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Dr. David Kenny
Associate Professor, Law


Dr David Kenny is an Associate Professor of Law in the Law School, teaching Irish and comparative constitutional law, conflict of laws, critical legal theory and law and literature. He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Harvard Law School, and the Honourable Society of the King's Inns, and is an alumnus of the US State Department's Fulbright programme. He was elected a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in 2021.

Dr Kenny's research specialises in Irish and comparative constitutional law. He is co-author of the 5th edition of Kelly: the Irish Constitution, the leading text on Irish Constitutional Law, as well as many peer-reviewed articles in leading national and international journals on topics such as proportionality, constitutional silence, referendums, and executive branch legal advisors. His current research projects focus on critical accounts of comparative constitutional law methodology, constitutional culture, and referendums, as well as on constitutional implications of Brexit for Ireland. He also writes in the field of law and literature.

Dr Kenny has given expert evidence on constitutional issues to the Citizen's Assembly, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Defence, the Oireachtas Special Covid-19 Committee, and the Northern Ireland Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. He is currently a member of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland, convened by the Constitution Unit of University College London and supported by funding from the British Academy and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. He is coordinator of the State Governance section of the Trinity College Dublin Covid-19 Legal Observatory and recently co-author of a major report on the human rights impact of COVID-19 response measures for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. He is also working on a project with the Centre of Constitutional Democracy at IU Bloomington on constitutionalism on the Korean Peninsula.

Dr Kenny teaches Constitutional Law I to first year students; Critical Perspectives on Law and Conflict of Laws to fourth years students; and leads a final year dissertation research group on law and literature. He has previously taught advanced constitutional law module to fourth year undergraduates and Masters students. He was a recipient of the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015.

Dr Kenny regularly contributed to media discussion of constitutional issues, referendums, and Brexit, having written articles in the Irish Times, the Irish Independent and, and appearing on Morning Ireland, Marion Finucane, the Six One News, Prime Time, Sky News and the BBC. He is open to media queries on matters of Irish or international constitutional law.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

David Kenny, 'Love mounts to the throne with law': Citizenship in Northern Ireland and Seamus Heaney's Antigone, Law and Humanities (FORTHCOMING), 2022 Journal Article, 2022

Conor Casey and David Kenny, The Gatekeepers: Executive Lawyers and the Executive Power in Comparative Constitutional Law, International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON) FORTHCOMING, 2022 Journal Article, 2022

David Kenny and Conor Casey, How liberty dies in a galaxy far, far away: Star Wars, democratic decay, and weak executives, Law and Literature (forthcoming), 2022 Journal Article, 2022

Oran Doyle, David Kenny, Christopher McCrudden, The Franchise in Irish Unification Referendums, Irish Studies in International Affairs, 32, (2), 2021, p182 - 213 Journal Article, 2021

The Risks of Referendums: "Referendum culture" in Ireland as a solution? in, editor(s)Maria Cahill, Conor O'Mahony and Sean Ó Conaill , Popular Sovereignty and Populism in Ireland (FORTHCOMING), Routledge, 2021, [David Kenny] Book Chapter, 2021

Sovereignty and Federalism in, editor(s)Guerino D'Ignazio , The Constitutional System of the United States of America (forthcoming), Wolters Kluwer, 2021, pp133 - 153, [David Kenny and Andrea Pin] Book Chapter, 2021

David Kenny and Conor Casey, The Resilience of Executive Dominance in Westminster Systems: Ireland 2016-2019, Public Law , (April), 2021, p335 - 374 Journal Article, 2021

Jurisdiction, Choice of law, and enforcement of judgments in, editor(s)Christopher McCrudden , The Law and Practice of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Cambridge , Cambridge University Press, 2021, [David Kenny] Book Chapter, 2021

David Kenny, The Human Pared Away: Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell as an Archetype of Legal Pragmatism , Law and Literature (forthcoming) , 2021 Journal Article, 2021

Conor Casey and David Kenny, Ireland-COVID-19 response raises some rule of law concerns, Public Law, April, 2021, p480 - 483 Journal Article, 2021

The Constitutional Politics of a United Ireland in, editor(s)Oran Doyle, Aileen McHarg, Jo Murkins , Constitutions Under Pressure: The Brexit Challenge for Ireland and the UK (forthcoming), Cambridge University Press, 2021, [Oran Doyle, David Kenny, Christopher McCrudden] Book Chapter, 2021 TARA - Full Text

Interpretation in law and literature in, editor(s)Adam Hanna and Eugene McNulty , Law and Literature: The Irish Case (forthcoming), Manchester University Press, 2021, [Tom Hickey and David Kenny ] Book Chapter, 2021

Are the people the masters? Constitutional Referendums in Ireland in, editor(s)Richard Albert and Richard Stacey , The Legality and Legitimacy of Referendums (FORTHCOMING), Oxford University Press, 2021, [David Kenny and Aileen Kavanagh] Book Chapter, 2021

David Kenny, The virtues of unprincipled constitutional compromises: Church and State in the Irish Constitution, European Constitutional Law Review, 16, (3), 2020, p417 - 439 Journal Article, 2020

Sovranità e Federalismo (Sovereignty and Federalism) in, editor(s)Guerino D'Ignazio , Il Sistema Costituzionale delgi Stati Uniti d'America (The Constitutional System of the United States of America) , Wolters Kluwer, 2020, pp175 - 202, [David Kenny and Andrea Pin] Book Chapter, 2020

David Kenny and Conor Casey, A One Person Supreme Court? The Attorney General, constitutional advice to government, and the case for transparency, Dublin University Law Journal , 42, (1), 2020, p90 - 118 Journal Article, 2020

David Kenny, Review of The Triangular Constitution by Tom Flynn , Common Law World Review, 49, (1), 2020, p92-106 Review, 2020

David Kenny and Conor Casey, Shadow Constitutional Review: The Dark Side of Pre-Enactment Political Review in Ireland and Japan, International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON), 18, (1), 2020, p51 - 77 Journal Article, 2020

The Failed Referendum to Abolish the Ireland's Senate: Rejecting Unicameralism in a Small and Relatively Homogenous Country in, editor(s)Richard Albert, Antonia Baraggia, Cristina Fasone , Constitutional Reform of National Legislatures Bicameralism under Pressure, Edward Elgar, 2019, pp163 - 182, [David Kenny] Book Chapter, 2019

Ireland in, editor(s)Carsten Gerner-Beuerle, Federico M Mucciarelli, Edmund Schuster and Mathias Sims , The Private International Law of Companies in the European Union, Munich, CH Beck, 2019, pp461 - 488, [Blanaid Clarke and David Kenny] Book Chapter, 2019

David Kenny, Criminal Assets Bureau v Murphy - just the exclusionary rule in a civil context, or a new approach to unconstitutionality in the criminal process?, Irish Supreme Court Review , 1, (1), 2019, p187 - 204 Journal Article, 2019

Richard Albert and David Kenny , The challenges of constitutional silence: Doctrine, theory, and applications, International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON), 2018, p880 - 886 Journal Article, 2018

David Kenny, Abortion, The Irish Constitution, and Constitutional Change, Revista de Investigações Constitucionais / Brazilian Journal of Constitutional Research , 5, (3), 2018, p257 - 275 Journal Article, 2018

GW Hogan, GF Whyte, D Kenny, R Walsh, Kelly: The Irish Constitution, Fifth edition, Dublin, Bloomsbury Professional, 2018, 1 - 2765pp Book, 2018

David Kenny, Proportionality and the Inevitability of the Local: a comparative localist analysis of Canada and Ireland, American Journal of Comparative Law, 66, (3), 2018, p537 - 578 Journal Article, 2018

Merit, Diversity, And Interpretive Communities: The (Non-Party) Politics Of Judicial Appointments And Constitutional Adjudication in, editor(s)Laura Cahillane, Tom Hickey, James Gallen , Politics, Judges, and the Irish Constitution, Manchester University Press, 2017, pp136 - 149, [David Kenny] Book Chapter, 2017

David Kenny, Remedial Innovation, Constitutional Culture, and the Supreme Court at a Crossroads, Dublin University Law Journal, 40(2), 2017, p85 - 106 Journal Article, 2017

Choice-of-Court Agreements, the Italian Torpedo, and the Recast of the Brussels I Regulation (republication) in, editor(s)Wendy Collins Perdue , Procedure and Private International Law, Edward Elgar, 2017, pp197 - 209, [David Kenny and Rosemary Hennigan] Book Chapter, 2017

Constitutional Change and Interest Group Politics: Ireland's Children's Rights Amendment in, editor(s)Richard Albert, Xenophon Contiades, Alkmene Fotiadou , The Foundations and Tradition of Constitutional Amendment, Hart Publishing, 2017, pp199 - 218, [Oran Doyle and David Kenny] Book Chapter, 2017 TARA - Full Text

David Kenny, Politics all the way down: originalism as rhetoric, Diritto pubblico comparato ed europeo (DPCE) Online, 31, (3), 2017, p661 - 667 Journal Article, 2017

David Kenny and Liz Heffernan, Peer Observation of Teaching, Dublin University Law Journal, 2017, p205 - 216 Journal Article, 2017

David Kenny and Rosemary Hennigan, Choice of Court Agreements, the Italian Torpedo, and the Recast of the Brussels I Regulation: a possible snag, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 64, (1), 2015, p197 - 209 Journal Article, 2015

David Kenny, Conventions in Judicial Decisionmaking: Epistemology and the Limits of Critical Self Consciousness, Dublin University Law Journal, 38, (2), 2015, p432 - 441 Journal Article, 2015

David Kenny, A Review of Neil Walker's "Intimation of Global Law", by Neil Walker , American Journal of Comparative Law, 2015, p1053-1060 Review, 2015

Defamation and Privacy and the Rome II Regulation in, editor(s)Peter Stone and Youseph Farah , Research Handbook on the Conflict of Laws, Elgar, 2015, pp315 - 343, [David Kenny and Liz Heffernan] Book Chapter, 2015

Gerard Hogan, David Kenny and Rachael Walsh, An Anthology of Unconstitutionality, Irish Jurist, (54), 2015, p1 - 30 Journal Article, 2015

David Kenny, Grounding Constitutional Remedies in Reality: the Case for As-Applied Constitutional Challenges in Ireland, Dublin University Law Journal, 35, 2014, p53 - 77 Journal Article, 2014

David Kenny, Re Flightlease: The 'Real And Substantial Connection' Test For Recognition And Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments Fails To Take Flight In Ireland, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 63, (1), 2014, p197 - 212 Journal Article, 2014

David Kenny, Proportionality, the Burden of Proof, and Some Signs of Reconsideration, Irish Jurist, 52, 2014, p141 - 152 Journal Article, 2014

David Kenny, Recent Developments in the Right of the Person in Article 40.3: Fleming v Ireland and the Spectre of Unenumerated Rights, Dublin University Law Journal, 2013, (36), 2013, p322 - 341 Journal Article, 2013

The Separation of Powers and Remedies: The Legislative Power and Remedies for Unconstitutional Legislation in Comparative Perspective in, editor(s)Eoin Carolan , The Constitution of Ireland: Perspectives and Prospects, Dublin, Bloomsbury Professional, 2012, pp191 - 216, [David Kenny] Book Chapter, 2012

David Kenny, Fair Procedures in Irish Administrative Law: Towards a Constitutional Duty to Act Fairly in Dellway Investments v NAMA, Dublin University Law Journal, 34, 2011, p47 - 73 Journal Article, 2011

David Kenny, A Dormant Doctrine of Overbreadth: Abstract Review and Ius Tertii in Irish Proportionality Analysis, Dublin University Law Journal, 32, 2010, p25 - 50 Journal Article, 2010

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Conor Casey, Oran Doyle, David Kenny, Donna Lyons, Ireland's Emergency Powers During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dublin, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission , February, 2021, p1 - 104 Report, 2021

Alan Renwick, Oran Doyle, John Garry, Paul Gillespie, Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Katy Hayward, Robert Hazell, David Kenny, Christopher McCrudden, Brendan O'Leary, Etain Tannam, Alan Whysall , Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland: Interim Report, London, Constitution Unit, University College London, November, 2020, p1 - 259 Report, 2020

Renwick, Whysall et al, Interim Report of Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland (forthcoming), Constitution Unit, UCL, October , 2020 Report, 2020

David Kenny, Technical Report for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission-Protecting Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Irish Legal Order, August, 2020, 1-40 Report, 2020

Frank Clarke, David Kenny, Aine Ryall, How Courts Decide: adjudicative process of Supreme Administrative Courts, ACA (association of Supreme Administrative Courts) Europe, 2019 Report, 2019

David Kenny and Eoin Daly, Report on the Constitutional Limits of the "Money Message" Procedure under Article 17.2 of the Constitution of Ireland, May, 2019, 1-20 Report, 2019

David Kenny and Rosemary Hennigan, In Two Minds: Atticus Finch and the Limits of Law, Dublin Review of Books, (5), 2016 Review Article, 2016

David Kenny, Goshawk Dedicated Ltd v Life Receivables Ireland Ltd - Jurisdiction, Lis Alibi Pendens and Problematic Use of the Brussels Regime, Trinity College Law Review, 12, 2009, p1- Journal Article, 2009

Research Expertise


Comparative Constitutional Law; Conflict of Laws; Constitutional Law; Irish Politics; Referendums


Awards and Honours

Elected Fellow of Trinity College Dublin 2021

Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching 2015

Ussher Fellowship, Trinity College Dublin 2009-2012

Fulbright Scholar 2008-2009


Board Member and Supervising Lawyer, Irish Innocence Project 2014 – Present