or PhD degrees or 3) are BCL, LLB or LLM graduates of the classes of 2014, 2015, 2016. There are up to five places open to take two short modules taught by American law school professors – Emerging Issues in EU Business Law and Policy and Fundamental Rights: A Criminal Law Perspective – alongside American law school students. Guest lectures will be provided by experts from practice and academia and there will be class trips to sites relevant to the topics covered in the two modules. This programme affords a unique opportunity to discuss and debate some of the major legal and non-legal issues that animate current global public discourse in a US law school setting here in Galway. There will be no fees for the successful candidates and a certificate will be awarded to those who complete the two modules. To apply, interested candidates must send a detailed cover letter outlining their reasons for seeking a place on the programme and an up to date CV (including all academic results – transcripts not required) to Larry.Donnelly@nuigalway.ie by 5 PM on Friday, 5 May. Those who have questions should contact either Larry Donnelly or Conor Hanly (Conor.Hanly@nuigalway.ie).
Thursday, 23 March 2017
The School of Law Annual Distinguished Lecture 2017 takes place on Friday 31st March at 8pm in the Aula Maxima (Lower). This year, the Annual Distinguished Lecture will be delivered by Judge Síofra O’Leary of the European Court of Human Rights (biographical details below) and chaired by Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley of the Irish Supreme Court. The title of the lecture is: “A Tale of Two Cities: the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Strasbourg and Luxembourg”. This is our eighth Annual Distinguished Lecture. Previous speakers include: Professor Christopher McCrudden of Oxford University, Judge John T. Noonan of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Professor Neil Walker of Edinburgh University, Baroness Brenda Hale of the UK Supreme Court with Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness of the Irish Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Nial Fennelly of the Irish Supreme Court, Sir Declan Morgan, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and Professor Nicholas Canny. A reception which follows the lecture in the Staff Club of the Quadrangle, NUIG. This is the School’s farewell occasion for final year students where they are introduced to graduates and practitioners. Biographical details of speaker: In July 2015 Síofra O'Leary, BCL (University College Dublin), PhD (European University Institute) was sworn in as a Judge at the European Court of Human Rights, elected in respect of Ireland. Prior to joining the European Court of Human Rights, Judge O’Leary worked for 18 years at the Court of Justice of the European Union, where she served as a référendaire and Chef de cabinet for Judges Aindrias Ó Caoimh (IRL), Fidelma Macken (IRL) and Federico Mancini (IT). She later ran part of that Court’s Research Directorate. Judge O’Leary has been a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges for many years where she has taught LLM courses on EU law and the individual, EU Social Law and Policy as well as a judicial workshop. She has, in recent years, been a member of the Editorial Board of the Common Market Law Review and is now a member of both its Advisory Board and the Board of the Irish Centre for European Law. In 2016 she was elected an Honorary Bencher of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns. Before joining the Court of Justice of the European Union, Síofra O’Leary was the Assistant Director for the Centre of European Legal Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. She was previously a Visiting Fellow at the Faculty of Law, University College Dublin, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cádiz, Spain and a Research Associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London. She is the author of two books entitled The Evolving Concept of Community Citizenship (Kluwer, 1996) and Employment Law at the European Court of Justice (Hart Publishing, 2001) and has published extensively in academic journals and EU law monographs on the protection of fundamental rights in the EU, EU employment law, the free movement of persons and services and EU citizenship generally.
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Half-day Conference: 'The Judiciary, the State and Social Change' The School of Law, under the auspices of the LLM in Public Law, is hosting a half-day conference on April 5th on the theme "The Judiciary, the State and Social Change". We are hosting three speakers who have recently authored or edited books on the Irish judiciary: Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, author of 'The Politics of Judicial Selection in Ireland' (Four Courts Press, 2016). Tom O'Malley, School of Law Dr. Tom Hickey (Dublin City University), co-editor of 'Judges, Politics and the Irish Constitution' (Manchester University Press, 2017). The conference takes place from 2.30-5.15pm in ENG-G047 (Lee Theatre). All are welcome to attend, but please register your attendance by emailing email@example.com with 'Judiciary conference' in the subject line.
Tuesday, 14 March 2017
NUI Galway to host event on the Trump presidencyThe Moore and Whitaker Institutes and the School of Law at NUI Galway will host an event on Wednesday, 22 March, entitled “President Donald Trump: The First Sixty Days and Beyond”. The event will take place in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall (Upper Aula Maxima) at 5.30pm in the University’s Quadrangle.The panel discussion will feature five speakers who will provide various perspectives - political, human rights, historical, economics and more - on Donald Trump's election and his time in the White House. This will be followed by an interactive audience question and answer session. A reception with light refreshments will precede the event and begin at 5pm.Mary Regan, a native of Moycullen, Co. Galway and well-known political journalist and columnist for the Sunday Business Post who also appears frequently in the broadcast media, will moderate the event.Speaking on the evening will be: Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway, and former special adviser to the Minister for Finance; Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute, NUI Galway; Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh, Lecturer, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway; Larry Donnelly, Lecturer, School of Law, NUI Galway, and political commentator; Karlin Lillington, Journalist and Columnist, The Irish Times. Commenting ahead of the event, Larry Donnelly, NUI Galway said: “In a year full of major news events, the 2016 US presidential election attracted a phenomenal amount of interest in Ireland. The early days of President Trump’s administration have been unpredictable and, in many ways, unprecedented. On 22 March, people here in Galway, as well as the staff and students of NUI Galway, will have a unique opportunity to delve behind the tweets and explore the policy implications of different facets of the Trump presidency, in an uncertain era of change and upheaval in the US and throughout the western world.”The event is free and open to the public, however those who wish to attend must pre-register via Eventbrite at http://bit.ly/trumpgalway.
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
Charles O’Mahony, Lecturer in Law and Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy. Published by Clarus Press, Disability Law and Policy: An Analysis of the UN Convention undertakes a multidisciplinary examination of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.The rights-based perspective on disability is a relatively new lens through which disability law and policy is considered. This is despite the fact that persons with disabilities are often described as the world’s largest minority. There are approximately 1 billion persons with disabilities in the world (15 percent of the world’s population). This book is an edited volume of essays that undertakes a multidisciplinary examination of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.Dr Charles O’Mahony said: “The UN Convention requires law and policy reform throughout the world and this book identified what state parties need to do to comply with international human rights law. This is particularly relevant for Ireland being was one of the first states to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. However it is now the only EU member state not to have ratified.”Disability Law and Policy: An Analysis of the UN Convention has evolved from an event entitled 'Global PhD and Researchers Colloquium on Disability Law’ and Policy organised by the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway. The Colloquium was organised in conjunction with the Burton Blatt Institute, University of Syracuse and the University of Haifa, Israel.
Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Dr Padraic Kenna of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy had an op ed in the Irish Times of 23 February on a new bill to provide human rights protections in home reposession cases. The Keeping People in their Homes Bill 2017 was presented for the First Reading by Kevin Moran TD on Thursday 24th February 2017. The Bill provides Irish courts with a statutory base to effectively conduct proportionality assessments in possession orders related to mortgages arrears. Read more: Text of the Bill: Keeping People in their Homes Bill 2017 Explanatory Memorandum: Keeping People in their Homes Bill 2017 Memorandum
Monday, 30 January 2017
The Moot Court Module final took place on Saturday 28 January with the victorious team of Frances Whelan and Emily Keilty narrowly overcoming Darra Deane and Jonathan Harte in a tense final moot which exhibited everything that is positive about mooting. The judge for the initial rounds was Tom O'Malley; Ms. Justice Marie Baker of the High Court presided over the final round. The School would like to thank both judges, in particular Ms Justice Baker who travelled down from Dublin, for their time and effort. Special tribute to all the mooters for their application, effort and enthusiasm over the last five months which culminated in some fantastic mooting. Thanks to all the members of staff who so generously gave of their time, in particular Tom O’Malley for giving a guest lecture on court etiquette and especially Dr. Ian Walsh from Theatre Studies who gave a practical and interactive class on public speaking. The team mentors were Ursula Connolly, Dr. Eoin Daly, Larry Donnelly, Nicola Murphy and Dr. Brian Tobin. Eoin and Brian’s teams competed in the final, with Brian’s team emerging victorious. For more photos, visit the photo gallery on our Facebook page.
Friday, 16 December 2016
Dr Rónán Kennedy, a lecturer in the School of Law and a researcher in the Ryan Institute, has been appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a three year term. This role involves making recommendations to the Agency on a wide range of topics, including staffing, service provision, standards and guidelines, and research and work programmes. The Committee can also make recommendations to the Minister for Community, Climate Action, and Environment on the functions, financing, and activities of the Agency. Rónán’s research focuses on the relationship between information and communications technology and environmental regulation, and he is currently leading a project to implement a blockchain-based currency for the Cloughjordan ecovillage. He is a graduate of University College Galway, NUI Galway, the King’s Inns, New York University and University College London. He has extensive practical experience in the information technology field, but was also Executive Legal Officer to the Chief Justice of Ireland, Mr Justice Ronan Keane, from 2000 to 2004. During this time, he was editor of “The Supreme Court of Ireland: A History”, first editor of the Judicial Studies Institute Journal, and was involved in a number of initiatives to expand the use of information technology in the courts. Before joining the Law School at NUI Galway, he taught environmental law and public international law in the University of Limerick. Welcoming the appointment, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said: “The appointment of Dr Kennedy to this critically important Committee of the EPA speaks highly of his established expertise as an environmental lawyer and is a very well-deserved recognition of the contribution that he makes as an academic of the highest probity. It is extremely gratifying to see another member of the School of Law associated with a public body, building upon the connections already established by others with state bodies such as the Law Reform Commission and the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission.”
Tuesday, 13 December 2016
Learn “Street Law” - an approach to teaching practical law to grassroots audiences using interactive teaching methodologies (for more information, please see http://www.streetlaw.org/en/home) – from its founder, Professor Richard Roe of Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, and representatives of the Law Society of Ireland at a three day workshop in Letterkenny from Thursday, 12 January, to Saturday, 14 January. A small number of places are available for students who wish to receive “hands on” training from American and Irish experts and to enhance their communication skills at the workshop. Interested students should contact Larry Donnelly as soon as possible. Students should email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org To apply, students must submit a short covering letter and an up to date curriculum vitae to email@example.com. Two important points: 1) Participants in the workshop will have all travel and accommodation expenses paid; 2) Students who attend the workshop must, in teams of two, deliver a small number (four or five) of “Street Law” trainings (45 minutes long) on timely and interesting legal issues to local secondary school students in the coming months. This will require that they undergo Garda vetting.
Friday, 28 October 2016
This one day workshop, funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme and co-organised by NUI Galway School of Law, FEASTA, and Cultivate, explored the possible future applications of blockchain technology in the development and coherence of sustainable communities. Videos from the event are available on YouTube.What exactly is the likely nature of blockchain disruption? Will it be isolated in the #fintech community or will it reach into the “real” economy? How does the trustless mindset behind cryptocurrencies map on to the essentially trustful aspirations of sustainable communities? Will explicit transparent contract conditions assist community development and coherence or act as a barrier? How can we build bridges and meaningful relationships between the tech and sustainability communities? Will the emergence of new institutional structures have a deep effect on society? This workshop sought to explore all of these questions, and more. The morning presentations provided a series of differing perspectives on these themes – of currency design, community activism, technology limitations, social factors and the design of new institutions. The afternoon discussions were aimed at solidifying a shared understanding from the morning sessions, and mapping out key future research questions.The day was introduced by Dr Rónán Kennedy of the School of Law, NUI Galway, who is leading the Cloughpenny Project to create a blockchain-based local currency for the Cloughjordan ecovillage. The keynote speaker was Professor Joshua Fairfield of Washington & Lee University School of Law. He explained that for him, what was most interesting about blockchain was not the potential for automation but for co-ordination. However, if blockchain removes the need for trust, it may be damaging to communities in the long term, as face-to-face interactions remain essential to human co-existence. He asked if a a dis-intermediated community is a contradiction in terms.Professor Peadar Kirby of University of Limerick and Cloughjordan eco-village placed the discussion in a wider context of debates on sustainability and queried why technology is so often touted as a solution to challenges such as climate change. He highlighted the extent to which the actions that are taken fit into the dominant socio-economic paradigm and vision of ‘progress’, treating these challenges as techno-scientific rather than addressing issues of consumption, globalisation, and carbon-intensity. He presented an alternative vision of communities such as Cloughjordan eco-village as a local ecosystem of innovation with a vibrant but low-energy community life.Dr Graham Barnes of Feasta discussed the long history of responses to monetary dysfunction, both before the advent of blockchain technology and afterwards, focusing particularly on schemes of mutual credit. He highlighted how Bitcoin is probably not a good tool for this and may prove ultimately unsuccessful but has opened up a space for discussion. He put forward a framework of questions which could be considered when designing an alternative currency, such as the extent to which the scheme is permissionless, distributed, immutable, anonymous, trustless, and algorithmic.Dr Rónán Kennedy spoke about his experiences with the Cloughpenny project. This was originally to be based on Ethereum, but the failure of the Distributed Autonomous Organisation required some re-thinking, including re-orienting towards the Colu.com suite. However, the underlying tools proved difficult to use, even for those with technical skills. He concluded with some reflections drawing on the writings of Robert Herian, asking if blockchain is really as revolutionary as it is presented or simply another iteration in neo-liberal economic models.Dr Gar Hynes of Hewlett Packard Enterprise gave a very practical presentation on the realities of blockchain technology highlighting how slow and energy-intensive it can be in day-to-day use, and outlined a set of circumstances that should be true to ensure that it is an appropriate tool.At lunchtime, participants enjoyed a brief tour of the eco-village and the afternoon was spent in group work and discussions, using the IdeaWriting method, to generate potential research projects for the application of blockchain for sustainable communities. The day was closed by reflections from Dr Paolo Dini of the London School of Economics, who presented a sociological understanding of monetary theory. He discussed the day’s presentations, highlighting recurrent themes such as trust, consumerism, the need for alternative means of exchange, the slow pace of social change, and the cost involved in blockchain. He also drew on Richard Douthwaite’s work on money and sustainability to discuss where alternative ideas might work, focusing on the positive experience of the Sardex project.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Careers in Law Week 2016 takes place on the week commencing Monday 26th September 2016. This is an initiative by the School of Law in conjunction with the Career Development Centre. Students are strongly encouraged to to attend as many of these events as possible and while they are open to all law students, it is especially important that those nearing the completion of their degrees attend in large numbers. The Careers in Law Week is an invaluable opportunity for students to begin to understand the environment in which they will compete with graduates from this and other institutions. ** Download PDF for reference ** Careers in Law Week 2016 Monday, 26th September (please note change of venue from previous years) 12:30-1:30 PM: Workshop: “How to succeed at group interviews” – Arthur Cox – Room 214, Orbsen Building 2:00-3:10 PM: Law Firms Fair: Partner and Trainee panel discussions, Followed by Q&A – IT 250 3:30-5:00 PM: Law Firms Fair: Meet representatives from Ireland’s leading law firms – Foyer, Orbsen Building (Refreshments provided) Tuesday, 27th September 5:00-6:00 PM: Workshop: “Qualifying as a solicitor in the UK” – Seán Hernon (UK-qualified solicitor and NUI Galway graduate) – THB-G010 Hardiman Building Wednesday, 28th September 1:00-2:00 PM: Workshop: “So you want to be a law lecturer?” – Dr. John Danaher, School of Law, NUI Galway – THB-G010 Hardiman Building 5:00-6:00 PM: Workshop: “Qualifying as a barrister in Ireland” – Marcella Higgins, Registrar, King’s Inns and Anne Marie Giblin BL, Lecturer (Part-time), School of Law, NUI Galway – THB-G010 Hardiman Building Thursday, 29th September 1:00-2:00 PM: Workshop: “Alternative careers with a law degree” – Careers Office, NUI Galway and Grant Thornton Ireland – AMB G065 Arts Millennium Building
Monday, 30 May 2016
On May 23rd-24th the School of Law and the Irish Center of Human Rights hosted the 7th Annual Conference of the Irish Society of Comparative Law. It was a gathering of scholars from all over the world (30 countries) discussing meaningfully a variety of topics that are of current interest from a comparative perspective. Professor Mark Tushnet from Harvard Law School was the keynote speaker starting the discussion with a particularly thought-provoking talk on the Boundaries of Comparative Law. The Conference hosted panels on a number of topics of contemporary interest such as Constitutional Responses to Terrorism, the current “Migration Crisis”, the concept of Human Dignity, Comparative Constitutional Law issues, the methodology of Comparative Law more broadly, other topics stemming from private law, criminal law and criminal justice, public law, legal education and international law. The discussions were most engaging and fruitful. Sincerest thanks to all participants for a lively and memorable event. Organizers of the event were Dr Ekaterina Yahyaoui-Krivenko, Ms Denise Gormley and Dr Ioanna Tourkochoriti. A full photo gallery of the event can be found on Facebook.
Wednesday, 25 May 2016
NUI Galway researcher launches final report on home evictions in the 28 EU Member States, including Ireland, and calls for better legal protection for those at risk Few EU Member States (including Ireland) monitor and record evictions in a systematic or holistic way - preventing an effective response In Spain, Ireland and the UK, most evictions are from private rented housing Limited reliable public data on legal evictions in half of EU Member States Courts should be obliged to involve social support agencies in repossession cases Significant absence of research, data or reports on illegal evictions from the informal or ‘black’ private rented housing market, particularly in relation to documented and undocumented migrants, asylum-seekers, Roma, Travellers, and some people with disabilities NUI Galway today launched the results of an EU-wide study on home evictions across all tenures. The report shows that evictions arising from increased rents are often greater than mortgage evictions, even in Ireland. The report also highlighted the lack of human rights impact in eviction cases and calls for an EU-wide adoption of best practices, such as Poland’s ‘No evictions to nowhere’ policy. The two-year research pilot, ‘Promoting protection of the right to housing - Homelessness prevention in the context of evictions’ was led by Dr Padraic Kenna, lecturer in the School of Law and Project Director of the Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway. It was a collaborative project with a number of European Universities and agencies, including FEANTSA – the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless. Commenting on the Final Report, Dr Padraic Kenna said: “The findings of this research show the need to integrate accepted eviction-related housing rights standards into national and EU legal and policy norms. Creating a legal obligation on courts and other agencies, involved in possession proceedings, to promptly engage with housing and social support agencies would be a valuable first step in preventing homelessness.” In 2008 the financial crisis had a major impact on housing systems across Europe, with dramatic increases in mortgage arrears, debt, rental costs and utility arrears. EU Member States responded in different ways, within both their financial and housing systems. This research covered the period after the crisis. The Final Report examines and analyses available data and trends on evictions, identifying risk factors, links with homelessness, and the availability and effectiveness of preventative interventions. National experts across the 28 EU States provided all available local data and information. The Report found that constitutional, human rights and consumer law protection on the inviolability of and respect for home, is applied in a fragmentary and inconsistent manner, thus denying EU citizens equal access to their rights. An unknown number of evictions take place outside the judicially supervised process, affecting many people with deficits in the local language, support networks or resources, particularly those in the informal or ‘black’ rental market. There is a significant absence of research, data or reports on illegal evictions from the informal or black rental market, particularly in relation to documented and undocumented migrants, asylum-seekers, Roma, Travellers, some people with disabilities, and others. Contrary to popular assumptions, in Spain, Ireland and the UK, most evictions are from private rented housing rather than mortgaged properties. EU data showed that the highest housing cost overburden in 2013 among poor households occurred in Greece (91%), while some 50% or more of poor households had utility arrears in Bulgaria and Croatia, with over 60% in Greece and Hungary, a significant eviction risk factor. The most comprehensive analysis of eviction risk factors is found in Denmark, with studies on risk of eviction among one million households in private and public rented housing. This and other research shows that evicted households initially seek help and support from family and friends. Up to one quarter may eventually rely on homeless services, which are only widely available in north and western European countries and cities. The critical issue is preventing those evicted from becoming homeless. The Final Report suggests that access to rapid rehousing schemes, protected minimum incomes and the possibility of “fresh start” options are key factors. Debt advice and legal assistance are most effective measures in preventing rental evictions. In terms of effective preventative interventions, the report highlights adequate supply of affordable housing, legal advice and debt restructuring as significant. The Final Report sets out eighteen recommendations for Member States and the EU, ranging from protection and promotion of housing rights, improved housing policies, responsible lending and areas requiring further research. To read the full report visit: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=738&langId=en&pubId=7892&type=2&furtherPubs=yes
Wednesday, 18 May 2016
Ruth Cormican, from Clarinbridge, Co. Galway and LLB student at NUI Galway’s School of Law, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study for an LLM in International Human Rights Law at the University of Notre Dame in the United States. This is one of the most prestigious programmes of its kind in the United States. Ruth is especially interested in studying the application of human rights laws and norms to transnational corporations. Following her studies, she hopes to engage in field-work with a human rights NGO or with the Human Rights Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Ruth graduated with first-class honours from the BA (Law) programme at NUI Galway in 2015, during which she spent a year at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She has received academic prizes for her fluency in French, and was the recipient of the Thomson-Reuters-Round Hall Law Prize in 2012, and the Lexis Nexis Butterworths Law Prize in 2015. Ruth will graduate from the LLB programme at NUI Galway in October. She is spending the summer on a summer internship programme, now in its third year, run by the School of Law at NUI Galway in partnership with the Suffolk University Law School in Boston. Ruth will spend the summer working with two criminal justice NGOs: Prisoner Legal Services and the New England Innocence Project. Congratulating Ruth on the Scholarship, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of NUI Galway’s School of Law, said: “It is a great credit to Ruth, and my colleagues who taught her, that her academic accomplishments have been recognised in this way. The Fulbright scheme is the gold standard of academic recognition and for someone as young as Ruth to be the recipient of a Fulbright award augurs extremely well for her future. We are immensely proud of her and wish her continued success.”