Céile Varley BL

  • Junior Counsel: 2019

LLM in International & Comparative Disability Law (NUIG); Adv. Dip in Planning and Environmental Law (King's Inns); Diploma in Legal Studies (King's Inns); Barrister-at-Law Degree (King's Inns)

Areas of Practice:
  • Administrative Law
  • Commercial/Chancery
  • Criminal
  • Family Law
  • General Common Law
  • General Practice
  • Judicial Review
  • Tort & Personal Injury Law
  • Children's Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Defamation
  • Disability Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Equality Law
  • European Law
  • Human Rights
  • Immigration & Asylum Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • Labour & Employment Law
  • Legislative Drafting
  • Mental Health
  • Public International Law
  • Social Welfare Law
  • Wards of Court & Capacity Law
Céile Varley BL

Other Memberships:
Employment Bar Association
EU Bar Association
Immigration, Asylum & Citizenship Bar Association
Planning, Environmental & Local Government Bar Association
Direct Professional Access:

Céile Varley is a practising barrister specialising in judicial review and EU law.

Céile practices primarily in the areas of general civil law (defamation, personal injuries and commercial) and public law (immigration and asylum, planning and environmental, and social welfare), equality and non-discrimination, employment, and family law (public and private). Céile accepts instructions in all areas of administrative law and general practice.

Céile holds an Advanced Diploma in Planning and Environmental Law from the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, and is pursuing an LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law from NUI Galway.

Céile lectures in Law of the European Union and International Human Rights Law at Griffith College Dublin.

Céile regularly appears before the High Court, Circuit Court and District Court in civil matters, and is regularly briefed to appear before a range of tribunals including the International Protection Appeals Tribunal, the Workplace Relations Commission, and the Residential Tenancies Board.

Céile represented the Cork Survivors and Supporters Alliance, a group of former residents of Bessborough Mother and Baby Institution, in their planning objection to a proposed development on the grounds of Bessborough, which included appearance before a hearing of the Joint Committee on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration to consider Pre-Legislative Scrutiny on Certain Institutional Burials (Authorised Interventions) Bill, as well as representation before a hearing of An Bord Pleanála. BBC, Bessborough: Second refusal for flats at mother and baby home (July 2021)

Céile appeared in a high profile challenge to the Final Report of the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation, instructed by KOD Lyons. Irish Times, Rights of eight mother and baby home survivors breached over report, State says (December 2021) 

Céile appeared instructed by FLAC in Leinster v Minister for Children, Ireland and the Attorney General, another high profile case involving the exclusion of Bethany Home and other Protestant institutions from various State inquiries and redress schemes. The Journal, Bethany Home survivor Derek Leinster lodges legal proceedings against Irish State (October 2021) 


Céile was a researcher for the Family Lawyer’s Association (FLA) Voice of the Child Project, which researched and reported on the operation of Article 41A.4.2°, alongside international best practice for hearing the voice of the child in litigation. The Report was presented at the FLA’s Annual Circuit Conference in Mullingar in October 2022.

In May 2022, Céile was selected by the European Union Bar Association (EUBA) to attend an ERA – Academy of European Law conference on ‘Litigating European Union Law‘, on the basis of a short paper she wrote concerning the EU’s Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism and the implications for EU democracy and human rights.

Céile was previously selected to attend the European Young Lawyer Contest 2020-21, where she carried out a research project regarding the ‘Operation of the European Arrest Warrant in Juvenile Justice’, with regard to the rights of children under EU Law, ECHR and international law.

In July 2021, Céile delivered a paper entitled: ‘Who’s the Boss? Tripartite Employment Relationships in Irish Law’ at the Employment Bar Association Symposium, examining categories of employment relationships, such as education, where the State determines pay and employment condition for a particular sector but does not exert day to day control over the employee.

In August 2020, Céile provided a Public Affairs briefing to Ervia regarding the legal and environmental policy implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in Friends of the Irish Environment v. Government of Ireland [2020] IESC 49, in the context of the ‘right to a healthy environment’.

Céile has regularly engaged in pro bono work through FLAC and PILA, providing pro bono services including legislative drafting, provision of legal advices on areas of national and international law, and representation in litigation.

Céile is on the pro-bono register of the Public Interest Law Alliance, and has contributed regularly to work involving survivors of former residential institutions, burial, disability, legacy and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, and historic legal wrongs.

From 2019 onwards, Céile has advised a group of survivors of Bessborough Mother and Baby Institution, as part of a significant research and advisory project requiring an international & comparative review of burial legislation, human rights around burial and access to family graves/remains, right to the truth/ right to know the location of deceased loved ones, constitutional law, and international human rights law. Arising from this research, Céile prepared legal submissions for the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation, and various Oireachtas committees, including submissions for pre-legislative scrutiny.

In 2020, Céile was engaged by PILA to prepare draft legislation for submission on the review of Part 4 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017. Céile carried out a comparative review of human trafficking legislation and international models involving criminalisation or legalisation of the purchase of sex, and advised on the compatibility of various proposals with constitutional and human rights law. Céile also drafted an application to intervene before the ECtHR in a case involving a challenge to French laws criminalising the purchase of sex.

In 2021, Céile was engaged by PILA alongside Mr Michael Lynn SC to prepare a legal opinion on a proposed truth and reconciliation mechanism for Northern Ireland, specifically considering the compatibility of the proposal with Article 2 & 3 ECHR, EU Law, and with International Human Rights Law more generally. In November 2021, the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life hosted a public forum to discuss this legal opinion, chaired by the Hon Mr Justice Richard Humphreys. Link

Céile volunteers monthly with the FLAC family law clinic.

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • Immigration, Asylum and Citizenship Bar Association
  • European Union Bar Association
  • Planning, Environmental and Local Government Bar Association
  • Employment Bar Association
  • Climate Bar Association
  • Family Lawyers Association

Contact Form

This form is made available to solicitors & in-house counsel for professional purposes only, and to members of Approved Bodies for the purposes of Direct Professional Access


087-629 0241
Law Library Four Courts Dublin 7
@Céile Varley

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