Irish Law Updates

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Bord Snip and the Legal System

Colin Scott has a useful blog post on An Bord Snip's proposals regarding the legal system here.
Join in the lively discussion in the comments section.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Frozen Embryos in the High Court

In November 2006 McGovern J. ruled in the High Court that Ireland's constitutional protection of "the unborn" does not include embryos outside the womb.

The full decision is now available on BAILII:
M.R. v T.R. and Others [2006] IEHC 359 (15 November 2006)

The earlier High Court case was
M.R. v T.R. [2006] IEHC 221 (18 July 2006)

Sample News Story:
Legislation prospect after embryo ruling


"The Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney, has said she had already instructed her Department to begin preparing for legislation in the area of assisted reproduction.

Ms Harney's statement followed a High Court judgment rejecting the case of a woman seeking to have three frozen embryos released to her against the wishes of her estranged husband.

The woman argued that the embryos had a right to life under the Constitution, but the High Court ruled that the protection of the unborn does not include embryos outside the womb.


However, today the High Court concluded that the three frozen embryos are not unborn within the meaning of the Constitution.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern said that it had never been in the minds of people voting on the 1983 Constitutional Amendments on Article 40.3.3 that the unborn meant anything other than the foetus in the womb.

The judge also said it was not possible for the court to decide when unborn life begins - that was not necessary to resolve the issues in this case."

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Transgender Law - Lydia Foy in High Court

As many people will know, the High Court has decided in the Lydia Foy case that it will issue the first declaration of incompatibilty of an Irish law with the European Convention on Human Rights. [update April 2008 - The full judgment is available on the Courts Service website at ]

Sample news stories and blog posts:

"State in breach of ECHR in transgender case

The High Court has ruled that the State is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) over its failure to recognise a sex change that a transgendered person underwent more than a decade ago. "

Sex change law incompatible with ECHR:

The Foy Case (CCJHR Blog - Fiona De Londras):

Tanya N� Mhuirthile, Time to respect the rights of all gender identities, Irish Times:

Previous Lydia Foy case:

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Irish Law RSS Feeds

For those who are fans of RSS feeds I've added two new feeds to the Irish Law Site cases page:

  • The IRLII Lastest Irish Cases RSS News Feed
    This feed has been on the IRLII site for quite a while now (about a year?) and is maintained by my colleague John Mee with the assistance of Micheal O'Dowd.

  • The Judgments RSS News Feed
    This is an experimental feed I created using (update 5 October: the feed now uses Unfortunately the headlines consist of the dates of judgments rather than titles, but at least when new judgments are posted on the site they'll show up in your feed reader.

A reminder of two other RSS feeds which we already have:

If you haven't heard of RSS feeds, a brief outline of how they work is available here.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mahon Tribunal Case 4 July 2007

Yesterday's Mahon Tribunal case in the Supreme Court is available on the Courts Service website at

The title is
Fitzwilton Limited and Others -v- Judge Alan Mahon and Others [2007] IESC 27

A brief extract from paragraph 14 of Denham J's judgment:

'I also note the words of the next paragraph. These are:- "The Tribunal may decide to continue its inquiries and/or proceed to public hearing in respect of one or more issues which are currently part of a matter designated and listed herein." The words "The Tribunal may decide" is not a record that a decision has been made. The words are not "The Tribunal has decided". Rather, the words, "The Tribunal may decide", indicate that a decision may be taken in the future by the Tribunal. It is clear that the Tribunal has considered the listed matters. This is the first step required by the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The second step the Tribunal was required to take was to make a decision as to the additional matters which should proceed to public hearing. The words in the document "� may decide to continue its inquiries and/or proceed to public hearing in respect of one or more issues � listed herein" indicate that the Tribunal reserved its decision to a future date, which may be a reference to the discretion conferred by paragraph J(6). The words "may decide", indicate an action in the future.
This is confirmed by the words stating that the Tribunal may do either of two things. The specific words: "and/or proceed to public hearing", describe a situation where the matters are under consideration not decision.
The third step is to record the decision. On its face the document of the 28th April, 2005, does not record a decision that specified additional matters go to a public hearing.'

Sample media coverage:

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