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Dr. Deirdre Ahern
Associate Professor, Law

Biography

Professor Deirdre Ahern is an Associate Professor in Trinity College Dublin's Law School where she is the Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate). Convenor of the Technologies, Law and Society Research Group and a member of the School's Corporate Law, Governance and Capital Markets Research Group, her primary research areas are corporate law, comparative corporate law, corporate governance and commercial law as well as the emerging area of FinTech regulation. Professor Ahern's research agenda engages with the societal and legal expectations of companies and their directors including the ethical challenges presented by globalisation. She has written extensively nationally and internationally on the theoretical framework surrounding the duties of company directors. She has a track record of publishing cutting-edge transformative work in high impact, top tier national and international journals which is well cited in academic, policy, judicial and legal practice contexts. Based on a sustained research track of field-shaping work she has developed an international reputation as an expert on the law and policy relating to the duties of company directors and has broken new ground in how the discipline of corporate law and corporate governance is thought about. Her book, Directors' Duties; law and Practice (Thomson Roundhall, 2009) was shortlisted for the Kevin Boyle Prize. Professor Ahern was elected to Fellowship of Trinity College in 2012 on the basis of her contribution to scholarship and is an elected member of the Board (governing authority) of Trinity College representing the Fellows.

A founding Director of the Irish Corporate Law Forum, Professor Ahern previously worked as a commercial solicitor with A&L Goodbody and KPMG and both as a researcher and principal officer with the Law Reform Commission. Professor Ahern is co-editor of the Irish Business Law Review and sits on the editorial boards of The Company Lawyer and the Journal of Business Law. She is a contributing editor to Gore-Browne on Companies. Deirdre has served as Secretary and President of the Irish Association of Law Teachers and as President of Trinity Women Graduates.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

"Majority Rule and Minority Protections: Theoretical Frameworks and National Practice in the Shadow of the EU: The Case of Ireland" in, editor(s)A.J. Viera Gonzalez and C. Teichmann , Conflicts of Interest between Majorities and Minorities in the EU Member States Private Company Law, Spain, Thomson Reuters Aranzadi, 2019, pp117 - 169, [Deirdre Ahern] Book Chapter, 2019 TARA - Full Text

Deirdre Ahern, Regulators Nurturing FinTech Innovation: Global Evolution of The Regulatory Sandbox as Opportunity-Based Regulation, Indian Journal of Law and Technology, 2019 Journal Article, 2019

Deirdre Ahern, Regulatory Arbitrage in a FinTech World: Devising an Optimal EU Regulatory Response to Crowdlending European Banking Institute Working Paper Series No.24, 2018 Working Paper, 2018 TARA - Full Text

Deirdre Ahern, The Mythical Value of Voice and Stewardship in the EU Directive On Long-Term Shareholder Engagement: Rights Do Not An Engaged Shareholder Make, Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies, 20, 2018, 88 - 115 Journal Article, 2018

Deirdre Ahern, "The Mythical Value of Voice and Stewardship in the EU Directive On Long-Term Shareholder Engagement: Rights Do Not An Engaged Shareholder Make" Working Paper No.32 Stanford-Vienna EU Law Working Paper Series.32 , 2018 Working Paper, 2018 TARA - Full Text URL

Deirdre Ahern, Regulatory Arbitrage in a FinTech World: Devising an Optimal EU Regulatory Response to Crowdlending, Journal of Business Law, (3), 2018, p193 - 214 Journal Article, 2018

Ahern, Deirdre, The EU, Close Corporations and Member State Sovereignty: Too Close for Comfort? Reflections on the Evolving Societas Unius Personae Proposal, Irish Business Law Review, 3, (1), 2016, p21 - 35 Journal Article, 2016 TARA - Full Text

The Societas Unius Personae: Using the Single-Member Company as a Vehicle for EU Private Company Law Reform, Some Critical Reflections on Regulatory Approach in, editor(s)A.J. Viera Gonzalez and C. Teichmann , Private Companies in Europe: the Societas Personae (SUP) and the Recent Developments in the EU Member States, Navarra, Spain, Thomson Reuters Aranzadi, 2016, pp55 - 87, [Ahern, Deirdre] Book Chapter, 2016

Deirdre Ahern, Turning Up the Heat? EU Sustainability Goals and the Role of Reporting under the Non-Financial Reporting Directive, European Company and Financial Law Review, 13, (4), 2016, p599 - 630 Journal Article, 2016 URL

Close Corporations: A Common Law World Perspective: the Case of Ireland in, editor(s)Jorge Viera Gonzales and Christoph Teichmann , Private Company Law Reform: The Race of Flexibility, Thomson Reuters Aranzadi, 2015, pp243 - 283, [Deirdre Ahern] Book Chapter, 2015

Deirdre Ahern, "Codification of Company Law: Taking Stock of the Companies Act 2006", Statute Law Review, 35, (1), 2014, p1 - 14 Journal Article, 2014 TARA - Full Text

Irish Business Law Review, Ireland, Clarus Press, [eds.], 2014 Editorial Board, 2014 URL

Company and Insolvency Law in, editor(s)Raymond Byrne and William Binchy , Annual Review of Irish Law 2012, Dublin, Round Hall, 2013, pp81 - 89, [Deirdre Ahern and Noel McGrath] Book Chapter, 2013

Deirdre Ahern and Blanaid Clarke, Listed Companies' Engagement with Diversity: A Multi-Jurisdictional Study of Annual Report Disclosures, 2013 Working Paper, 2013 URL URL

Ireland in, editor(s)C. Gerner-Beuerle, P. Paech and E. Schuster , Study on Directors' Duties and Liability, London , LSE Enterprises, 2013, [Deirdre Ahern] Book Chapter, 2013

Deirdre Ahern and Blanaid Clarke, Listed Companies' Engagement with Diversity: A Multi-Jurisdictional Study of Annual Report Disclosures, Ireland, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, June 2013, 2013, p1 - 107 Report, 2013 TARA - Full Text

, Listed Companies' Engagement with Diversity, 2013 Journal Article, 2013

Deirdre Ahern, Directors' Duties, Dry Ink and the Accessibility Agenda , Law Quarterly Review, 128, 2012, p114 - 139 Journal Article, 2012

Company and Insolvency Law in, editor(s)Raymond Byrne and William Binchy , Annual Review of Irish Law 2011, Dublin, Round Hall, 2012, pp128 - 152, [Deirdre Ahern and Noel McGrath] Book Chapter, 2012

Deirdre Ahern, "New Irish Offence of Withholding Information in relation to the Commission of a Criminal Offence", The Company Lawyer, 33, (4), 2012, p109 - 110 Journal Article, 2012

Deirdre Ahern, Guiding Principles for Directorial Conflicts of Interest: Re Allied Business and Financial Consultants Ltd; O'Donnell v Shanahan, Modern Law Review, 74, 2011, p596 - 607 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text

Deirdre Ahern, Directors' Duties: Broadening the Focus Beyond Content to Examine the Accountability Spectrum, Dublin University Law Journal, 33, 2011, p116 - 152 Journal Article, 2011

Deirdre Ahern, Nominee Directors' Duty to Promote the Success of the Company: Commercial Pragmatism and Legal Orthodoxy , Law Quarterly Review, 127, 2011, p118 - 146 Journal Article, 2011

Deirdre Ahern and Karen Maher, The Continuing Evolution of Proxy Representation, Journal of Business Law, 2, 2011, p125 - 143 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text

, Nominee Directors' Duty to Promote the Success of the Company, Law Quarterly Review, 2011 Journal Article, 2011

Deirdre Ahern, Legislating for the Duty on Directors to Avoid Conflicts of Interest and Secret Profits: The Devil in the Detail, Irish Jurist , 46, 2010, p82 - 106 Journal Article, 2010

D. Ahern, K. Maher, J. O'Brien, D. O'Neill, Elder financial exploitation and the responsibility of financial providers in Ireland: The contribution of the financial services ombudsman, European Geriatric Medicine, 6th Congress European Union Geriatric Medicine Society, Dublin, 2010, 1, 2010, ppA203 - A203 Meeting Abstract, 2010

Deirdre Ahern, Legislating for Directors' Duty to Exercise Care, Skill and Diligence in Ireland: A Comparative Perspective, International Company and Commercial Law Review, 8, 2010, p268 - 273 Journal Article, 2010

Deirdre Ahern, Irish Legislative Proposals for Clarification of Nominee Directors' Best Interests Duty , The Company Lawyer, 31, 2010, p291 - 297 Journal Article, 2010

Deirdre Ahern, Directors' Duties: Law and Practice, Dublin, Round Hall, 2009, 1-700pp Book, 2009

Deirdre Ahern, The Responsible Director in an Economic Downturn: Lessons from the Restriction Regime, Dublin University Law Journal, 31, 2009, p183 - 205 Journal Article, 2009

Deirdre Ahern, The Formation of Insurance Contracts and the Duty of Insurers, Commercial Law Practitioner, 16, (4), 2009, p84 - 87 Journal Article, 2009

Deirdre Ahern, "Hemat v The Medical Council: the Wouters Legacy Revisited", European Competition Law Review, 6, 2007, p366 - 370 Journal Article, 2007

Ahern, Doyle and Timonen, Regulating home care of older people: the inevitable poor relation?, Dublin University Law Journal, 29, 2007, p374 - 396 Journal Article, 2007

Ahern, Directors' Compliance Statements under the Microscope, Commercial Law Practitioner, 13, 2006, p137 - 145 Journal Article, 2006

, Healthcare Decision: Recognising the Decision-making Capacity of Older People to Consent to and to Decline Treatment, Older People in Modern Ireland: Essays on Law and Policy, 2006 Journal Article, 2006

Deirdre Ahern, Healthcare Decisions: Recognising the Decision-Making Capacity of Older People to Consent to and to Decline Treatment in, editor(s)O'Dell E , Older People in Modern Ireland: Essays on Law and Policy, Dublin, First Law, 2006, [Ahern D] Book Chapter, 2006

Ahern, Kenny v Ireland ROC Ltd: Commercial Agents - Not Negotiable?, Dublin University Law Journal, 28, 2006, p296 - 316 Journal Article, 2006

Law Reform Commission, Report on Vulnerable Adults and the Law (LRC 83-2006), Ireland, 2006 Report, 2006

Ahern, Corporate Killing in Ireland - A new Paradigm, Irish Law Times, 22, 2005, p235 - 240 Journal Article, 2005

Ahern, The Rule Against Shareholders' Recovery of Reflective Loss, Commercial Law Practitioner, 12, 2005, p163 - 168 Journal Article, 2005

Law Reform Commission , Report on Vulnerable Adults and the Law, Dublin, 2005 Report, 2005

Ahern, D, Unlimited Corporate Capacity - Plotting the slow demise of ultra vires, Commercial Law Practitioner, 11, 2004, p27 - 30 Journal Article, 2004

Ahern, The Domain Game - introducing 'dot eu', Commercial Law Practitioner, 11, 2004, p275 - 279 Journal Article, 2004

Law Reform Commission, Seminar Paper on Law and the Elderly, 2003 Working Paper, 2003

Law Reform Commission, Consultation Paper on Corporate Killing, Dublin, 2003 Report, 2003

Ahern, Corporate Killing: The Way Forward, Irish Criminal Law Journal, 13, (3), 2003, p10 - 14 Journal Article, 2003

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Deirdre, Equal in Name: The Limits of Law, Then and Now, Me Too, Then and Now, Trinity Long Room Hub, 7 March , 2018, Trinity Long Room Hub Invited Talk, 2018

Deirdre Ahern, Conceptualising Overreach in the English Corporate Opportunities Doctrine, Travers Smith Seminar, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, 7 November , 2017, University of Cambridge Invited Talk, 2017 URL

Ahern, Deirdre, Encouraging Socially Responsible Corporations: Will the Non-Financial Reporting Directive Help? , Corporate and Finance Law Summer School, National College of Ireland, 14 August 2017, 2017, European Law Students Association Invited Talk, 2017

Nominee Directors, Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 and Divided Loyalties: A Story of Legal Lag, Herbert Smith Freehills, 20 October , 2016, Herbert Smith Freehills Invited Talk, 2016

Ahern, Deirdre, Realising the Leadership Potential of Women in Business: Are Quotas Really the Answer?, Graduate Women International Third Triennial, Cape Town Convention Centre, 24 August 2016, 2016 Meeting Abstract, 2016

Deirdre Ahern, Mandating Sustainability Reporting: The Non-Financial Reporting Directive as a Regulatory Tool to Enhance Corporate Engagement with the EU Sustainability Agenda, Constructing Regulatory, Reporting and Accreditation Tools for Corporate Social Respnsibility, Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin, 17 September 2015, 2015 Conference Paper, 2015 URL

Deirdre Ahern, Promoting Gender Diversity: Some Reflections on Listed Companies' Approach to Diversity in their Annual Reports, Women on Boards, Irish Women Lawyers' Association, Law Society Dublin, 10 December 2014, 2014 Conference Paper, 2014

Deirdre Ahern, The Commercial Court, Review of The Commercial Court, by Stephen Dowling , The Irish Jurist, 51, 2014, p211-212 Review, 2014

Management of a Company in, editor(s)A. Allcock , Gore-Browne on Companies, Bristol, Jordans, 2013, [Deirdre Ahern] Book Chapter, 2013

Directors - Appointment, Removal and Vacation of Office in, editor(s)A. Allcock , Gore-Browne on Companies, Bristol, Jordans, 2013, [Deirdre Ahern] Book Chapter, 2013

Deirdre Ahern, The Corporate Objective, International Company and Commercial Law Review, 23, (6), 2012, p221 - 222 Journal Article, 2012

Deirdre Ahern, Replacing 'Comply or Explain' with Legally Binding Corporate Governance Codes - An Appropriate Regulatory Response?, Regulation in an Age of Crisis, University College Dublin, 18 June 2010, 2010 Conference Paper, 2010

Ahern, Beware the Irish Commercial Agent, New Law Journal, 56, 2006, p620 - 620 Journal Article, 2006

Research Expertise

Description

My research interests are corporate law (with a special focus on directors' duties) and corporate governance. I have supervised postgraduate research on company charges, board diversity, corporate governance of state-owned enterprises and corporate rescue. I have built an academic reputation in the field of corporate law and governance, and more particularly, as a specialist on the law relating to the duties of directors. This has been achieved by means of a sustained track of programmatic research on the legal duties of directors which has resulted in a series of specialist high quality research outputs in excellent academic journals. My book, Directors' Duties: Law and Practice (Thomson Round Hall, 2009) made a significant contribution by filling a substantial gap in scholarship and understanding of the law in this area. Collaborative research undertaken on listed companies' engagement with diversity was sponsored by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation was innovative in how it examined impression management by companies in their annual reports concerning engagement with diversity. The findings of the multi-jurisdictional study were published in a working paper of the European Corporate Governance Institute. Current research work is focused on the challenges of measuring companies' commitment to corporate social responsibility as well as ongoing projects concerning the State's role in relation to ensuring gender balance in company leadership and a post-financial crisis review of directors' duties. I am also engaging with the regulation of the sharing economy, in particular FinTech.

Projects

  • Title
    • CSRxChange: Constructing Regulatory, Reporting and Accreditation Tools for Corpoate Social Responsibility
  • Summary
    • The Non-Financial Reporting Directive 2014/95/EU breaks new regulatory ground in requiring Member States to legislate by 6 December 2016 in relation to mandatory sustainability reporting for large companies using a 'comply or explain' model. Previously corporate social responsibility ("CSR") had been viewed as essentially voluntary by the EU for a long time and globally regulation has proved largely elusive. Nonetheless many companies have embraced CSR and have sought voluntary certification to show their engagement with sustainability. Transparent sustainability reporting provides material which enables stakeholders to engage with companies in relation to the adoption of socially responsible business practices in areas such as conditions of employment, environmental impact and human rights. Against this background, this project considers engagement with corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Ireland and reporting and regulatory challenges and pitfalls. Relevant themes to be explored will include sustainability and diversity as sound business practice, the role of voluntary accreditation schemes and appropriate sustainability reporting frameworks. The project will also focus on likely regulatory outcomes of implementation of the Directive in relation to corporate sustainability disclosures will also be examined from the perspectives of both regulator and affected companies.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 2015
  • Title
    • An Examination of the Shareholders' Right Directive
  • Summary
    • This project involved examining the legal and practical implications for Ireland of implementing the Shareholders' Rights Directive including issues such as proxy voting and the right of shareholders to ask questions.
  • Date From
    • September 2009
  • Date To
    • February 2010
  • Title
    • The Legal Duties of Nominee Directors
  • Summary
    • This project focused on examining how the conflict of duties of nominee directors, based on the expectation that a nominee director would further their appointer's interests rather than those of the company, can be legally resolved.
  • Date From
    • October 2009
  • Date To
    • December 2009

Keywords

BOARDS OF DIRECTORS; Business/Corporate Law; Comparative Company Law; Corporate Governance; FinTech Regulation; GENDER QUOTAS ON BOARDS

Recognition

Representations

Co-editor of the Irish Business Law Review 2015 -

Director of the Irish Corporate Law Forum http://www.iclf.ie/ 2010 to date

President of the Irish Association of Law Teachers 2011-2012

Secretary of the Irish Association of Law Teachers 2009 to November 2011

Member of the Steering Committee of the Trinity Consortium on Ageing 2007 to date

Member of the Quality Committeee, TCD From 2009

Member of the Law Society Business Law Committee 2006 to 2009

Member of the Law Reform Commission's Working Group on Vulnerable Adults and the Law 2005 to 2006

Member of the Research Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland's Faculty of Public Health Medicine 2006 to 2007

Awards and Honours

Directors' Duties: Law and Practice shortlisted for Kevin Boyle Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship 2011

Fellow, Trinity College Dublin 2012

Visiting Scholar, Duke University 2013

Herbert Smith Visitng Fellow, Faculty of Law, Cambridge University 2016

Highly Commended, Provost's Teaching Awards 2016

Memberships

Member of the Law Society of Ireland

Member of the Society of Legal Scholars 2006 to date

Member of the European Corporate Governance Institute