Thursday, November 20, 2008

Travellers in Clare - Equal Status Act 2000

An interesting recent case under the Equal Status Act 2000:

Mongans v Clare County Council - DEC-S2008-039

The facts are complex, but it involves a series of cases brought by members of the travelling community surrounding the service provided by Clare County Council arising from the travellers’ applications for housing and related accommodation needs and linked issues.

In an unusual move, the Equality Officer (sitting as the Equality tribunal) required that the travellers attend for a series of "callovers/hearings" which would take place on two particular days. When families did not turn up, even though their representative was present, the Officer decided that no prima facie evidence of discrimination had been provided and therefore that the claims failed.

The travellers were represented by Ms Heather Rosen, and the Tribunal went on to decide that Ms Rosen had obstructed and impeded its investigation and hearing of the cases. The Tribunal was of the view that Ms. Rosen had wilfully abused the Tribunal process and had sought to manipulate the manner in which she carried out her investigative and decision making functions. The end result was that Ms Rosen was ordered to pay expenses of €200 in the main case and a large number of similar cases. (See particularly Paras. 6.1 to 6.13).

The decision raises important procedural issues as to whether the Tribunal took sufficient account of the difficulty involved for a representative in gathering together a large number of claimants who are members of the travelling community for a callover/hearing. The whole idea of a "callover/hearing" seems strange in any event. There is a reference in the decision [para.4.5] to a tragic death of a young traveller woman having occurred close to the time of the callovers, but an adjournment only being granted in the case of close family members.

All in all, it seems unfortunate that the Tribunal did not proceed to a full hearing of the substantive issues and a large number of traveller families may well be left with the impression that the state apparatus is acting against them rather than facilitating their claims.

See also this posting on a subsequent High Court case. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I've updated the list of Irish Law events here:

New events include the following:

Tuesday 4th November 2008:
On Lawyers, their obligations and the Cicero Collection at King's Inns Library - Hugh M Fitzpatrick Lecture in Legal Bibliography
King's Inns, Henrietta Street, Dublin

Fri. 7 Nov. 2008:
Virtual Reality: Towards the Electronic Conveyance - Law Society, Dublin

Sat. 8 Nov. 2008:
Annual Human Rights Conference 2008 - Law Society, Dublin

Tue.11 Nov. '08:
Economic Evidence In Merger Cases - Irish Society for European Law
CPD certificates will be available on request. Pre-registration at is required due to a limit on numbers.
Venue: Eugene F Collins, 3 Burlington Road, Dublin 4

Wednesday 12 November 2008:
Internationalising Common Law Courts
Queen's University Belfast

Thu. 13 Nov. 2008:
Recent Cases on Race Discrimination - University of Limerick

Mon. 17 Nov. 2008:
The Impact of European Law on the Corporate World - A Conference to Celebrate 20 Years of ICEL - Irish Centre for European Law, Dublin

Wednesday 19th November, 2008:
Prudential Regulation after the Credit Crunch: The Revised EU Capital Requirements Directive - Irish Centre for Commercial Law Studies, University College Dublin

Fri.-Sat. 5-6 Dec. 2008:
Legal Processes Beyond the State - University College Dublin Legal Research Conference 2008: A Conference for Postgraduates

Mon.-Tue. 8-9 Dec. 2008:
Intensive Course on Planning Law - Law School, Trinity College Dublin

Friday 12th December, 2008:
Transfer of Undertakings - A Practical Guide - University College Dublin

Fri.-Sat.27-28 Feb. 2009:
Irish Society of Comparative Law Conference - Limerick

Friday, September 12, 2008

Judicial Diversity Seminar - Dublin, 18 Sept. 2008

Baroness Usha Prashar
Judicial Diversity: Strategies for Change
Evening Seminar

Keynote Speaker:

Baroness Usha Prashar CBE, Chairman, Judicial Appointments Commission, United Kingdom
6 - 8pm, Thursday, 18 September 2008

Venue: The Atrium, Law Library, Distillery Building, Church Street, Dublin 7

Organised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, University College Cork (UCC)

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at University College Cork are organising an evening seminar on judicial diversity. The purpose of the event is to open up a discussion about the possibilities of achieving greater judicial diversity in Ireland.

This seminar is aimed at members of the judiciary, practitioners, parliamentarians, policy makers, academics, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), students and anyone interested in judicial diversity.

The event is scheduled to take place from 6-8pm on Thursday, 18 September 2008 in the Atrium, the Law Library, Distillery Building, Church Street, Dublin 7.

Baroness Usha Prahsar CBE, Chair of the United Kingdom's Judicial Appointments Commission is the keynote speaker for this event. Other speakers include: Professor Kate Malleson, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London and Dermot Feenan, School of Law, University of Ulster

If you are interested in attending this event please RSVP to Joanne Garvey, ICCL Administrator by 5pm on Monday, 15 September 2008, Tel: (01) 799 4504 or Email:

The Speakers

Baroness Usha Prashar CBE is Chairman of the United Kingdom's Judicial Appointments Commission, a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, a non-executive Director of ITV, Trustee of Cumberland Lodge, non-executive Director of the Cabinet Office, a Governor of Ashridge College, President of the Community Foundation Network, President of UK Council for International Student Affairs and a Patron, The Runnymede Trust.

Her previous posts include First Civil Service Commissioner, Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Chancellor of De Montfort University, Executive Chairman of the Parole Board for England and Wales, Director of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Chairman of the National Literacy Trust and Director of the Runnymede Trust. She sits in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher.

Professor Kate Malleson joined the Queens Mary School of Law in 2005. Before coming to QM she taught at the London School of Economics. Her main research interests are the judiciary, the legal system and the constitution. She is currently working with colleagues at UCL on a three-year AHRC funded project on the selection process of the international judiciary. The project will identify and analyse the criteria and procedures by which judges are nominated and elected to the international courts.

She has a particular interest in the current constitutional reforms in the UK and acted as a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Select Committee assisting it in its review of the provisions of the Constitutional Reform Bill. She also gave oral evidence to the House of Lords select committee on the Bill and last year was asked by the House of Lords Constitution Committee to provide a written report on the effect of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 on the relationship between the judiciary, Parliament and the executive. In 2006-7 she chaired a JUSTICE committee on 'A Bill of Rights for Britain' which reviewed the problematic legal and political issues involved in assessing whether or not there is a case for creating a specific British bill of rights.

Dermot Feenan is a Lecturer in the Law School, University of Ulster. He was Co-chair of the International Research Collaborative on Gender and Judging, 2006-2007, set up under the auspices of the Law and Society Association, which hosted sessions at the Society's Annual Meeting in Baltimore, 2006, and its joint meeting in Berlin 2007 with several other socio-legal associations worldwide. He has held visiting positions at a number of universities, including: Cornell, Keele, Melbourne, Monash, Oxford, and Trinity College, Dublin.

He is currently completing a paper for publication on the topic of women's experiences as judges, as revealed in his research on Northern Ireland and as reported in the literature, in order to enhance knowledge and understanding of law, legal authority and diversity. He is also designing a research project on women judges' experiences in three common-law countries, which will lead to further publication.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Vacancy: Lectureship (Law and Irish) at U.C.C.

University College Cork

Applications are invited for a three-year fixed term College Lecturer (Law & Irish) contract in the Department of Law with requirements regarding Irish language as follows:

  • The appointee must be a fluent Irish speaker

  • He/she should ideally have a research interest in law and the Irish language and/or language rights.

Applicants must hold a post-graduate qualification in law.

Once appointed, this lecturer’s duties will include providing law modules through the Irish language. These modules will be made available to BCL (Law and Irish) students and to other undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is anticipated that this appointment will also serve to inculcate a culture of the Irish language among academic staff generally and that this will ultimately encourage development of the availability of more modules through Irish by academic staff. The appointee will also be expected to work closely with the Department of Irish with regard to placements and the development of the programme.

Salary Scale [new entrants]: €36,500 - €59,293

Closing Date: Friday 5th September 2008

Further particulars and application form:

Cuirfear fáilte roimh iarratais ar chonradh thrí bliana ar théarma seasta do Léachtóir Coláiste (Dlí & Gaeilge) i Roinn an Dlí leis na riachtanais seo leanas i leith na Gaeilge:

- Beidh an té a cheapfar ina G(h)aeilgeoir líofa.
- Go hidéalach, beidh suim aige/aici sa Dlí agus sa Gaeilge agus/nó i gcearta teanga.

I measc a c(h)uid dualgas beidh ar an léachtóir nuacheaptha modúil dlí a sholáthar trí mheán na Gaeilge. Táthar ag súil leis chomh maith go gcuirfidh an ceapachán seo le cultúr na Gaeilge i measc na foirne acadúla i gcoitinne. Beidh ar an té a cheapfar oibriú i gcomhpháirt le Roinn na Gaeilge maidir le socrúcháin oibre agus forbairt an chláir féin.

Scála Tuarastail [dóibh siúd atá ag tosú] € 36,500 - €59,293

Dáta Deireanach: Dé hAoine 5 Mean Fomhair 2008

    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    Privacy in the Virtual World - Dublin, 27 June 2008

    Darklight Film Festival 2008 - Dublin, Ireland


    Letting It All Hang Out: Privacy Vs. Publicity In The Virtual World

    Film Base, Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin

    Friday 27 June 2008
    10 - 11.30 am

    For a new generation of 'digital natives' privacy is no longer a requirement. Web 2.0 has brought with it a transformation in how we view the need for privacy and engage with the public realm - but at what cost? The discussion will be prefaced by a keynote address from Daniel J. Solove, Associate Professor of law at the George Washington University Law School, and author of The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy In the Information Age. Chaired by Irish Times writer Karlin Lillington, the panel will also feature Irish blogging guru Damien Mulley and solicitor/digital rights expert Caroline Campbell.

    Issues to be considered include:
    * Can bloggers say what they like?
    * What's wrong with having nothing to hide?
    * Who is really stalking you on Facebook? .. Does anyone care anymore?
    * Is there a generation gap in approaches to online privacy?

    Thursday, June 05, 2008

    Reforming Laws on Sexual Violence: UCC Event on 27 June

    Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights
    Faculty of Law, University College Cork
    Annual Criminal Law Conference
    "Reforming Laws on Sexual Violence: International Perspectives"
    Friday 27th June 2008

    Speakers include:
    Judge T Doherty (Special Court Sierra Leone);
    Kelly D. Askin (Open Society Justice Initiative);
    Madeleine Rees (OHCHR - Bosnia Herzegovina) ;
    Doris Buss (Carleton University, Canada);
    Fionnuala Ni Aoláin (TJI Uslter / Minnesota);
    Penny Andrews (Valparaiso Uni / South Africa);
    Amira Khair (ICC Women / Sudan);
    Milena Pires (Govt of Timor-Leste);
    B. Klappe (Netherlands Defence Academy);
    O. Barbour (Irish Defence Forces);
    Thomas O'Malley (NUI Galway);
    James Hamilton (Director of Public Prosecutions);
    Martha Fineman (Emory University, USA);
    Nora Owen (Commission for Victims of Crime)

    Venue: Aula Maxima, University College Cork
    Time: 10.15am- 6.00 pm (Registration and Tea / Coffee from 9.30am)
    CPD Group Study 6.5 points
    Further details and booking form at:
    RSVP: June 20th 2008

    This conference is organised with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and will be the first event of the Irish Government's Chair of the Human Security Network (

    Friday, May 02, 2008

    Report of Commissioner for Human Rights on Ireland

    The Report of the Commissioner for Human Rights on his visit to Ireland was just published on 30 April. It includes responses from the Irish Government.

    Commissioner for Human Rights, Report by the Commissioner on his Visit to Ireland 26 - 30 November 2007 (CommDH(2008)9, Council of Europe, 2008)

    Go to and choose 'Latest Documents'

    For a link to the actual report, try this:

    [Click the PDF icon if you want a PDF version]

    Media report (extract):

    Commissioner doesn't pull his punches
    Irish Times, 1 May 2008

    Ireland's record in looking after vulnerable people is graphically spelt out by the Council of Europe, writes Jamie Smyth, European Correspondent

    COMMISSIONER FOR human rights Thomas Hammarberg didn't pull any punches when he presented his report on Ireland's human rights record to the Council of Europe's committee of ministers in Strasbourg yesterday.

    His 58-page analysis of Government policy lays bare his office's assessment that the standard of care currently provided to vulnerable groups in society such as children, asylum seekers, Travellers and psychiatric patients is unacceptable.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Extension of compulsory registration of ownership of land

    Minister announces further extension of compulsory registration of ownership of land
    (Link to Press Release)

    The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D., today announced that he has signed an Order extending compulsory registration of ownership of land to six further counties. The Order will extend compulsory registration, under the Registration of Title Act, 1964, to the counties of Clare, Kilkenny, Louth, Sligo, Wexford and Wicklow and brings the total number of 'compulsory registration' counties to 12.

    The Minister said: "I am determined to make rapid progress on extending registration of land ownership and it is for this reason that I requested the Property Registration Authority to identify additional counties where compulsory title registration could be introduced."

    Compulsory registration of ownership of land means that the ownership of the title to the land must be registered in the Land Registry.

    Compulsory registration applies in a number of situations:

    · Where freehold land has been sold and conveyed to or vested in any person under the land purchase acts or the labourers acts;
    · Where freehold land is acquired by a statutory authority, e.g. a Minister, local or public authority, or any company or body established by legislation;
    · To sales of freehold land in areas which are the subject of compulsory registration orders made by the Minister;
    · To leases (with over 21 years unexpired at the date of registration) by a statutory authority and assignments on sale of such leases in areas which are the subject of compulsory registration orders made by the Minister.

    The Minister concluded: "According to the World Bank, efficient property registration systems which facilitate land transactions and protect ownership rights contribute to economic progress and competitiveness. The Bank has identified substantial scope for reducing registration delays and related costs in Ireland and that is why the Property Registration Authority has been given the specific task of promoting and extending land registration. Title registration is also an essential prerequisite for electronic conveyancing of land (eConveyancing) which is capable of yielding additional savings and efficiencies for the benefit of consumers."

    In order to give adequate notice to legal practitioners and conveyancers, the new Order takes effect on 1 October 2008 and is available on

    21 April 2008

    Note to Editors

    1. Under previous Orders, compulsory registration was extended to the following counties :

    - Carlow, Laois and Meath in 1970 and

    - Longford, Roscommon and Westmeath in 2005.

    2. In extending compulsory registration in this Order, consideration was given to the facts that over 96% of all land in Counties Clare, Kilkenny, Louth, Sligo, Wexford and Wicklow is already registered in the Land Registry and that digital mapping is 'live' in each of these counties.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Forthcoming Events

    I've updated the list of forthcoming events at

    Forthcoming events include:

    Saturday, 1 March 2008
    Legal Issues Facing School Principals and Teachers in 2008: Some Practical Solutions - School of Law, Trinity College Dublin

    Saturday, 8 March 2008
    25 Years of Protection? Article 40.3.3, the Unborn Child and Abortion in Ireland

    Sat. 8 March 2008
    Freedom of Information: A 2008 Update - School of Law, Trinity College Dublin

    Thursday, 13 March 2008
    Children and the Law - Law School, Trinity College Dublin

    16 - 18 March 2008
    Association of Law Teachers Annual Conference - Oxford

    Thursday-Friday, 3-4 April 2008
    Youth Justice 2008: An International Conference, Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, University College Cork

    4-5 April 2008
    Exploring the Limits of a Judge's Power - Belfast

    Fri. 11 April 2008
    Law Faculty Annual Distinguished Lecture for 2008 - NUI Galway
    The Right Honourable Baroness Hale of Richmond and Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness

    1 May 2008
    Postgraduate Conference on Criminal Justice and Human Rights - UCC Faculty of Law

    Sun.-Tue. 8-10 June 2008
    International Council for Commercial Arbitration Conference, Dublin

    Thursday-Friday, 12-13 June2008
    British and Irish Association of Law Librarians Conference 2008 - Dublin

    Mon.-Tue. 23 and 24 June 2008
    Reflections on Irish Criminology North and South: Learning and Challenges for the Future
    Dublin Institute of Technology

    Friday, February 08, 2008

    Equality and the Sikh Turban Ban

    Lord Lester facilitated a fascinating workshop this morning here at UCC on Equality Law, assisted by Colm O'Cinneide.

    Among the many interesting points that arose concerning the recent ban on a Sikh turban in the Garda reserve were the following:

    • Could it be argued that a member of the Garda reserve is engaged in an "occupation" (under the Framework Directive 2000/78/EC)

    • Even though the particular person involved has withdrawn from the Garda reserve, could a Judicial Review be brought against the Garda Commissioner's decision?

    • Could a JR application be made by the Equality Authority and/or the Human Rights Commission?

    • If a JR were brought, an argument could be made that the Garda Commissioner's decision applies both to members of the reserve and ordinary Gardai, if need be, in response to any defence relating to the status of members of the reserve.

    Monday, January 07, 2008

    Call for Papers - Postgraduate Conference


    Hosted by the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University College Cork.
    Thursday 1st May 2008.

    The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights is pleased to announce the second postgraduate conference on criminal justice and human rights.
    This one-day international conference will attract postgraduate research scholars whose work pertains to criminal justice and human rights. In addition to exploring topics specific to the scholarship of criminal justice or human rights, the conference aims to consider the intersections of both fields. The conference will serve as a forum for discussion and debate among researchers within both fields and between the two fields of study themselves.

    The keynote address will be delivered by Michael O'Flaherty, Professor of Applied Human Rights and Co-Director of the Human Rights Law Centre in the School of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education at the University of Nottingham. Professor O’Flaherty is also an elected member of the United Human Rights Committee.

    The organisers invite abstracts from postgraduate students working in these areas. The presentation of ongoing work is especially welcome.

    The conference will be organised into streams, including but not limited to the following topics:
    • Discourses of rights and crime.
    • New directions in human rights enforcement.
    • Human Rights, Criminal Justice and the War on Terror.
    • Transitional justice.
    • ECHR and domestic law.
    • Asylum and immigration.
    • Multiculturalism, minority rights and human rights.
    • New trends in International criminal justice.
    • Gender and Human Rights.
    • Policing.
    • Victimology.
    • Juvenile justice.
    • Punishment and penal policy.

    Please submit an abstract (max. 300 words) to the organising committee by Friday February 15th 2008. Successful conference submissions will be notified by February 29th 2008. Submissions and further enquires should be directed to