Case Note: Wall v. National Parks and Wildlife Service [2017] I.E.H.C. 85

Prof. Steve Hedley

Vol 7 Issue 1 Case Note 1

This case concerned injuries suffered by a walker on the Wicklow Way, when she tripped and fell. She sued the National Parks and Wildlife Service (occupiers of that section of the Way), complaining of the trail’s condition at the point of her fall. Liability was established before Her Honour Judge Linnane in the Circuit Court, a judgment which attracted considerable attention in the press and on social media. That finding has now been reversed on appeal, by Mr. Justice White in the High Court.

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Vulnerable Witnesses and Cross-Examination: A Path to Reform

Jeff Ward

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Cross-examination is considered an integral aspect of the adversarial trial process and of the accused’s right to a fair trial. However, there has been insufficient attention in Ireland on the detrimental impact that it can have on the ability of vulnerable witnesses to give their best possible evidence. This article proposes that cross-examination should be reformed to better accommodate the unique needs of vulnerable witnesses. It outlines a working definition of who is a vulnerable witness and then demonstrates that, by analysing the Irish and European case law, the right to cross-examine does not prevent reform. Finally, it makes limited proposals for the reform of the manner in which cross-examination is conducted in Ireland.

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Extending the “Right to Identity” to Donor-Conceived Children in Ireland: A Jurisdictional Case Study

Dr. Donna Lyons

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This article considers the “right to identity” provisions in the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 and their adequacy in guaranteeing to the donor-conceived child the right to access identifying donor information in this jurisdiction. The article engages in a comparative analysis of a number of key jurisdictions prohibiting donor anonymity, with reference to the relevant international law, for the purposes of exploring mechanisms through which Ireland might extend its current legislative protections for donor-conceived adults to donor-conceived children. The principal research method used in this article is doctrinal in nature, with empirical research being drawn upon as a complement to the doctrinal research.

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Judicial Diversity in Ireland

Dr. Laura Cahillane

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Judicial diversity is not a subject which is much discussed in Ireland. Despite the fact that our judiciary is still a relatively homogenous group with figures on female judges only recently improving, it seems neither the judges, nor the other two branches of government, see this as an issue which needs to be addressed. This is also in spite of the fact that our current process for appointing judges does not include any incentive or requirement to consider diversity and the recent trend which has seen the appointment of more women to the bench could just as easily be reversed by a future regime. Furthermore, while there has been some improvement in terms of gender balance, it seems there has been no consideration of diversity more generally in judicial appointments. In this context, this article examines whether diversity is an issue which needs to be considered in relation to judicial appointments in Ireland. First, the current profile of the Irish judiciary is illustrated. Then, in order to determine if and why diversity is necessary, the various rationales which have been put forward in favour of judicial diversity are analysed. Finally, the argument in favour of examining this issue in further detail in Ireland is put forward.

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