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Recent Research Activities, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin

Recent Research Activities

On 31 August and 1 September 2016, Trinity College inaugurated the British-Irish Chapter of the International Society for Public Law (ICON-S) with a symposium dedicated to the theme of constitutional silence. Co-organised with Boston College Law School, the symposium took place on the Dublin campus of Boston College and in the Law School. The symposium engaged with the difficult questions that arise when constitutions fail to speak. Does this empower political actors to shape new constitutional norms? Does it empower judges to interpret new constitutional standards into existence?

Papers were presented by Aileen Kavanagh (Oxford), Oran Doyle (Trinity), Martin Laughlin (LSE), Gábor Halmai (EUI Florence), Mohammad Fadel (Toronto), Aileen McHarg (Strathclyde), Anna Sledzinska-Simon (Wroclaw), Laurence Claus (San Diego). Papers addressed diverse topics, such as the constitutional transition in Hungary, federalism in the United States, and the lack of constitutional rules governing Brexit. The peer-reviewed proceedings of the symposium will be published in due course.

Dr. Andelka M. Phillips, our newly appointed Ussher assistant professor in information technology law, Andelka Phillips, is a leading expert on online privacy. In particular, her research addresses the privacy implications of sharing genetic information with online testing companies. She recently explained some of these concerns to the Canadian website, Global News: http://globalnews.ca/news/2879276/privacy-risks-lurk-in-dna-tests-experts-warn/

In a globalised world, the ability to migrate is ever more important. Some passports allow their bearers more freedom of movement than others. Suryapratim Roy, our recently appointed assistant professor in regulatory law has contributed the legal analysis of China and India for the Henley Partners Kochenov Quality of Nationality Index: www.nationalityindex.com in a globalised world, the ability to migrate is ever more important. Some passports allow their bearers more freedom of movement than others.

Dr Caoimhín MacMaoláin was awarded a grant to carry out an investigation into legal aspects of introducing health warnings and other labelling requirements for alcoholic products. This project, in conjunction with Amárach Research and the Department of Health, is providing advice to the Government on ways in which the law can be used to address public health concerns arising out of the over-consumption of alcohol. Caoimhín is operating as part of an interdisciplinary team on this, in a group which includes graphic designers, social scientists, political scientists, health scientists and consumer behaviour experts. Their findings will then be used to shape new laws in this area.

Drs David Kenny, Caoimhín MacMaoláin and Rachael Walsh were awarded funding to participate in the RESILENS project. This is an interdisciplinary research project on security, funded by the EU under its Horizon 2020 programme. The project is formulating a new standard in resilience in the face of man-made and natural threats for critical infrastructure, which includes a number of Irish participants, including the School of Psychology and School of Engineering at TCD, Future Analytics consultants, and Irish Water, as well as a range of other EU partners. 

Professor Blanaid Clarke participated in first meeting of the European Commission Informal Expert Group on Company Law. Professor Clarke is also the Irish representative in the OECD Corporate Governance Committee. It published its revised OECD Corporate Governance Principles in September 2015 and these were endorsed by the G20 at its meeting in November 2015.

Dr Rosemary Byrne was elected a second time to serve as the Chair of the Scientific Committee of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, which is the research body that provides evidenced based advice for the European Commission and 28 Member States. The Scientific Committee was created by the Agency's founding regulation to serve as the guarantor of the quality of the body's work.  FRA has a budget of over EUR 20 million and is the largest research body dedicated to fundamental rights policy and practice in the world.  Rosemary Byrne also was made the Chair of the Board of Advisors of the international think tank South Asia Democratic Forum.

Dr Diarmuid Rossa Phelan organised and co-chaired the EU-funded CESL conference in the Long Room Hub in December 2014 on 'The EU Investment Treaty' with contributors from Europe, USA and China. He is joint editor of the Irish Journal of European Law and was engaged in its relaunch with Dr Catherine Donnelly.

Professor Mark Bell was acting coordinator for disability issues in the European Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination. The Network conducts analysis of the implementation of EU anti-discrimination legislation within the Member States, the EEA states, and certain candidate countries for EU membership.

Dr Deirdre Ahern obtained funding from the Irish Research Council to hold a symposium on 'Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity: A Knowledge Exchange Project Concerning the Role of Reporting and Accreditation Tools'.

Professor Blanaid Clarke, McCann Fitzgerald Chair of Corporate Law was appointed to the European Commission's Informal Expert Group on Company Law, a group established last year to advise the Commission on company law issues related to existing proposals and new initiatives. This year, this included consideration of: the mechanism for cross-border mergers and divisions; the information available on corporate groups; the recognition of the concept of "group interest"; and digitalisation of Company Law.

Dr Rosemary Byrne was elected a second time to serve as the Chair of the Scientific Committee of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, which is the research body that provides evidence based advice for the European Commission and 28 Member States. The Scientific Committee was created by the Agency's founding regulation to serve as the guarantor of the quality of the body's work. FRA has a budget of over €20 million and is the largest research body dedicated to fundamental rights policy and practice in the world. Rosemary Byrne also was made the Chair of the Board of Advisors of the international think tank South Asia Democratic Forum.

Professor Neville Cox published an article "Blasphemy, Holocaust Denial and the Control of Profoundly Unacceptable Speech" in the American Journal of Comparative Law as well as Defamation Law and Practice with Eoin McCullough SC (Clarus Press 2014). The latter book was recently shortlisted for the Dublin Solicitors' Bar Association (DSBA) Law Book of the Year Award. Dr. Cox has made a valuable contribution to current debates on the depiction of the Prophet as well as the appropriate legislative and societal response.

Dr. Liz Heffernan (with Una Ni Raifeartaigh SC) authored Evidence in Criminal Trials (Bloomsbury Professional, 2014), the first book in Ireland devoted exclusively to the subject of criminal evidence. It is widely used by legal practitioners and it has been cited in a number of High Court judgments already including AC v O'Brien [2015] IEHC 25; DPP v Burke [2014] IEHC 483 and Donnellan v Judges of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court [2014] IEHC 158. It has also been shortlisted for the DSBA Law Book of the Year Award.

Dr. Diarmuid Rossa Phelan SC is joint general editor of the Irish Journal of European Law and has acted as an international expert for the University of Jena, European Union 
Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in European Integration (2013), as well as lead expert for the European Commission / Tbilisi State University, 
Georgia on the establishment of an interdisciplinary PhD 
programme in European Studies (2013). He was the author of the following publications: "The Pros and Cons of Interdisciplinary Structured PhDs in European Studies" (2013) 3(4) European Journal of Higher Education 402; "The Crystalisation of Judicial Review as a Distinct Legal 
Subject" (2013) 18(4) Judicial Review 432; "The Dynamic Unprohibited Nature of Dominance" (2013) 
34(6) European Competition Law Review 337; "Major Events in European and Chinese International Development 1947-2000" (2013) , 2/3 China-EU Law Journal 217–257; "Monism in International Relations, Dualism in International Law, Trinitarianism in Legal Theory - An Irish Crossroads" in M. Novakovic (ed), Basic Concepts of Public International Law - Monism and Dualism (2013) 892-912; (with C. Kennedy) "O'Flynn - The Need for Tax Certainty" (2014) 2 Irish Tax Review 100. He delivered presentations at University of California at Irvine Law School (8 September 2014) and the University of Jena (5 December 2013).

Dr. Desmond Ryan co-authored (with Prof. Doherty) an analysis of Ireland for the International Academy of Comparative Law's collection "Whistleblowing Around The World – A Comparative Analysis of Whistleblowing in 23 Countries". Dr. Ryan presented research papers at the Obligations VII conference in Hong Kong (16 July 2014), at an international conference on Compensation Culture, Comparative Tort Law Reform in the 21st Century: University of Limerick (23-24 May 2014), and at the Employment Law Association of Ireland (24 September 2013).

Dr. Caoimhín MacMaoláin gave a presentation at UCD on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (March 2014), and contributed a chapter to the proceedings on 'Food Labelling Requirements in EU Law: Creating the Right Package of Measures to Achieve the Aims of CAP 2020'. In 2014, he published book chapters on the relationship between the European Food Safety Authority and the European courts (Ashgate) and the role of the EU in regulating lifestyle risks related to alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy diets (Cambridge University Press).

Dr Deirdre Ahern was invited by Mr Justice Sales of the English High Court to deliver a presentation to the UK Statute Law Society at the Houses of Parliament in November 2013 on "Codification of Company Law". David Kenny testified to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence, and Equality in November 2014 on the issue of reforming judicial appointments and in particular the need for diversity in terms of sex, socioeconomic background and professional experience on the bench. On 2 April 2014, Dr Patricia Brazil was invited to present a paper on the asylum application process, delays and access to justice to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (designate) in the framework of a Roundtable on the Asylum Process and Direct Provision System. Dr David Prendergast's articles on criminal law have been cited and influential in the High Court (McInerney and Curtis v DPP [2014] IEHC 181) and The Law Reform Commission's Report on Sexual Offences and Capacity to Consent (LRC 109-2013).

Publications

Staff were involved in the publication of several books during this 2014-15, including:

  • D Fennelly, International Law in the Irish Legal System (Thomson Reuters Round Hall 2014);
  • C MacMaoláin, Food Law: European, Domestic and International Law Frameworks (Hart Bloomsbury, 2015);
  • G Whyte, Social Inclusion and the Legal System: Public Interest Law in Ireland (2nd edn, IPA, 2015);
  • I Bacik and D Prendergast (eds), Criminal Law and Practice Review (Clarus Press, 2014).

Articles were published by staff in the following journals:

Administration (I Bacik); American Journal of Comparative Law (N Cox); Criminal Law and Practice Review (D Prendergast) Dublin University Law Journal (O Doyle; D Kenny; D Prendergast; J Sterck; G Whyte); European Company Law (B Clarke); European Human Rights Law Review (H Biehler; C Donnelly); European Journal of International Law (R Byrne); European Public Law (C MacMaoláin); Industrial Law Journal (M Bell); International and Comparative Law Quarterly (D Kenny);  International Journal of Refugee Law (R Byrne); Irish Journal of European Law (C MacMaoláin); Irish Jurist (P Brazil; D Kenny); Law Quarterly Review (R Walsh); Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland (I Bacik); Oxford Journal of Law and Religion (N Cox); Revue interdisciplinaire d'études juridiques (D Fennelly); Statute Law Review (D Ahern); Trust Law International (H Biehler); Zeitschrift für Chinesisches Recht (D R Phelan).

Chapters were published in the following books:

Private Company Law Reform: The Race for Flexibility (D Ahern); Irish Feminisms: Past, Present and Future (I Bacik); The Constitutionalization of European Private Law (M Bell); Annual Review of Irish Law 2013 (P Brazil; O Doyle; G Whyte);
Research Handbook on Crisis Management in the Banking Sector (B Clarke); Company Law and Sustainability (B Clarke); Palmers Company Law (B Clarke); Second Cumulative Supplement to De Smith's Judicial Review (C Donnelly); Report of the International Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law (includes contributions from D Kenny and D Prendergast); Research Handbook on EU Private International Law (D Kenny and L Heffernan); Regulating Lifestyle Risks in Europe: The EU, Alcohol, Tobacco and Unhealthy Diets (C MacMaoláin); Research Handbook on the Common Agricultural Policy (C MacMaoláin); Foundations of EU Food Law and Policy: Ten years of the European Food safety Authority (C MacMaoláin); Of Courts and Constitutions: Libor Amicorum in Honour of Nial Fennelly (C Donnelly; D R Phelan); Review of Tort Law Defences (D Ryan); Whistleblowing: International Academy of Comparative Labour Law (D Ryan and M Doherty); Landmark Cases in Property Law (R Walsh); Ireland and the ECHR (G Whyte).


African Workshops for Chief Justices and Senior Judiciary

Globalisation, Human Rights and the Judiciary in Africa: A Comprehensive Identification, Location and Comparative Law Analysis of the Judgments relating to Human Rights in Sixteen African States

Women in Law