Distinguished Speaker Series

The TCLR prides itself on promoting legal discourse by means of its Distinguished Speaker Series. The series began in 2006 and has seen countless legal experts speak in Trinity College on a range of topical issues.

Volume XXVI

Perspectives on the Academy and the Judiciary

Lord Andrew Burrows

Lord Burrows has made an immense contribution to the area of private law both as an academic and now as a Supreme Court judge. He was the first academic to be appointed to the UK Supreme Court directly from academia while previously serving as a Law Commissioner for England and Wales and President of the Society of Legal Scholars. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and has written many books and articles especially on contract, tort, unjust enrichment, and statute law. He was formerly Professor of the Law of England at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College.

Professor Aileen Kavanagh

Aileen Kavanagh is Professor of Constitutional Governance at Trinity College Dublin and Director of TriCON, the Trinity Centre for Constitutional Governance.  Formerly Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Oxford, Aileen Kavanagh has written widely on comparative constitutional law, human rights and constitutional theory. Her most recent book, The Collaborative Constitution, considers the interactions between the branches of government in a fresh light.

State Responses to Historical Child Protection Concerns

Professor Conor O'Mahony

Professor O’Mahony is currently a full-time professor in the School of Law in University College Cork. His research interests lie primarily in constitutional and child law with a particular interest in family and children’s rights. Professor O’Mahony is highly regarded in these fields recurrently delivering expert testimony to Oireachtas Committees as well as the Constitutional Convention and Citizen’s Assembly.

Professor O’Mahony has further engaged in a number of high-profile and novel projects such as ‘Child Care Proceedings in the District’, ‘IDEA: Improving Decisions for children through Empowerment and Advocacy’ and the ‘Voluntary Care in Ireland Study’ which was one the first empirical investigations internationally of the protection of the rights of children and parents in voluntary care agreements. In 2019 Professor O’Mahony was appointed by the Irish government as Special Rapporteur for Child Protection for a three year term. Over the course of his term he published a range of reports notably one on illegal birth registration which highlighted both State awareness and inaction in this area. He is also the Director of the Child Law Clinic in UCC through which he works to support litigation concerning children and advocate for law reform in related areas.

Housing & Home: Concepts and Law

Professor Lorna Fox-O'Mahony

Professor Lorna Fox O’Mahony is a Professor of Law at Essex Law School and is internationally recognised for her policy-oriented, socio-legal and theoretical analyses of a range of property issues. Her work on the development of a legal concept of home is often cited as laying the foundations for new approaches to the idea of home in law, including giving content to rights to housing and home. Her book, ‘Conceptualising Home: Theories, Laws and Policies’ (2006, Hart Publishing), was awarded First Prize in the Society of Legal Scholars Birks Prizes for Outstanding Legal Scholarship (2007) and short-listed for the Socio-Legal Studies Association Book Prize (2008). Her latest book, Squatting and the State: Resilient Property in an Age of Crisis (2022, Cambridge University Press, with M Roark) develops a new theory and methodology for responding to critical property problems. Lorna is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a former President of the Association of Law, Property and Society, an Affiliate Research Professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and a global affiliate of the Vulnerability and the Human Condition initiative based at Emory University, USA.

Dr Jessie Hohmann

Jessie Hohmann is Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney (‘UTS’) and is an internationally recognised expert on the right to housing in international law. Her work has been explicitly concerned with the capacity of rights to housing to alleviate human misery, marginalisation, and deprivation.  She regularly works with NGOs in advancing the right to housing through UN human rights monitoring and in domestic policy reform. Her research also engages with the material culture, objects and materiality of international law, and with Indigenous Peoples and international law. Jessie's 2013 monograph The Right to Housing: Law, Concepts, Possibilities (Hart) was shortlisted for the Society of Legal Scholars Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship. Before joining UTS, she was Senior Lecturer in Law at Queen Mary, University of London (2012-2019) and held a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Cambridge (2009-2012).

Volume XXV

Policing Language: Language Use and Law

Dr Gearóidín McEvoy

Dr Gearóidín McEvoy is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow with Birmingham Law School at the University of Birmingham. Her current research looks at legal recognition of sign languages in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Finland, with the aim of developing a roadmap for future sign language legislation around the world.

Gearóidín completed her PhD at Dublin City University’s School of Law and Government in 2021 on the right to a fair trial for minority language users. Her research looked at the lived experiences of Irish-speakers and Deaf people who used Irish Sign Language in Ireland when interacting with the criminal justice system.

Gearóidín has a background in translation and legal translation and has worked as an Irish language teacher for the University of Montana and the Law Society of Ireland. From 2017- 2021 she co-hosted the popular podcast Motherfoclóir, focusing on words, Irish, Irish words and words from Ireland.

Volume XXIV

The U.S. Electoral College: A Guide for the Perplexed

Professor David Williams

David C. Williams graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where he served on the Board of Editors for the Harvard Law Review. He is a popular lecturer on Native American people and on the Second Amendment. Winner of the Wallace Teaching Award and the Leonard D. Fromm Public Interest Faculty Award, Williams teaches constitutional law and Native American law. Williams has taught at the University of Paris and lectured around the world. He was a member of the faculty of law at the University of Cambridge and a fellow at that university's Wolfson College. He was also a fellow at the European University Institute in Fiesole.

A noted constitutional law scholar, Williams has written widely on constitutional design, Native American law, the constitutional treatment of difference, and the relationship between constitutionalism and political violence. He is the author of The Mythic Meanings of the Second Amendment: Taming Political Violence in a Constitutional Republic (Yale University Press, 2003). He is also co-editor and primary author of Designing Federalism in Burma (UNLD Press 2005), which is widely read in the Burma democracy movement.

As Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Democracy, Williams consults with a number of reform movements abroad. He advises many elements of the Burma democracy movement on the constitutional future of that country. He is a consultant to the government of Liberia on its constitutional revision process and has helped to write Liberia's law reform and anti-corruption statutes. He is also the primary author of the first treatise on the meaning of the Liberian constitution (forthcoming). More recently, he has become a constitutional advisor to the Democratic Party of Vietnam to help the party find ways to work with the government of Vietnam for peaceful reform.

Volume XXIII

Fighting for Privacy Rights in the Age of Social Media

Max Schrems

Max Schrems is one of the foremost public faces in the global fight for privacy. In June 2013, the Snowden leaks revealed that Facebook user data was being harvested by the NSA as part of a mass-surveillance campaign. Acting on foot of this, Schrems lodged his 23rd complaint in the Irish High Court against the Safe Harbour Protection - the instrument being used to facilitate the mass transfer of data between the EU and US. This case was soon referred to the European Court of Justice and in September 2015, the ECJ struck down the Safe Harbour Protection. Schrems recently took a case against the new agreement negotiated between the US an EU, 'the Privacy Shield.' The argument for this was heard at the ECJ in July 2019, and at the time of writing, a final judgment is expected in early 2020. 

David Carroll

David Carroll is a professor at the Parsons School of Design in New York, who famously took the first case against Cambridge Analytica in the world, transforming the data collection firm into a household name. Mr Carroll's case was recently featured in the Netflix award-winning documentary 'The Great Hack.' David Carroll's efforts in the fight for data privacy have been instrumental in educating the world at large about information protection and third party surveillance, he still continues that fight today. 

Ravi Naik

David Carroll was assisted in his pursuit against Cambridge Analytica by his solicitor, Ravi Naik. Mr Naik filed Mr Carroll’s claim in the UK and with him pursued it all the way to its conclusion. In 2018, Ravi Naik was recognised as the Law Society’s Human Rights Lawyer of the Year for his ground-breaking practice at ITN solicitors. His work deals with some of the world’s most high profile and controversial cases, spearheading a multi-jurisdictional practice that cuts across complex issues of public law, privacy, data and information law, fair trial rights, false detention, national security and international law.

War and Justice in the 21st Century with Luis Moreno Ocampo

Luis Moreno Ocampo

Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo is a Senior Fellow at the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School and the first (now former) Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He previously worked as a prosecutor in Argentina, where he rose to fame after his role as prosecutor in the Trial of the Juntas. In his capacity as Prosecutor at the ICC, Mr Moreno Ocampo led investigations against leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army, convicted the Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga, and played a key role in resolving the Kenyan post-election violence of 2007.

Mr Moreno Ocampo's visit was made possible through the generous support of the TCD Association & Trust, who kindly sponsored the flights of Professor Richard Susskind. We encourage students who attended the event and all those interested to consider supporting this Trust or utilising a TCD Affinity Card. With over 10,000 cardholders to date, a percentage of the annual turnover on these cards is donated back to the Trust by Bank of Ireland.

Dr Laura Graham

Dr. Laura Graham is a scholar of sociology and law. She is currently the Executive Director of the Yemen Accountability Project at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. In that role, she leads a team of 80 students who are documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity in Yemen. Dr. Graham was a Visiting Professional to the International Criminal Court in summer 2019. Her research and teaching interests include genocide, ethnic conflicts, and public international law. She has published a book on Northern Ireland's peace process, multiple articles on Ferguson protesters in the U.S., and most recently, on starvation crimes in Yemen. She is currently completing a JD at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio.

Professor Michael Becker

Michael Becker is an adjunct assistant professor of public international law at Trinity College Dublin. While lecturing at Trinity, he is also in the final stages of completing his doctoral research at the University of Cambridge, where his work focuses on the contemporary role of international commissions of inquiry. Prior to beginning his PhD and joining Trinity, Mr Becker served for four years as an Associate Legal Officer at the International Court of Justice in The Hague - and before that, practiced as a lawyer at firms in New York and London, in addition to serving as a law clerk to a US federal judge in New York City. He holds a JD from Yale Law School.

Online Courts and The Future of Justice with Richard Susskind

On the 19th of November, members of the Trinity College Law Review and students of Trinity gathered in the Graduates Memorial Building’s Debating Chamber for the Irish Launch of Professor Richard Susskind OBE’s new book, ‘Online Courts and the Future of Justice.’ Professor Susskind is the world’s most cited author on the future of legal services, concentrating his work in the ways in which IT and the Internet are changing the work of lawyers. He has written ten books, including Expert Systems in Law (OUP 1987), The Future of Law (OUP 1996), Transforming the Law (OUP 2000), Tomorrow’s Lawyers (2013) and now ‘Online Courts and the Future of Justice.’ At the packed event, Professor Susskind was kind enough to read a chapter of his text, arguing that justice requires disputes to be resolved by judges working online and not in courtrooms – further bravely claiming that the global access to justice problem can and will be solved largely by technology.

This event was made possible through the generous support of the TCD Association & Trust, who kindly sponsored the flights of Professor Richard Susskind. We encourage students who attended the event and all those interested to consider supporting this Trust or utilising a TCD Affinity Card. With over 10,000 cardholders to date, a percentage of the annual turnover on these cards is donated back to the Trust by Bank of Ireland.

Volume XXII

Democracy and Cruelty with David Bruck

David Bruck is an American criminal defence attorney and current clinical professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Bruck is a vocal opponent of capital punishment, and has handled numerous death penalty cases throughout his career. In 2018, he had represented a number of high-profile defendants, including the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Dylann Roof, the Charleston church shooter.

State Immunity and Human Rights with Monica Feria-Tinta

Monica Feria-Tinta is a barrister, public international law specialist and at 20 Essex Street Chambers. Her practice covers the full spectrum of public international law before the English courts, international courts, and tribunals. She has appeared and advised on cases before the UK Court of Appeal, ICJ, ICTY, UN Human Rights Committee, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In 2018, she had recently advised the Chagos Islands Advisory Opinion at the ICJ, had represented the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the Mau Mau litigation and appeared as an Amicus Curiae before the Constitutional Court of Colombia.

Volume XXI

Professor Cass Sunstein Speaks to the TCLR

Professor Cass Sunstein visited the TCLR in November 2017. He is an American legal scholar, behavioural economist, and prolific writer. He was the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2012. Professor Sunstein explores the potential for choice architecture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in his article ‘Greener by Default’ in Volume XXI of the TCLR.

Brexit Panel with Gina Miller

In November 2017, the TCLR hosted a panel discussion on Brexit and its projected repercussions. This event was held in conjunction with the Trinity College Politics Society.

Gina Miller
Ms. Miller was the litigant in R (Miller and Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, which established that the UK Government required an Act of Parliament to withdraw from the European Union, and could not rely on the Crown’s prerogative power. Ms Miller is also a successful business woman and activist.

David Kurten
Mr Kurten is a member of the London Assembly and the UK Independence Party (UKIP). He is a graduate of St Andrews, Bath and Southampton universities.

Stephen Donnelly
Mr Donnelly is a TD and the Fianna Fail spokesperson on Brexit. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Blasphemy and the Irish Constitution

In October 2017, the TCLR hosted a panel debate on the offence of blasphemy in the Irish Constitution, in conjunction with the Trinity Free Legal Advice Centre.

Michael Nugent

Michael Nugent is the chair of Atheist Ireland, a group which promotes atheism and ethical secularism. He is also a prominent civil rights activist.

Dr. Ali Selim

Dr. Ali Selim is a professor of Arabic in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies at Trinity College Dublin and is also the spokesperson of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland. Dr. Selim spoke in favour of blasphemy laws at the Constitutional Convention in 2013.

Reverend William Richardson

Reverend William Richardson is the Promoter of Justice with the Dublin Metropolitan Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin. His duty is to ensure that fair procedures are followed in the Canon Law courts of the Dublin diocese. Dr. Richardson is one of the foremost experts on Canon Law in Ireland, holding a doctorate in the subject from St. Paul University, Ottawa.

Dr. Neville Cox

Dr. Neville Cox is a Professor of Law and Dean of Graduate Studies in Trinity College Dublin. He has a special interest in Defamation Law and Islamic Law. Dr. Cox is an expert on the subject of blasphemy, having published a number of articles and a book on the topic.