The General Council of The Bar of Ireland 2023 – 2024
Chair of The Council of the Bar of Ireland
Sara Phelan, SC, Member of the Inner Bar.
Sara Phelan SC continues to Chair the Council from 11 September 2023 – 10 September 2024, following her re-election in July 2023.
A Kilkenny native, Sara was called to the Bar in 1996, having previously qualified and practised as a pharmacist for a number of years, qualifying from Trinity College Dublin (1988). Sara was appointed Senior Counsel and called to the Inner Bar in 2013. A qualified mediator and arbitrator, Sara was admitted to the Bar of England & Wales in 2019 and is a member of Middle Temple.
Inner Bar Panel
- Sara Phelan SC – Chair
- Seán Ó hUallacháin SC – Vice Chair
- Denise Brett SC
- Michael F Collins SC
- Seán Guerin SC
- Timothy Harley SC
- Brendan Kirwan SC
- Darren Lehane SC
- Ronan Munro SC
- Cathy Smith SC
- Ross Fanning SC – Attorney General
Outer Bar Panel
Permanent Committees of the Council of The Bar of Ireland
The following Permanent Committees are provided for under the Constitution of the Council of the Bar of Ireland, and reflect central priorities and activities of the Law Library., and the delivery of services to our members.
Co-options for the following Committees will be confirmed before the commencement of the Michaelmas Term 2023.
This committee comprises of the chairs of the permanent committees, Chairman and Vice-chair, and Treasurer. The business of the Standing Committee shall be to consider, and if necessary determine, all such matters within the competence of the Council as may be of an extremely urgent nature and require such determination between meetings of the Council.
The Library Committee deals with all matters relating to admission to the Law Library, and membership
thereof, including matters relating to the acquisition and maintenance of the materials, whether in look or electronic form, necessary within the Library for the profession.
Samantha de Paor is Secretary.
Professional Practices Committee
This Committee monitors all matters concerning the proper professional practice of members of the Law Library and may investigate and, if thought fit, prefer and present a complaint against any member without the necessity of having the matter referred to it by any third party.
Brian O’Driscoll is Secretary to this Committee.
This Committee deals with all matters relating to the finances of the Council and its associate companies for the maintenance and development of the Law Library, Council properties, and IT infrastructure.
Colin Potts is Secretary to this Committee.
Education & Training Committee
The Education & Training Committee oversees training for new entrants (including master/devil relationships) and CPD for the membership at large, including ensuring that the profession’s CPD requirements are met, and supports to barristers in practice are in place in light of the longer-term implications of regulation under the LSRA.
Stephen Swanton is Secretary to this Committee.
Public Affairs Committee
The Public Affairs Committee assists in the promotion of members establishes and maintains appropriate links with all regional and Specialist Bar Associations, the Voluntary Assistance Scheme (VAS), and Irish Rule of Law International (IRLI), and fosters relations and communications between the Council and outside bodies.
Cormac O’Culain is Secretary to this Committee.
Young Bar Committee
The Young Bar Committee provides a forum for Young Bar members, and co-ordinates initiatives directed at the needs of practitioners who practise in Years 1-7, as well as contributing to wider Bar priorities.
Cormac O’Culain is Secretary to this Committee
Chair: Declan Harmon BL
Election for Year Representatives will commence in Michaelmas 2023.
Circuit Liaison Committee
The Circuit Liaison Committee provides a forum for practitioners to address matters that arise for members practising on Circuit, as well as maintaining close library and professional development connections.
Lindsay Bond is Secretary to this committee.
Non-Permanent Committees of the Council of The Bar of Ireland
The following Non-Permanent Committees reflect the continuing priorities and activities of the Law Library and the delivery of services to our members.
This Committee raises awareness of ADR practices among practitioners and the wider public through
partnerships with relevant stakeholders, a programme of education, and its inclusion in wider Bar debates.
Chair: Cathy Smith SC
This Committee monitors trends and developments within the criminal Bar, liaising with key justice stakeholders on issues of concern, including the Department of Justice and Equality, the Office of the DPP, and others.
Chair: Seán Guerin SC
Civil State Bar
This Committee engages with State agencies on whose behalf members are routinely briefed including the Attorney General, Chief State Solicitor’s Office, the Legal Aid Board, and the State Claims Agency.
Chair: Deirdre Browne BL
Equality and Resilience Committee
Oversees the development and implementation of initiatives that promote equality and diversity at the Bar, ensuring where possible that a member’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or discrimination.
Chair: Tracey Ennis Faherty BL
Human Rights Committee
This Committee works to promote justice and respect for human rights through the rule of law. It monitors human rights issues, in particular those involving lawyers who are endangered, and engages with various human rights groups.