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Criminal Law: Recent Developments and Emerging Trends

About the course

    • Date
      • 18 April 2018
    • Time
      • 6 – 8 pm
    • Venue
      • Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin
    • CPD Hours/Numbers
      • 2.25

    The Crime and Punishment Research Group at the Law School Trinity College Dublin will host a conference on Criminal Law: Recent Developments and Emerging Trends on Thursday 19 April 2018 from 6pm to 8.15pm. Chaired by Ms Justice Una Ni Raifeartaigh, the conference will present papers from legal experts on developments in four key areas of law and practice: bail, evidence under the ECHR, criminal culpability, and sentencing. A detailed programme and information about registration are provided below.


6.00 Registration

Criminal Evidence and the ECHR: Recent Developments

The paper will analyse recent judgments of the ECtHR on criminal law and evidence. It will focus in particular on the right of access to pre-trial advice in light of the recent judgments of the Strasbourg Court in Ibrahim and Others v UK (2016) and Beuze v Belgium (2017). It will also consider M v the Netherlands (2017), which examined whether restrictions on access to classified information breached the applicant’s Article 6 rights. In addition, it will also explore the judgment in Van Wesenbeeck v Belgium (2017) which concerned the refusal by a trial court to allow examination of undercover agents. Finally, it will look at recent decisions on surveillance and entrapment.

Dr. Eoin O’Connor BL

Bail and the use of pre-trial detention: findings from an empirical study

The legal framework governing bail and the use of pre-trial detention in Ireland is well described, but empirical research into how it operates in practice remains limited. This paper will present findings from interviews with lawyers, judges and staff of the Probation Service on matters including: the operation of the grounds on which bail can be denied in practice; the use of conditions; and future developments such as electronic monitoring and increased focus on the risk of reoffending.

Prof. Mary Rogan
6.50 Questions and Discussion
7.00 Tea/Coffee

Culpability in Irish criminal law: recent developments in defences and mens rea

This paper focuses on significant legislative and judicial developments over the past two years or so pertaining to mental elements in crimes (mens rea) and affirmative defences such as duress and provocation. More specifically the paper analyses a retreat from strong subjectivism in sex offences as evident in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017. By strong subjectivism is meant the idea that only intention, knowledge and advertent recklessness are appropriate at all points as mens rea in serious offences. Rejecting the assumption that mens rea alone does the work of reflecting and insisting on an offender’s culpability, the paper explores recent developments in defences such as provocation and duress. Finally the paper examines – principally through the careless driving case of DPP v O’Shea [2017] IESC 41 – a recent (subtle) shift in interpretive practices and the constitutional control of culpability in criminal law that again marks a retreat from strong subjectivism.

Dr. David Prendergast

Structured Sentencing: The Contribution of the Court of Appeal

Since its establishment in 2014, the Court of Appeal has dealt with hundreds of sentence appeals most of which have been fairly routine in nature. However, the Court has also developed a certain body of more general sentencing jurisprudence. Most notably, it has been insisting that trial court sentencing decisions should be transparent and structured, at least to the extent of an appropriate “headline” sentence being indicated in every case. Admittedly, failure to specify a headline sentence will not necessarily constitute an error of principle if the ultimate sentence seems appropriate in light of all the relevant circumstances. Recently, the Court has re-affirmed its commitment to structured sentencing by rejecting the “instinctive synthesis” approach in a favour of a staged or two-step approach. In light of these and other developments, we shall ask if appeal court jurisprudence can generate a sufficient consistency of approach and outcome to satisfy the growing demand for more coherent and consistent sentencing.

Mr. Tom O’Malley BL
8.05 Questions and Discussion
8.15 Conference ends

The right to substitute and rearrange lecture(r)s is reserved.

Chair and Speakers

Chair: The Hon. Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh, High Court

Dr. Eoin O’Connor was called to the Bar in 2008 and began practising in 2009. His PhD analysed how informer privilege affects the right to a fair trial. He is the author (with Michael Lynn SC as consultant editor) of a forthcoming textbook on National Security Law (Bloomsbury).

Mr. Tom O’Malley is a Senior Lecturer in Law at NUI Galway, a practising barrister and a member of the Law Reform Commission. His main research interests are in the fields of criminal law, criminal procedure, sentencing and comparative law. His most recent book is Sentencing Law and Practice (3rd edition, 2016). He is currently working on the new edition of Sexual Offences and a Supplement to the 3rd edition of Sentencing, as well as a book on comparative sentencing law.

Dr David Prendergast teaches jurisprudence at the School of Law at Trinity College Dublin. In journal articles on substantive criminal law he has analysed strict liability, self-defence, causation, inchoate offences and gross negligence manslaughter. He has examined the constitutional control of criminal law through mens rea doctrines and, more recently, vagueness. Current criminal law research is in the areas of murder mens rea, presumptions, criminalisation, consent, and the offence-defence distinction.

Professor Mary Rogan is an Associate Professor at the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin. Professor Rogan’s research interests are in penal policymaking, human rights and imprisonment, and prison law. She is a barrister with expertise in prison law. She is the author of Prison Policy in Ireland (Routledge, 2011), Prison Law (Bloomsbury, 2014) and co-editor with Professor Ivana Bacik of Legal Cases that Changed Ireland (Clarus, 2017).

Professor Rogan was awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant worth €1.5million in 2015 for a project entitled 'Prisons: the rule of law, accountability and rights'. This work examines inspection, oversight and accountability in prison systems in the United States and Europe. She is currently leading research funded by the European Commission on bail and pre-trial detention in Europe, and work on leadership and penal change funded by the Irish Research Council. She is the Chairperson of the Implementation and Oversight Group on reforms to penal policy, which reports to the Minister for Justice and Equality and is a representative of Ireland on the International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation, a body with advisory status to the United Nations. Professor Rogan is a member of the Boards of the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders and the Victims' Rights Alliance, and is a former Chairperson of the Irish Penal Reform Trust.

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Normal: €150.00 for 1 person/conference; Group rates: €270 for 2[1]; €385 for 3; €480 for 4.

TCD CPD members rate: €120 per 1 person per conference; €215 for 2 (at one conference) or for 1 to attend both conferences.

Reduced rate*: €135 per 1 person per conference or €240 for 1 person to attend both conferences.

Note: Fees are inclusive of tea/coffee breaks and conference materials. Cheques should be made payable to TCD No. 1 Account. Invoices may be requested for payments by bank transfer.