Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR), NUI Galway, in close collaboration with project partner the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), has won a major EU contract for Irish Law and Social Data Research and will become Ireland’s new national focal point for the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). This is the first time that the prestigious FRANET-Ireland contract for data collection and research services on fundamental rights issues in Ireland has been awarded to an Irish University-led bid.FRANET is the FRA’s multidisciplinary research network. It is composed of contractors in each EU Member State who provide relevant data to FRA on fundamental rights issues, to facilitate the Agency’s comparative analyses. This work of the FRA then informs EU policy and initiatives across the EU member States.The ICHR/ICCL project has assembled a team of Ireland’s leading human rights and social science experts, located at academic institutions and in civil society.Professor Michael O’Flaherty, the Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, who becomes the FRANET Senior Expert for Ireland, commented: “We are very pleased to take on this contract that will generate crucial findings for the strengthening of fundamental rights in Ireland and across the EU. We are particularly pleased to partner with the ICCL and with Ireland’s top specialists to undertake this ground-breaking work.”Mark Kelly, the Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, who becomes the FRANET Senior Legal Expert for Ireland, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the ICHR to ensure that the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency has legally accurate and up-to-date information about the state of human rights in Ireland. We also look forward to spreading the word about the important evidence-based research published by the FRA.”Research will focus on a number of thematic areas. These include: access to justice; victims of crime, including compensation to victims; respect for private life and protection of personal data; Roma integration; judicial cooperation; rights of the child; discrimination; asylum, immigration and borders; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Yvonne Francis a student on our LL.M in Public Law recently visited the Seychelles having being selected as a Judicial Research Assistant to work with the Court of Appeal in the Seychelles. Yvonne undertook legal research for Judge Mathilda Twomey on the law of criminal defamation and bail in July and spent two weeks earlier this month observing court proceedings in the Seychelles and engaging in other legal research opportunities.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A new book, ‘European Asylum Law and the Rights of the Child’, by Dr. Ciara Smyth will be published by Routledge on 26th June. The child asylum seeker poses unique challenges for reception and refugee status determination systems, not least because the child is entitled to have his or her rights as a child respected as a matter of international and regional human rights law. In the last decade the European Union has increasingly engaged with children’s rights, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009, and a new Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union that commits the Union to promoting the ‘protection of the rights of the child.’This book addresses the question of whether the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) complies with the rights of the child. It contrasts the normative standards of international child rights law with the treatment of child asylum seekers and refugees in the CEAS. Ciara Smyth identifies the attributes of the rights of the child that are most relevant to the asylum context and systematically examines whether and to what extent those attributes are reflected in the existing and proposed CEAS legislation. The book goes on to assess whether the CEAS instruments direct Member States to comply with the rights of the child, offering a comprehensive examination of the place of the child within European asylum law and policy.The book will be of great use and interest to scholars and students of international law, immigration and children’s rights studies.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Jan O’Sullivan, TD, Minister of State, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with special responsibility for Housing and Planning was at NUI Galway this week to receive a copy of Contemporary Housing Issues in a Globalized World, edited by School of Law Lecturer, by Dr Padraic Kenna.The globalization of housing finance led to the global financial crisis, which has created new barriers to adequate and affordable housing. It presents major challenges for current housing law and policy, as well as for the development of housing rights. This book examines and discusses key contemporary housing issues in the context of today’s globalized housing systems.The book takes up the challenge of developing a new paradigm, working towards the possibility of an alternative future. Revolving around three themes of writing by diverse contributors, each chapter sets out a clear and developed approach to contemporary housing issues.The first major theme considers the crisis in mortgage market regulation, the development of mortgage securitization and comparisons between Spain and Ireland, two countries at the centre of the global housing market crisis.The second theme is housing rights within the architecture of European human rights, within national constitutions, and those arising from new international instruments, with their particular relevance for persons with disabilities and developing economies.The third theme incorporates an examination of responses to the decline and regeneration of inner cities, legal issues around squatting in developed economies, and changes in tenure patterns away from home-ownership.Raquel Rolnik, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and of the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil said “The deregulation, liberalization and internationalization of finance have had major implications for housing and urban developments throughout the world. The ‘financialization’ of housing has been accompanied by the conceptual transformation of adequate housing from a social good into a commodity, and financial asset and housing markets are increasingly regulated so as to promote financial rather than social aspects of housing.”Ms Rolnik continued, “This book analyses how this process has impacted on violations of the right to adequate housing in different countries and regions. More than understanding the situation, the book offers alternatives and perspectives, crucial in the current housing crisis.”This topical book will be valuable to those who are interested in law, housing rights and human rights, policy-making and globalization. It is published by Ashgate (UK) and can be ordered here. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The School of Law at NUI Galway (and its specialised research centres: the Irish Centre for Human Rights, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, the Centre for Housing Law, Rights & Policy and the Marine Law & Ocean Policy Centre) are currently accepting applications for a number of Doctoral Fellowships from prospective full-time or existing full-time doctoral students. The fellowships provide PhD funding for a maximum of two years. Applications are welcome in any area of law. The School has a thrivingcommunity of doctoral researchers, with a particular emphasis on international human rights law and disability law and policy as well as other areas such as housing law and policy and marine law. These Fellowships are available for the academic year 2013/2014 and will commence immediately upon award. Full details are available in the files below: Doctoral Fellowship Announcement 2014 PhD Fellowships - Conditions of Tenure

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Dr Padraic Kenna of the School of Law, NUI Galway will lead a major €1m EU-funded research project on evictions across the 28 European Union (EU) Member States. The research will investigate the national legal frameworks and extent of evictions across Europe. The study will gather data from across the EU and identify both the pan-European factors that lead to the loss of a home and measures to counter homelessnessThe research will identify effective early intervention and preventative measures and create a profile of evicted households, risk factors and risk groups.  Patterns of evictions across all EU Member States will be analysed in the context of diverse structural factors including the economic crisis, welfare systems and legal practices and protections.The project, which will take two years, was awarded following a competitive tendering process by the European Commission. It will examine evictions from mortgaged, rental and other properties, with a focus on the right to housing within the context of national and EU law all areas in which Dr Kenna is a leading European expert.NUI Galway will lead a consortium of University and housing research agencies in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Spain. Dr Kenna, as Research Director/Principal Investigator will lead the network of national experts on housing law and policy across all EU Member States. The researchers will collate national and local data, as well as legal materials for the project’s report to the European Commission.Dr Kenna said, “In Ireland we have a deeply historical sentiment on evictions. Michael Davitt wrote that an eviction was the expression of the power of profit and of property over the right of a family. Today, an eviction represents the collision of basic human rights with property rights, and while the European Union is committed to the protection of human rights, the balance of these interests represents the contemporary fault line between market forces and people’s right to housing.”Measures to prevent homelessness within all EU Member States remain a priority for the European Commission. This project will collate and evaluate the most cost-effective measures which can be advanced to mitigate evictions across the EU. The project team will prepare reports and recommendations for the European Commission on best practice models, to monitor, alleviate and prevent evictions, within the framework of national and EU law and policy.Welcoming the announcement of this award, Professor Donncha O’Connell, Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, said “This is a highly prestigious and worthwhile project led by my colleague, Dr Padraic Kenna. It is a concrete recognition of his standing as a major player in the field of housing law, rights and policy in Europe; and a great boost to his tireless and impactful work in this area at national and international level.”

Monday, 9 December 2013

They are joined in the photograph below by Prof. Gerard Quinn, Director of the CDLP, and Shivaun Quinlivan, Programme Director of the LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy. ‌

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The EU Directorate General for Research, led by Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, has singled out the CDLP-managed Marie Curie DREAM project as a success story which is profiled on its website. Disability Rights Expanding Accessible Markets or DREAM is a training network for early stage researchers stemming from the EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network Funding Programme. The primary aim of DREAM is to professionally develop and educate the next generation of disability policy researchers and entrepreneurs to assist the EU and its Member States in their efforts to implement the UN CRPD at EU and Member State levels. This will involve exploring options for European Union disability law and policy reform in light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006). For more information about DREAM, visit their website.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Dr Padraic Kenna presented his recent publication on the Charter of Fundamental Rights and housing at the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussells, Belgium to more than 300 participants in a one day conference on housing rights, "Colloquium georganiseerd door het Steunpunt tot bestrijding van armoede, bestaansonzekerheid en sociale uitsluiting, de Universiteit Antwerpen en de Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis".The chapter “The Charter of Fundamental Rights – Added value to housing rights?” is included in Bernard, N. & Hubeau, B. (eds.) (2013) Recht op wonen: naar een resultaatsverbintenis? - Droit au logement: vers une obligation de résultat?” published by die Keure/la Charte. See http://www.jurisquare.be/nl/book/9789048616992/index.htmlThis chapter considers how the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights could be used by housing rights advocates across the EU. It adds to the limited base of EU generated housing rights by its specific reference to the right to social and housing assistance. However, the enforceability of Charter rights requires an understanding of the place of the Charter within EU law and how it applies to Member States applying their own laws or EU law. Indeed, the Charter only applies where States are implementing EU law – a corpus of law which is broad and growing. Thus, Charter rights can only be engaged in a local court when some other EU measure is involved, but many EU measures impact on housing. European housing rights development must now take place in the context of interactions between the EU Charter, EU law, and national laws and policies. Some recent cases highlight this connection between EU and national laws.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Dr. Ronán Long delivered a paper on dispute settlement and moderated a session at the United Nations – Nippon Foundation Fellowship Programme meeting, which was hosted by the Legal Affairs Division at the United Nations on December 10-12, 2012. The meeting built upon similar capacity building initiatives undertaken previously in Nairobi and Tokyo and coincided with the United Nations General Assembly commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The School of Law has collaborated with the UN since the inception of the programme by hosting mid-career legal professionals from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Guatemala.  In his address to the General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon noted the commitment of the UN to the future growth of capacity building programmes over the coming decade including those hosted by universities in partnership with the Division on Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea at the UN.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Dr. Laurent Pech, Jean Monnet Chair in EU Public Law, has a chapter in a book that's hot off the presses: Ashiagbor, Countoris and Lianos, The European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon (Cambridge University Press, 2012, available here).  In his contribution dedicated to the institutional development of the EU post-Lisbon, Dr. Pech argues that the institutional changes introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, while mostly modest, have consolidated the interdependent and consensual nature of EU governance and more problematically, planted the seeds for a more conflict-prone system by multiplying the number of senior office-holders and enhancing the politicization of the decision-making process.

Monday, 18 June 2012

An article by Dr. Laurent Pech, co-written with two other law professors, was cited by one the EU Court of Justice's top legal advisers - Avocate General Cruz Villalón - in Case C-617/10, Åkerberg Fransson [2012]. For those interested, the Advocate General's legal opinion is available here.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Gerard Quinn and Eilionóir Flynn Peer-reviewed article by Prof. Gerard Quinn and Dr. Eilionóir Flynn, Centre for Disabiliity Law and Policy, “Transatlantic borrowings: The past and future of EU non-discrimination law and policy on the grounds of disability” (2012) 60 American Journal of Comparative Law 23. Online version available here:http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/01/27/bjc.azr097. Abstract This Paper explores the interrelationship between U.S. and EU disability discrimination law in terms of founding principles, implementation and practice. It addresses the evolution of a “civil rights” model (broadly based on a social construct of disability) which underpins discrimination law in the United States, and its subsequent adaptation in the EU context to fit with a broader European social model. This Paper also examines the role of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in furthering the shift from civil rights approaches to locating disability rights within a broader theory of social justice, and the significance of the EU's conclusion of procedures necessary to ratify the Convention. Finally, it offers some perspectives on the future of a transatlantic dialogue on ensuring that people with disabilities are viewed as rights-holders, supported, and enabled to exercise their rights.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Diarmuid Griffin  Peer-reviewed article by Diarmuid Griffin and Ian O'Donnell (UCD), “The Life Sentence and Parole” (2012) The British Journal of Criminology. Online version available here:http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/01/27/bjc.azr097. Abstract Taking the life sentence as the new ‘ultimate penalty’ for many countries, this paper explores the factors associated with the release of life-sentence prisoners on parole. The Republic of Ireland is selected as a case study because it is in the unusual position of being influenced by European human rights norms as well as by the Anglo-American drive towards increased punitiveness. As an apparent outlier to both the human rights and punitive approaches, or perhaps as a hybrid of sorts, the relative impact of the two models can be elucidated. The article also provides an example of how small penal systems can be resistant to broader trends and the value of directing the criminological gaze upon countries where it seldom falls.  Shivaun Quinlivan Peer-reviewed article by Shivaun Quinlivan, “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: An Introduction” (2012) (13)(1) ERA Forum. Online version available at:http://www.springerlink.com/content/1612-3093 Abstract The European Union for the first time ratified an international human rights treaty: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Such ratification will undoubtedly impact on EU law, and importantly on the position of people with disabilities in Europe and further afield. The Convention has been described as embodying the ‘paradigm shift’, being revolutionary and groundbreaking. This paper will assess the content of the Convention, addressing the innovative general principles, the means of implementation as well the substantive rights contained in the Convention. Laurent Pech Peer-reviewed study by Dr. Laurent Pech, “Rule of Law as a Guiding Principle of the EU’s External Action”, CLEER Working Papers 2012/3, 56 pages. Online version available here: http://www.asser.nl/Default.aspx?site_id=26&level1=14467&level2=14468 Abstract This paper aims to offer a comprehensive overview of how the EU promotes the rule of law abroad and to discuss the EU’s normative effectiveness as an ‘exporter’ of values and principles. It is argued that the EU, when acting as an exporter of values, tends to pay little attention to conceptual issues and largely equates the rule of law with a soft ideal whose content is largely delineated on a case-by-case basis. It is contended, however, that the EU is not exporting a vague or incoherent ideal. In the final part of this paper, the EU’s role as an exporter of values and principles will be examined from two angles: the normative impact of EU rule of law policies and actions at the international level and their effectiveness. Two main points will be made. Firstly, as an international standard-setter, the EU cannot claim great successes but this can be directly linked to an apparent lack of interest in conceptualisation issues and the fact that the EU promotes a conception that is largely consensual amongst the foremost international organisations. Secondly, the EU should consider taking into account the multiple indexes, checklists and other indicators which have been developed to measure and monitor countries’ adherence to the rule of law in order to better identify shortcomings, suggest appropriate reforms and track progress (or lack thereof) in a less impressionistic and uncoordinated manner than is currently the case.