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Professor William Binchy, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin

William Binchy

Catherine Donnelly

Fellow Emeritus

School of Law
Room 01C, House 39
Trinity College, Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 896 2297
Fax: (01) 677 0449
Email: william.binchy at

Areas of Interest

Torts, Private International Law, Human Rights



William Binchy BA BCL LLM (NUI) MA (DUBL) FTCD (1995), Barrister-at-Law, Honorary Bencher (King's Inns). William Binchy is Regius Professor of Laws. He was formerly a special legal adviser on family law reform to the Irish Department of Justice and Research Counsellor to the Law Reform Commission.  He was a Commissioner with the Irish Human Rights Commission for two terms, from 2000 to 2011.  He was Visiting Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (Michaelmas Term 2002) and Visiting Fellow at the Institute of European and Comparative Law, Oxford (June 2011).  He has authored and co-authored books on private international law, torts and family law and organises the Annual Workshop on Constitutionalism for African Chief Justices and Senior Judiciary, held at the Law School, now in its fifteenth year. He has represented Ireland at the Hague Conference on Private International Law on the themes of marriage and inter-country adoption and the Irish Human Rights Commission at the United Nations during the formulation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He was a member of the Committee on the Offences Against the State Acts, Chaired by the Hon. Mr. Justice Anthony Hederman. He has acted as consultant to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in relation to the Timor-Leste judicial system, making a field visit in August 2005. He has organised visits of the members of the Judiciary of Tanzania, Uganda and Lesotho to Trinity College Dublin and of members of the Irish Judiciary to several African countries.


Professional Qualifications

BA, BCL, LLM (NUI), MA (DUBL,) FTCD (1995), Barrister-at-Law, The Honorable Society of the King's Inns (1968).



  • Commissioner with the Irish Human Rights Commission, 2000-2011
  • Represented the Irish Human Rights Commission at the U.N. Ad Hoc Committee on the Draft International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, New York 2003 to 2007.
  • Consultant to Mr. Justice Dermot Kinlen, Inspector of Prisons and Places of Detention, 2003 to date
  • Represented Ireland at the Hague Conference on Private International Law in the formulation of the Conventions on Marriage (1976) and Intercountry Adoption (1993).


Administrative Functions

  • Director of the Annual African Workshop on Constitutionalism for Chief Justices and Senior Judiciary
  • Director of the programmes on Constitutionalism involving the judiciary of Tanzania, Lesotho and Uganda
  • Co-organiser of seminars for the Botswana Magistracy.
  • Co-Editor of the Quarterly Review of Tort Law.
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Tort Law Review.
  • College Tutor.


Awards and Honours

  • Fellow, Trinity College Dublin 1992
  • John Brooke Scholar, The Honorable Society of the King's Inns (1968)
  • Honorary Bencher, The Honorable Society of King's Inns (2010)
  • Tutorial Scholar in Law, University College Dublin (1969).
  • Entrance Scholarship, University College Dublin (1964).


Education Details

  • BA (NUI) 1967
  • BCL (NUI) 1969
  • LLM (NUI) 1972
  • Barrister-at-Law The Honorable Society of the King's Inns (1968)
  • M.A. (jure officii) Dublin University (1993).


Employment Details

  • Regius Professor of Laws, Trinity College Dublin 1992 to date
  • Research Counsellor, Irish Law Reform Commission, 1976 to 1992
  • Special Legal Adviser, Irish Department of Justice, 1974 to 1976
  • Assistant Professor of Law, University of Ottawa, 1972 to 1974
  • Lecturer in Law, Dundee University, 1970 to 1972
  • Practised as a Barrister at the Irish Bar, 1968 to 1970.


Selected Publications


Private International Law

  • (with John Ahern) Ed., The Rome II Regulation on the Law Applicable to Non-Contractual Obligations: A New Regime, 2009, Brill/Martininus Nijhoff
  • Irish Conflicts of Law, 1988, Butterworths

Human Rights

  • (with Emmmanuel Quansah) Ed. The Judicial Protection of Human Rights in Botswana, 2009, Clarus Press
  • Ed., Timor-Leste: Challenges for Justice and Human Rights in the Shadow of the Past , 2006, Clarus Press
  • (with Catherine Finnegan) Ed, Human Rights, Constitutionalism and the Judiciary: Tanzanian and Irish Perspectives, 2006, Clarus Press
  • (with Catherine Finnegan) Ed., The Citizenship Referendum: Implications for the Constitution and Human Rights, 2004, Trinity College Law School
  • (with Jeremy Sarkin) Ed., The Administration of Justice: Current Themes in Comparative Perspective , 2004, Four Courts Press
  • (with Jeremy Sarkin) Ed., Human Rights, the Citizen and the State: South African and Irish Approaches (co-edited with Jeremy Sarkin), 2001, Roundhall Sweet and Maxwell

Tort Law

  • (with Bryan McMahon) The Irish Law of Torts (4th edition), forthcoming 2011, Bloomsbury
  • (with Ciaran Craven) Ed., Medical Negligence Litigation: Emerging Issues, 2008, FirstLaw
  • (with Dr. Dympna Glendenning, Barrister-at-Law) Ed., Litigation Against Schools: Implications for School Management , 2006, FirstLaw
  • (with Bryan McMahon) Casebook on the Irish Law of Torts (3rd edition), 2005, Tottel
  • (with Ciaran Craven) Ed.,The Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004: Implications for Personal Injuries Litigation, 2004, FirstLaw
  • (with Paul Quigley) The Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003: Implications for the Legal Practice, 2004, FirstLaw
  • (with Bryan McMahon) The Irish Law of Torts (3rd edition) , 2000, Tottel

Family Law

  • (with Oran Doyle) Ed., Committed Relationships and the Law, 2007, Four Courts Press
  • Casebook on Irish Family Law, 1984, Butterworth
  • Is Divorce the Answer? An Examination of No-Fault Divorce Against the Background of the Irish Debate, 1984, Irish Academic Press

Irish Law

  • (with Raymond Byrne and specialist contributors) Annual Review of Irish Law (24 volumes, from 1987 to 2010), Thomson Roundhall

Chapters in Books

"Values and Policies in Tort Law: The Emerging Irish Debate:, in Jennifer Schweppe & Thomas Mohr eds., Thirty Years of Legal Scholarship - the Irish Association of Law Teachers" (Round Hall, 2011).

"Human Dignity: Its Implications for damage, the Family and Society", in Scott FitzGibbon, Lynn Wardle & A. Scott Loveless eds., The Jurisprudence of Marriage and Other Intimate Relationships (Hein, 2010)

"Dignity as a Constitutional Concept", in Eoin Carolan and Oran Doyle eds, The Irish Constitution: Governance and Values" (Thomson Round Hall, 2008)

"The Supreme Court of Ireland", in Brice Dickson ed, Judicial Activism in Common Law Supreme Courts (Oxford University Press, 2007)

Articles and Papers

"Meskell, The Constitution and Tort Law", 18 Dublin University Law Journal 339 (2011)

"Courts, Legislators and Human Embryo Research: Lessons from Ireland", paper delivered at the conference, Human Embryo Research: Law, Ethics and Public Policy, hosted by the Anscombe Biothetics Centre, Oxford, 8 September 2011

"The Irish Legal System: An Introduction," 11 Legal Information Management 151 (2011)

(with Richard Akinlabi Komolafe), "Patients, Contributory Negligence and Medical Negligence Litiation", 4 (2) Quarterly Review of Tort Law 21 (2011)

"The Role of Comparative and Public International Law in Domestic Legal Systems", Conference, The Rule of Law under A Written and Unwritten Constitution, Cape Town, 23 September 2010 (Middle Temple and General Council ofthe Bar of South Africa)

"Prison Authorities, Attacks on Prisoners and the Duty of Care", 3(4) Quarterly Review of Tort Law 28 (2009)

"Protecting Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Ireland", Irish Human Rights Commission and Law Society conference, Economic Social and Cultural Rights - Making States Accountable, 21 November 2009

"Constitutionality, the Rule of Law and Socio-Economic Development", paper delivered at the Southern African Chief Justices Forum, Kasane, 7 August 2009.

(with Alex Schuster) "Product Liability Litigation in Ireland: Recent Developments", 2(4) Quarterly Review of Tort Law 13 (2008)

(with Clive Symmons), "Licensing of Deer Hunting by Staghounds in the Light of Irish Statutory Law: An Instance of Mistaken Statutory Interpretation?", 25 Irish Law Tiimes 297

"Damages Awards after Shortt v An Garda Siochana: New Questions", 2(3) Quarterly Review of Irish Law 20 (2007).



Participation in Public Debate on Issues of Justice and Human Rights

Represented the Irish Human Rights Commission at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, when members of the Commission presented the Commission's findings in its Enquiry Report into Services Available to a Group of Adults with a Severe to Profound Intellectual Disability in the John Paul Centre, Galway, 25 January 2011

Organised a conference Religioin and Education: A Human RIghts Perspective, in conjunction with the Irish Human Rights Commission and Trinity College Law School on 27 November 2010

Legal Advisor to the Pro-Life Campaign.

Postgraduate Research Students

Last Name First Name Programme Type Thesis Title Professor


John Patrick


The Choice of Law in Torts

Prof. William Binchy

Arduin Sarah Ph.D. Disability and Human Rights Prof. William Binchy




Unnatural parents, abnormal families? The Legal Construction of Families created by Assisted Reproductive Technology

Prof. William Binchy




Customary Law and the Implementation of the International Human Rights Regime: The Case of Malawi

Prof. William Binchy

Dunlop Frank Ph.D. Euthansia and the Law: A Comparative Analysis Prof. William Binchy




International Law and legal philosophy

Prof William Binchy




A Comparative Study of Fundamental Rights in South Africa and Ireland with Specific Emphasis on Equality and Human Dignity

Prof. William Binchy

Komolafe Richard M.Litt Medical Negligence Litigation in Nigeria Prof. William Binchy




Transformative Occupation: The Limitations of International Humanitarian Law to the Reallocation of Iraqi oil resources under the US/UK Transformative Occupation of Iraq.

Prof Hilary Delany

Paúl-Díaz Álvaro M.Litt The Decision Making Process in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and a Comparison with its European Equivalent Prof. William Binchy




Liability for Negligently Inflicted Psychiatric Injury

Prof. William Binchy