The School of Law and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway in association with the Irish Centre for International Family Mediation will host a conference on 18 May 2013 entitled “A Conference on Mediation in Cases of International Family Conflict and Child Abduction”. Leading Irish and international speakers and experts in the field and
representatives of the EU Network of International Family Mediators will address the conference. There will be Continuing Professional Development points to those who are eligible. A conference fee of €75 is payable, which includes tea/coffee and lunch. For more information on the conference, the conference programme and registration information see here.
We welcome this guest post from Dr. Tom Hickey a lecturer in the School of Law at NUI Galway. In this guest post Dr. Hickey reflects on the work of Ronald Dworkin. Dr. Hickey lectures in the areas of constitutional law, jurisprudence and administrative law at NUI Galway.
The passing last week of Ronald Dworkin, Professor of Law at New York University and Professor of Jurisprudence at University College London, will have struck a chord with many in the academic human rights community. With contributions such as Taking Rights Seriously (1977), Law’s Empire (1986) and Sovereign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality (1996), Dworkin stands amongst the most influential legal philosophers of the past few centuries. The scope of his work is considerable, but his most enduring legacy is likely to be his theory of adjudication: his account of how judges decide “hard cases.” On this question Dworkin challenged his great 20th century rival H.L.A. Hart (and Legal Positivism generally) by insisting that there is a necessary connection between law and morality. This connection, Dworkin argued, is attributable to the fact that in engaging in the process of adjudication judges necessarily draw on moral considerations. They do so not because of some irresistable impulse on their parts to change the law so that it better fits with their own moral or political tastes but rather because drawing on evaluative considerations is an unavoidable part of any interpretive enterprise, whether it be interpreting a piece of literature or art, a particular social practice, or a set of legal provisions.
Dworkin was a master of the punchy phrase or analogy. He used the image of a right as a “trump card” that automatically defeats cards from other suits as a means of explaining his account of rights as special claims that defeat ordinary political claims based on utilitarian calculations. Similarly in respect of his argument concerning “constructive interpretation” and how judges decide cases: he frequently used productions of great plays as an illustration.
And so how do we interpret social practices or texts? Imagine you are a music teacher in a secondary school tasked with putting on a version of West Side Story. You must interpret that musical. This is quite a task, given that it is based on a book written by an author, with music written by someone else, lyrics by another, and choreogrpahy by yet another!
You would probably begin by familiarising yourself with the text and the music. You could not reasonably claim that yours was a production of West Side Story if you had instructed your actors to act lines from The Sound of Music. As well as using the text, you will probably consider previous productions of West Side Story. In fact these previous productions will heavily influence your decisions – both consciously and otherwise – as you set about your task. In other words, in putting on the production you will have fidelity to the text and music as well as to previous interpretations. Continue reading “The Rich Legacy of Ronald Dworkin: 1931-2013”
The renowned UN human rights expert, Professor Michael O’Flaherty, has been appointed as Professor of Human Rights Law at the National University of Ireland Galway and will also serve as Director of the University’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Professor O’Flaherty will combine the new roles with his current position as Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. During the period that Professor O’Flaherty remains at the Northern Ireland Commission the Irish Centre for Human Rights will be co-directed by Professor Ray Murphy. NUI Galway has pioneered the teaching of human rights in Ireland and the Irish Centre for Human Rights is now one of the world’s premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law. Since its establishment in 2000 the ICHR has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights teaching, research and advocacy, which has enabled the institution to attract high quality students to its acclaimed masters programmes and its undergraduate programme as well as to build a thriving community of doctoral researchers.
Professor O’Flaherty has been Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission since Continue reading “Michael O'Flaherty appointed Professor of Human Rights Law at NUI Galway”
The LL.M. in Public Law and the LL.M. in Law, Technology and Governance at the School of Law, National University of Ireland Galway will run a half day symposium on 8 March 2013 in Galway. The title of the symposium “Privacy from Birth to Death and Beyond: European and American Perspectives”. The speakers include Mr. José Maria Baño who will give a paper on the “ECJ “The Right to be Forgotten” reference”. Professor Joshua Fairfield from the Washington and Lee University School of Law who is currently in Europe on a Fulbright scholarship will give a paper entitled “Do-Not-Track as Default: Transaction Costs in U.S. Consumer Privacy”. Mr. Damien McCallig an Irish Research Council Scholar at the School of Law NUI Galway will give a paper on the concept of privacy after death. Dr. Sharon McLaughlin from Letterkenny Institute of Technology who is a member of the EU Kids Online Network will give a paper entitled “Children & Privacy: Protection v. Participation – A Tangled Web” . Paul Lambert a solicitor with Merrion Solicitors will give a paper that explores privacy in legal practice across of issues including cyberbullying, defamation, and data protection. Dr. Ciara Hackett from the School of Law Queens University Belfast will deliver a Rapporteur’s Report on the proceedings of the conference. For more information and to register for the conference please see here. The conference fee is €50 to attend, there is a discounted rate of €25 for early career practitioners (5 years or less) and free for students or unwaged.
We are delighted to welcome this post from Dr Ciara Hackett. Ciara joined the School of Law at Queens University Belfast in August 2012, prior to that she held a teaching and research fellowship at the School of Law, National University of Ireland Galway. Her research explores a diverse range of issues in the areas of regulation, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility as well as legal theories of development. She is currently engaged in a number of projects in the areas of Corporate Social Responsibility, Tort Law and Corporate Governance.
Queues, carols, mince pies, mulled wine and….protests? Belfast (and indeed large portions of Northern Ireland) has come to a standstill in the weeks and days leading up to Christmas, not due to crowds of festive shoppers but rather for daily protests over the decision, earlier this month, to remove the Union flag from its daily perch over City Hall, instead, limiting its flying to designated days in keeping with the rest of the UK.
The wrath of daily commuters (on both sides of the religious divide) surrounds the fact that these protests are blocking their route home. The challenge to the law therefore, is in balancing the protestors right to protest (as protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Articles 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act 1998) with causing an obstruction amounting to a Public Nuisance. The tort of nuisance broadly conceived is described as the interference with another’s rights. Concerned not with the prohibition of a certain act, the tort instead protects the claimant from an unreasonable interference with rights. The idea of Public Nuisance is more recent manifestation concerning itself with the protection from unreasonable interference with rights which are common to all. Described first in the UK in the judgment of AG v PYA Quarries  2 QB 169, the judgments of Lord Romer and Lord Denning are most relevant. Romer defined public nuisance as that which affects materially the reasonable comfort and convenience of a class of her majesty’s subjects. Endorsing Lord Justice Romer, Lord Denning goes further, stating that it is the “responsibility of the community at large to put a stop to unreasonable activity”.
As a public tort, the AG litigates on behalf of the community at large, unless it can be proven that the plaintiff/claimant has suffered “special damage”. Defined within the UK and Ireland as damage which is appreciably more serious than that suffered by the general public, Smith v Wilson  2 IR 45 illustrates its application in Northern Ireland. Developments in the UK have suggested that personal injury also comes within the confines of Public Nuisance, therefore distinguishing it quite significantly from the tort of Nuisance as more broadly understood (See Corby Group Litigation v Corby Borough Council  EWHC 1944). Public Nuisance covers obstructions to the highway via marches and pickets. In short, the protests do amount to a Public Nuisance. However, as to whether or not it is actionable will depend on the interpretation of the courts on the relationship between Public Nuisance and Freedom of Expression Rights and the associated right to Continue reading “Public Nuisance v Freedom of Speech: Flags and Protests in Northern Ireland”
The School of Law at NUI Galway will host the Irish Society of Comparative Law 5th Annual Conference on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th of May 2013 in Galway. The theme for the Irish Society of Comparative Law’s Annual Conference 2013 is ‘Comparative Public Law’. Papers placing Irish public law in comparative perspective are especially encouraged, but any topic in comparative or legal systems may be proposed including private law topics. Proposals for thematic panels of papers are also welcomed.
The primary objective of the Irish Society of Comparative Law is to encourage the comparative study of law and legal systems. Students fully registered for a masters in law, or law-related area (LL.M, MA) are encouraged to submit papers, and the 2nd ISCL Young Researcher Prize will be awarded to the best paper delivered by a student in this category.
Proposals for papers for the 2013 conference should be short (250 words max) and sent to Charles O’Mahony at email@example.com. The deadline for receipt of proposals is Friday 15 February 2013. Applicants will be notified by Thursday 28th February 2013 if their paper proposal is successful. There will be an opportunity for poster presentations (Posters A1 size) to be displayed in the foyer of the conference venue, Aras Moyola. Poster presenters are expected to attend the conference in the normal way and to be available to discuss their work. You do not have to be a member of the ISCL to propose a paper or be selected to present a poster. Registration forms and additional information will be available early in 2013.
The Irish Society of Comparative Law was established in June 2008 and is recognised by the International Academy of Comparative Law. The ISCL is open to those interested in Irish and comparative law. Its purpose is to encourage the comparative study of law and legal systems and to seek affiliation with individuals and organisations with complementary aims. Queries regarding the ISCL should be directed to Niamh Connolly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The School of Law, NUI Galway has a long and distinguished tradition of teaching law and legal scholarship since 1849. The School of Law is comprised of full-time professors and lecturers who are academics producing research across a number of fields including human rights law, international and comparative disability law and policy, legal theory, criminal law, commercial law, maritime law and media law. Large national and international research projects, international conferences and guest lectures are organised under the auspices of the School of Law and its research centres, the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Disability Law and Policy. The School of Law is home to a thriving Ph.D programme and offers a number of taught LL.M programmes including a dynamic LL.M in Public Law.
Human Rights in Ireland is please to welcome this guest post from Dr Catherine O’Rourke, Transitional Justice Institute, School of Law, University of Ulster.
The Transitional Justice Institute (TJI), University of Ulster, is pleased to announce the launch its innovative new masters programme, LLM Gender, Conflict and Human Rights. The new programme builds on both the highly successful existing LLM Human Rights Law and Transitional Justice, and the TJI’s international research profile in gender and transitional justice, to offer this unique masters programme. Teaching will be delivered by established scholars in the field, including Professor Fionnuala Ni Aolain, Professor Monica McWilliams, Dr Catherine O’Rourke, and Dr Khanyisela Moyo. Students will study two core modules of Gender and Human Rights and Gender and Transition, as well as select from a range of optional modules, which include Foundations of International Human Rights Law, Foundations of Transitional Justice, International Criminal Justice, Equality Law, Critical Perspectives on Human Rights, Policing and Human Rights. In addition, students will be supervised in the completion of a dissertation.
For those interested in learning more about the programme, the TJI will be hosting a ‘taster’ day on Friday, June 22 to meet the staff and to learn more about the content of the programme. The day will include an introduction to the ideas and issues of gender, conflict and human rights that will be explored in the masters programme. The format of the day will be interactive, with participants taking part in a range of exercises, allowing potential applicants to experience the student-centred and collaborative approach to learning on the masters programme.
Potential applicants who are unable to attend the ‘taster’ content, but are interested in learning more about the programme, are welcome to join us for the drop-in information session and sandwich lunch on the same day from 1-2pm.
For further information on the taster day, including schedule, see here. Those interesting in attending should RSVP to Elaine McCoubrey: email@example.com.
We are delighted to welcome this Guest Post from Dr. Ciara Hackett. Ciara is a lecturer in the School of Law at NUI Galway where she also serves as Deputy Director of the LL.M in Public Law. Her research interests include corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, globalisation and marxist theories of development.
In 2011, Ireland signed up to the United Nations Framework on Business and Human Rights (Ruggie Principles) (see here
). The initial aim of the framework was to ensure that companies have the same obligations and range of duties under International Human Rights Law as states, namely “to promote, secure the fulfilment of, respect, ensure respect of, and protect human rights.” The only distinctions made between the two seems to be that states have a “primary” duty and companies have a “secondary” duty.
The framework rests on three main pillars. First is States’ duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business enterprises through appropriate policies regulation and adjudication. The second is the corporate responsibility to respect human rights (i.e. avoid infringing on rights and address adverse impacts) and finally the need for access by victims to remedy (para. 6).
Reactions to the principles suggest that the framework is a weak formulation and does not go far enough (see here). Addressing this framework in the context of the on-going financial crisis and indeed the particular case of Ireland raises some questions as to the effectiveness of the framework or indeed whether or not the aims are realistic. In particular this post refers to the foundational principles of the framework: that states must protect against human rights abuse in particular through effective policies, legislation and regulations. This requires a re-imagining of the current Irish regulatory framework for addressing the responsibilities of business.
As society endeavours to emerge from the economic crisis, governments are faced with a balancing exercise between retaining or achieving a desired competitiveness in a post recessionary era and developing regulatory structures to ensure that the same problems do not occur again. For states like Ireland the problem is more ingrained, stemming from the nature of an economy that was for so long Continue reading “Ruggie, Rights and Regulation: Ireland and UN Framework on Business and Human Rights”
A one-day conference organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights and the School of Law, NUI Galway entitled “Ireland and the United Nations Framework for Business and Human Rights” will take place on 24 March 2012 at the National University of Ireland Galway. The conference seeks to explore and analyse issues of law and policy for Ireland arising from the 2011 adoption by the United Nations of Professor John Ruggie’s framework for business and human rights. The framework emphasises a State’s duty to protect human rights, a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the need to provide remedies to respond to violations of human rights by business. This conference seeks to look beyond the voluntary corporate social responsibility approach to business and human rights; as Maurice Manning, President of the Irish Human Rights Commission has observed, “voluntarism can never be a substitute for global standards on businesses’ mandatory compliance with human rights”. The organisers welcome in particular contributions which address seek to address legal questions which arise in relation to the UN framework on business and human rights. Ireland represents an obvious case study in this context, given the presence of numerous multinational corporations, increasing privatisation of public services and allegations of corporate involvement in human rights violations both in and outside of Ireland. The conference aims to address the following topics:
- Legal and policy approaches to regulation of Irish companies for human rights
- Obligations of the State and companies when public functions are privatised
- Role of extraterritorial jurisdiction in Irish law to address violations committed overseas by Irish companies or multinationals based here
- The potential role of criminal law to address violations of human rights by business
- Civil litigation as a means accountability – lessons from the Alien Tort Claims Act
- Remedies for victims
Abstracts should be sent by 21 December 2011 to: Dr Shane Darcy (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr Ciara Hackett (email@example.com). Successful applicants will be informed in January 2012 of their acceptance to the conference. For further information and registration for the conference please contact: Hadeel Abu Hussein: firstname.lastname@example.org
A legal researcher is required to prepare background materials and drafts for a Collective Complaint to the Council of Europe, European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe on aspects of housing in Ireland. The research is being arranged by a network of housing organisations that have come together including Ballymun Community Law Centre, Barnardos, CAN – Community Action Network, Focus Ireland, The Irish Traveller Movement Independent Law Centre, Mercy Law Resource Centre, Northside Community Law Centre, the Public Interest Law Alliance (a project of FLAC) and Tenants First. Continue reading “Job Vacancy: Researcher Collective Complaint to the COE”