News and Events

Legal Experts to Discuss Implications of Brexit on Criminal Law at UCC

12 Mar 2019
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

On March 21, Supreme Court judge, The Hon. Mr Justice McKechnie, will chair a seminar exploring the future of judicial cooperation between Britain and Ireland following Brexit.

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A seminar discussing the implications of Brexit for the criminal law will take place at UCC on March 21.

Chaired by Mr Honourable Justice McKechnie of the Supreme Court, experts from the Centre of Criminal Justice and Human Rights (CCJHR) at University College Cork will be joined by Dr Andrea Ryan of the University of Limerick to discuss the impact of Brexit on this underexplored yet crucial area of law.

Over the past two decades the European Union has been increasingly active in legislating on criminal law matters. One of the main areas of its activity has been the development of a suite of judicial cooperation instruments, including the European Arrest Warrant Framework Decision (EAW FD) and the European Investigation Order.

The UK has participated extensively in these instruments, some of which form the basis for cross-border judicial and police cooperation between the UK and Ireland.

Brexit calls this structure of judicial cooperation in criminal matters into question and while the Political Declaration on the Future Relationship promises ‘comprehensive, close, balanced and reciprocal law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters’, the exact contours of future EU-UK cooperation remain undefined.

This is a particularly important issue for Ireland as the European Arrest Warrant Framework Decision replaced the international treaty that previously governed extradition matters between the UK and Ireland with an EU law instrument resulting in a much speedier and automatic process for surrender.

In 2017 over half of surrenders made by Ireland under the EAW FD were to the United Kingdom and almost 80% of EAWs issued by this State were requests to the UK.

This extremely effective system of ensuring justice across borders is now being called into question with the UK’s imminent withdrawal from the European Union.

Furthermore, while important, the EAW is only one area of judicial and police cooperation, others include the European Evidence Warrant/European Investigation Order and will similarly have to be rethought in light of Brexit.

This event organised by the Centre of Criminal Justice and Human Rights will discuss the impact of Brexit on this key area, in particular on the operation of the EAW, the EIO and other cross-border instruments.


The Hon. Mr Justice McKechnie has served as a judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland since March 2010. He previously served as Judge of the High Court from 2000 to 2010.

He was educated at Presentation Brothers College, Cork, University College Cork and King's Inns. He was called to the bar in 1972 and became a Senior Counsel in 1987.

Mr Justice McKechnie was elected chairman of the Bar Council in 1999, and was appointed as a Judge of the High Court in 2000. He holds a Master's degree in European law and presided over competition matters in the High Court.



Time and Date: 18:00-20:00, 21 March 2019

Venue: Western Gateway Building, Room: G_08 (click here for directions).

For CPD points please register here.



  • Dr Stephen Coutts is an expert in the constitutional dimension of EU criminal law, including substantive criminal law, mutual recognition and fundamental rights. His mongraph ‘Crime, Citizenship and Community in the European Union’ is to be published by Hart in April 2019.
  • Professor Caroline Fennell is a leading expert on Irish criminal law. She is the author of ‘Law of Evidence in Ireland’, the leading text in the field and has published widely on the law of evidence, terrorism and organised crime.
  • Dr Andrea Ryan is a world leader on evidence gathering and use in the context of Europe’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. She is the author of ‘Towards a System of European Criminal Justice: the Problem of Admissibility of Evidence’ amongst other publications and is Ireland’s representative for the European Criminal Law Network.

School of Law

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