Chairs Conference 2021: Human Rights: Universal Rights? Home and Abroad

09 June 2021

  • Conference will tackle issues such as Brexit’s impact on the rule of law on the island of Ireland, as well as the power and relationship of the courts in upholding human rights in Ireland
  • A dedicated session will also celebrate the centenary of the first female members of The Bar of Ireland, with former Supreme Court judges from UK, Canada and Ireland.
  • National and international perspectives from Irish, UK and Canadian legal practitioners, academic and policy makers

Date: The Bar of Ireland’s Chair’s Conference, ‘Home and Abroad. Human Rights: Universal Rights?’, takes place from 16th to 18th June. Taking place online, the Conference will hear from national and international experts and experiences.

It will provide the opportunity for practitioners and the public alike to discuss and explore one of the most defining issues impacting on legal systems and democratic institutions – The rule of law and the protection of human rights against emerging political and societal forces.

The Conference will take place over three evenings, with the following themes for discussion:

  • 16th June: Promoting Human Rights & The Rule of Law in Ireland
  • 17th June: International Tides: Rule of Law Overseas
  • 18th June: Commemorating the Centenary of the First Female Members of the profession
The Conference will hear from eight speakers over the course of three days. These include
  • Chief Justice Frank Clarke
  • Justice Donal O’Donnell, Supreme Court
  • Paul Gallagher SC, Attorney General
  • Baroness Hale
  • Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
  • Justice Rosalie Abella, Canadian Supreme Court
Additional speakers include:
  • The Rt. Hon. Sir Declan Morgan, Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland – The challenge of Brexit on the rule of law in Ireland
  • Michael. P. O’Higgins SC and former Chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland – The power of the Irish Courts and the ability strike down legislation and protect human rights
  • Prof. in Criminology Maynooth University, Claire Hamilton – The impact of DPP v JC on Ireland’s justice system and the submission of evidence by State officers

Chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland, Maura McNally SC said:

The politicisation of human rights is increasingly evident; both here at home, across the EU and beyond.

The aim of this year’s conference is to focus on how the courts play a role in defending such rights and examine the power of that role.  Brexit can be a prism to assess some of these issues, and we look forward to examining that in detail on the 17th.

Diversity and inclusion in the law is fundamental for fair and inclusive justice and resolve across all sectors of society. I am delighted that this year’s Conference will pay homage to the women who have and continue to pave the way in this regard. I am very much looking forward to being joined by female change makers in the Supreme Courts of Ireland, the UK and Canada as we commemorate the centenary of the first female members of The Bar of Ireland.

This year’s Conference is open to the public, and free to attend. It will be of interest to citizens, NGOs as well as policy makers and academics