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Judicial Appointments Commission Bill Reference

Tuesday, 14 November 2023

Hybrid Event: Location: JM Synge Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin & Zoom Online

This conference is now fully booked for both online and in-person

President Higgins’ referral of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill to the Supreme Court is his first and only the 16th Article 26 reference in the history of the State. The Bill was enacted by the two Houses of the Oireachtas after much debate, domestic controversies and external pressure. It raises fundamental questions about how judges are appointed and the constitutional balance of power between the Government, the Oireachtas and the Courts. Whatever the Court decides, re Article 26 and the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill will be one of the most significant constitutional cases of recent decades.

The Trinity Centre for Constitutional Governance (TriCON) is convening this conference, on the eve of the hearing before the Supreme Court, to explore the issue of judicial appointments, the background to the Bill, and the constitutional issues that arise for determination. Among the topics to be covered are the Court’s approach to previous Article 26 references, the international GRECO reports that were critical of Ireland’s approach to judicial appointments, the relevance of diversity and merit to judicial selection, and constitutional arguments around the Government’s power to appoint judges.

Schedule of Events

Registration: 5:45pm
Session 1 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Hilary Hogan The History and Use of Article 26
Patrick O'Brien European Rule of Law Guidance and Judicial Appointments
Session 2 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Laura Cahillane Diversity, the Merit Principle, and the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill
Oran Doyle The Extent of the Government’s Power to Choose Judges

Speaker details

  • Laura Cahillane is associate professor at the School of Law in the University of Limerick. An expert on Irish constitutional law and author of Drafting the Irish Free State Constitution (Manchester University Press, 2016), she has recently published on the deficiencies in Ireland’s judicial appointments process.
  • Oran Doyle is professor in law at Trinity College Dublin and research professor at Academia Sinica Taiwan. The author of The Irish Constitution: A Contextual Analysis (Hart, 2018), his current work in Irish constitutional law focuses on the Supreme Court’s evolving approach to the executive power.
  • Hilary Hogan is a PhD researcher at the European University Institute and a Teaching Fellow in the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin. An expert in European constitutionalism, she has published on the role Article 26 references have played in the development of Irish constitutional law.
  • Patrick O'Brien is senior lecturer in law at Oxford Brookes University. He is the co-author of The Politics of Judicial Independence in the UK's Changing Constitution (CUP 2015) and has appeared before committees of the UK Parliament to give evidence on the judicial role and judicial appointments.

Event Registration & Fees:

This conference is now fully booked for both online and in-person

All successful applicants have been emailed confirmation of place and followup email with papers

Fees: €25 per person, €10 for students, unwaged.

Revolt Payments are not accepted.

CPD Points: 2

These seminars are supported by Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union through the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in Law and Politics, Trinity College Dublin.