Current Judges of the Supreme Court

The Hon. Mr. Justice John L. Murray
The Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Hardiman
The Hon. Mr. Justice Donal O'Donnell
The Hon. Mr. Justice William McKechnie
The Hon. Mr. Justice Frank Clarke 
The Hon. Mr. Justice John Mac Menamin 

The Hon. Ms. Justice Mary Laffoy

The Hon. Ms. Justice Elizabeth Dunne

 

 Ex officio:
 The President of the High Court, The Hon. Mr. Justice Nicholas J. Kearns

Murray J 2014

    

The Hon. Mr. Justice John L. Murray

The Hon. Mr. Justice John L. Murray was born in 1943 in Limerick, Ireland. He is married (1969) to Gabrielle Walsh (two children Catríona and Brian).

He was the Chief Justice of Ireland from 2004–2011, having been a member of the Supreme Court since 1999.  Since his term of office as Chief Justice expired on 22 July 2011 he is now the senior ordinary judge on the Supreme Court. 

Prior to that he was a member of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (Luxembourg) from 1991–1999.  In 1967 he was admitted to practice at the Bar of Ireland. In 1981 he was called to the Inner Bar.  He was Attorney General of Ireland from August–December 1982 and again from 1987–1991.
He was educated at Crescent College, Rockwell College, University College Dublin and the King’s Inns. At University he was active in student affairs and was twice elected President of the Union of Students of Ireland (U.S.I.).

He is a Member of the Council of State and Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Panel of Experts on Candidates for election as Judge to the European Court of Human Rights.  He is also a Bencher of the Honorable Society of the King's Inns.

Former Positions:
Visiting Professor of Law, Université de Louvain;
Chairperson of the Anti-Fraud Committee of the European Central Bank;
Chairperson of the Ad hoc Ethical Committee of the European Commission;
Vice President First Commission International Association of Judges.

 1967:     Called to the Bar of Ireland
 1981:       Called to the Inner Bar
 1982:     Attorney General of Ireland (August-December)
 1982 - 1987:     Private practice at the Bar of Ireland
 1987 - 1991:     Attorney General of Ireland
 1991 - 1999:     Judge of the Court of Justice of the European Communities
 1994 - 2002:     Visiting Lecturer, Georgetown University School of Law, Washington D.C.
 1997 - 2000:     Visiting Professor at the Université de Louvain.
 1998:     Guest lecturer at Human Rights Summer School, Aix en Provence, France
 1999:     Judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland
 2000 - 2003:     Chairperson, Anti-Fraud Committee of the European Central Bank
 2004 - 2007:     Chairperson, Ad hoc Ethical Committee of the European Commission
 2004 - 2011:     Chief Justice of Ireland
 2011:     Senior Ordinary Judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland

He has delivered papers or lectures at, inter alia, University College Dublin; Georgetown University Law School, Washington, U.S.A.;  Princeton University, U.S.A; Marangopoulos Foundation for Human Rights, Athens; European Competition Law Forum, Belfast; University of Aix en Provence; Fordham University, New York; the Cypriot Association for European Law, Nicosia; International Bio-ethics Conference, 1999, Athens; the United Kingdom Association for European Law; Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, U.S.A.; New England Law School, Mass., U.S.A., and the European Court of Human Rights; as well as at international conferences.  Most recently he participated at the invitation of the American Inns of Court as a symposium panel member with Justice Breyer (United States Supreme Court) and Lord Phillips (President, United Kingdom Supreme Court) in Washington D.C.

Honours: 

Order of Merit, Grand Cross (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) (1999)
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, University of Limerick (1993)
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, New England School of Law, Mass., U.S.A. (2006)

 


Hardiman J 2014

    

The Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Hardiman

Mr. Justice Adrian Hardiman was born in Dublin and educated at Belvedere College, University College Dublin (where he graduated in history) and the King's Inns. He was called to the Bar in 1974 and practised as a barrister for the next 26 years, taking Silk in 1989. He enjoyed an interesting career in Court and Tribunal, appearing in many of the leading cases of the day. He used to write and broadcast regularly on legal and political topics.

Withdrawn from all vivid and controversial scenes since 2000, when he was appointed to the Supreme Court, his recent and forthcoming publications include: "The Role of the Supreme Court in our Democracy" in Political choice and Democratic Freedom in Ireland (Mulholland, 2004); "Native and foreign judges and laws in Ireland: a post-colonial reflection" in (Sarkin and Binchy eds), The Administration of Justice: Current Themes in Comparative Perspective (Four Courts Press, 2004); "Socio-economic Litigation and the Separation of Powers" in The Commonwealth Lawyer, Volume 14, No. 3 (December 2005); "The Trial of Robert Emmet" in History Ireland, Vol. 13, no. 4 (July/August 2005); "A Gruesome Case: James Joyce's Dublin Murder" in (Larkin and Kissane eds) Librarians Poets and Scholars: a festschrift for Dónall Ó Luanaigh (Dublin, National Library of Ireland Association, forthcoming, 2007); "Shot in Cold Blood: Military Law and Irish Perceptions in the suppression of the 1916 Rebellion" in (Doherty and Keogh eds) The Long Revolution: the 1916 Rising in context (Mercier, Cork, 2007); "Law Crime and Punishment in Bloomsday Dublin" (Irish Legal History Society, forthcoming, 2007).

Mr. Justice Hardiman is a Bencher of the King's Inns, a Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple, London, and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy.

 


O'Donnell J 2014

    

The Hon. Mr. Justice Donal O'Donnell

Mr. Justice Donal O'Donnell was born in Belfast and educated at St Mary's C.B.S. , University College Dublin (B.C.L.), King's Inns (B.L.) and the University of Virginia (LL.M).

He was called to the Irish Bar in 1982, commenced practice in 1983 and was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1989.  He took silk in 1995 and has practised in all Courts in Ireland, in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). While at the Bar he published articles in the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly (NILQ), Judicial Studies Institute Journal (JSIJ), and Bar Review.

His father, Lord Justice Turlough O'Donnell, was a member of the Northern Ireland High Court and the Court of Appeal between 1971 and 1990 and subsequently became a part-time member of the Irish Law Reform Commission. Donal O'Donnell has been a member of the Law Reform Commission since 2005.

He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy Committee on the Origins of the Constitution.  He became a Bencher of the Kings Inns in 2009 and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2010.


McKechnie J 2014

    

The Hon. Mr. Justice William M. McKechnie

Mr. Justice McKechnie, who was born in 1951, was educated at Presentation Brothers College, University College Cork, from which he graduated in 1971, University College Dublin and King’s Inns, Dublin.

He was called to the Bar in 1972 and admitted to the Inner Bar in 1987. As a Barrister he practised in the area of commercial, chancery and local authority law, and had a special interest in medical negligence.

He held a number of senior positions in the Bar Council of Ireland for several years and was elected Chairman in 1999 and re-elected in 2000.

He was appointed a High Court Judge in 2000 and took charge of the competition list in 2004. As such he presided over all competition cases both civil and criminal. He made the first Declaration of Incompatibility under the European Convention on Human Rights Act, 2003, in the Transgender case of Foy –v- An t-Ard Chláraitheoir. 

Mr. Justice McKechnie was Chairman of the Valuation Tribunal from 1995 to 2000 and since 2002 has been the Chair of the Editorial Board of the Judicial Studies Institute Journal. He has been a member of the Courts Service Board and also of the Rules Making Committee

He was appointed to the Supreme Court in June 2010.

In 2010 he was elected President of the Association of European Competition Law Judges, which represents each of the 27 Member States of the European Union, as well as Judges from the Court of Justice and the General Court of the European Union and from the EFTA Court. He is the third President of the Association, following Sir Christopher Bellamy and Dr. Joachim Bornkamm.

He has written several papers, participated in and presided over many conferences and delivered the 4th Annual CCJHR Lecture at UCC on the 4th March 2010. He holds a Masters Degree in European Law.

He is a Bencher of the Honourable Society of King’s Inns.


Clarke J 2014 

    

The Hon. Mr. Justice Frank Clarke

Mr. Justice Frank Clarke was born in Walkinstown, Dublin in October, 1951. He was educated at Drimnagh Castle CBS and University College Dublin where he was awarded a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics (1972). Having completed his legal studies at King's Inns he was called to the Bar in 1973. He practised at the Bar from then until his appointment to the High Court in November 2004. He had become a senior counsel in 1985.

During his time at the Bar he practised mainly in the commercial and public law fields (including constitutional law). He was twice appointed by the Supreme Court as counsel to present argument on references of Bills to the Supreme Court by the President under Article 26 of the Constitution. He also acted as counsel to the Public Accounts Committee on its inquiry into the DIRT tax issue and was external counsel to the Commission to Inquiry into Child Abuse (Laffoy and Ryan Commissions).

While at the Bar Mr. Justice Clarke served for many years on the Bar Council including a term of two years (1993-1995) as its Chair. He also served as Chair of the Council of King's Inns from 1999 until 2004. He was a member of the Council of the International Bar Association from 1997 to 2004, serving as co-Chair of the Forum for Barristers and Advocates (the international representative body for the independent referral bars) from 1998 to 2002. He was elected as an honorary member of the Canadian Bar Association in 1994 and admitted as an honorary member of the Australian Bar Association in 2002. He has been a Bencher of the Honourable Society of the King's Inns since 1995.

In the academic field Mr. Justice Clarke was a professor at King's Inns from 1978 to 1985 and has been Judge in Residence at Griffith College Dublin from 2010 to date. Mr. Justice Clarke was appointed Adjunct Professor in the Law School in Trinity College, Dublin in September 2012. Mr. Justice Clarke has been invited to speak at many international conferences, some recent examples being the Annual Conference of the International Association of Insolvency Regulators on the topic of the Irish Examinership model (September 2010); the International Bar Association Conference on the topic of the Comparative Experience of Commercial Courts in Common law and Civil law jurisdictions (October 2011); and the Hawkamah Judicial Colloquium on Reform of Corporate Insolvency Law in the Middle East North Africa Region (MENA) in Dubai in December 2011. He has served on the board of the Irish Law Reports Monthly and is the nominee to represent the Chief Justice on the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for Ireland.

While a judge of the High Court Mr. Justice Clarke served as Chair of the Referendum Commission in relation to the Second Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. He was mainly assigned to the Commercial List of the High Court although also involved as the judge presiding over the establishment of a Chancery and Non-Jury List for the first time in Cork.

Mr. Justice Clarke was appointed to the Supreme Court in March 2012.


Mac Menamin J 2014   

 

The Hon. Mr. Justice John Mac Menamin

Mr. Justice John Mac Menamin was born in 1952 in Dublin. He was educated in Terenure College and thereafter University College Dublin where he obtained an Honours degree in History in 1973. As a student he was a Council member of Free Legal Advice Centres, and was involved in running a centre in Ballyfermot. He qualified as a barrister in Kings Inns 1975 and was called to the Bar that year. He was called to the Inner Bar in 1991 and engaged in general practice specialising in Judicial Review work. He appeared and acted for a number clients before the Flood/Mahon Tribunal and acted for the Department of Health and members of the then Cabinet including the Taoiseach before the Ryan Tribunal. He was legal assessor to the Fitness to Practice Committee of the Medical Council for ten years. Having served on the Bar Council for four terms, he was elected Chairman, serving from 1997 to 1999. He was a director of the VHI from 1995 to 1997. Since his appointment to the bench in 2004 he has dealt primarily with judicial review matters. He was appointed a member of the Special Criminal Court in 2009. Since his appointment he has decided a number of cases with a human rights dimension, addressing issues as to the rights of asylum seekers, children in need of special care, treatment of prisoners, and unmarried fathers. He has published a number of papers and contributed to seminars especially with regard to family law and the law of children. He was in charge of the High Court Minors list for three years. He is Ireland’s representative on the CCJE, the Consultative Council of European Judges an advisory committee to the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe. He is married to Lia O’Hegarty, formerly Legal Adviser to the Oireachtas, and now a consultant on legal and environmental issues. They have one child, and live in Dublin.

 

 


Laffoy J 2014

  

The Hon. Ms. Justice Mary Laffoy

Ms. Justice Laffoy graduated from University College Dublin with a B.A. degree in 1968.  Subsequently, between 1968 and 1971 she studied law at University College Dublin and at the Honorable Society of King's Inns in Dublin.  She was called to the Bar in July 1971.

Ms. Justice Laffoy practised as a barrister from the Michaelmas term in 1971 until her appointment to the High Court.  She was admitted to the Inner Bar in the Michaelmas term of 1987.

Ms. Justice Laffoy was appointed a Judge of the High Court in April 1995.  While on the High Court Bench, she was primarily involved in civil litigation, principally in the area of chancery law.

Ms. Justice Laffoy was appointed to the Supreme Court in October 2013.

Dunne J 2014

 

The Hon. Ms. Justice Elizabeth Dunne

Ms. Justice Dunne was appointed to the Supreme Court in October 2013.

Kearns J 2014

    

President of the High Court

The Hon. Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns

Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns was born in Dublin in 1946. He was educated in St. Mary's College in Rathmines, Dublin, University College Dublin, and the King's Inns. Judge Kearns was called to the Bar in 1968 and to the English Bar in 1980. He was made a Senior Counsel in 1982.

He was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 1998 and was appointed to the Supreme Court in November 2004. In the High Court Judge Kearns was designated as the judge with responsibility for dealing with competition law matters. While in the High Court he also dealt with cases across a wide range of topics, including defamation, judicial review and personal injuries.

He is a co-founder of the Association of European Competition Law Judges (AECLJ) which was established in 2000 to ensure judicial co-operation between EU national courts in implementing competition law and was instrumental in drafting new rules for competition proceedings in Ireland. In 2001 he sat as a substitute/alternate judge in the European Court of Human Rights. In 2004 he chaired the Referendum Commission in the referendum on citizenship. In 2005 he was appointed to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.  He was made a bencher of Middle Temple in London in October, 2006.

In October 2009 he was appointed as President of the High Court.