29 Mai 2022

British Cavalier Attitude

On 17 May, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, announced to the House of Commons that the Government would be introducing legislative proposals to supersede the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP). This drastic measure is the culmination of strained negotiations between the UK and the EU to modify the NIP since summer 2021. Stepping outside of the framework of the Withdrawal Agreement to address the claimed problems, the UK challenges the Rule of Law in international relations. Continue reading >>
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The Never-Ending Struggle Over (Northern) Ireland

Claiming the need to “protect the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions”, the UK government threatens once again to adopt legislation unilaterally changing the Protocol Ireland/Northern Ireland. In legal terms, this would constitute a breach of the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK. But does the Good Friday Agreement indeed exclude divergence between Northern Ireland and Great Britain or even demand protecting trade from GB to Northern Ireland? Continue reading >>
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13 April 2022

Neutrality and the Irish Constitution

Ireland, like other neutral states, has witnessed intense debates in recent weeks over the future of its neutral status. Ireland is not a member of NATO and has maintained an ambiguous status of ‘neutrality’ since independence. However, neutrality as such is not a constitutional requirement, and insofar as it obtains at all, has more the character of a policy or tradition. Departures from that tradition – particularly the joining of NATO – would nonetheless likely encounter certain constitutional barriers. In particular, it seems likely that membership of NATO would require a constitutional referendum. Continue reading >>
04 Februar 2022

Property, Proportionality, and Marginality

On 31 January 2022, the Irish Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment that collapsed, at least in respect of remedies, a previously rigidly-drawn distinction between the private law rights and the public law obligations of housing authorities. The judgment breaks important new ground in emphasising the underprivileged and marginalised status of the Travelling community, and furthermore, in identifying that status as a factor that could weigh against the granting of an injunctive remedy. Continue reading >>
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15 Dezember 2021

Datenschutzvollzug vor Zentralisierung

Die Europäische Datenschutzgrundverordnung (DSGVO) gilt noch keine vier Jahre, doch schon werden erste Forderungen nach mehr europäischer Zentralisierung der mitgliedstaatlichen Datenschutzaufsichtsbehörden laut, da Teile der nationalen Datenschutzaufsichtsbehörden nicht in der Lage sind, bei Verstößen gegen die DSGVO durch Technologiekonzerne in wichtigen grenzüberschreitenden Datenverarbeitungen einzuschreiten. Muss das System der Zuständigkeiten und Zusammenarbeit der mitgliedstaatlichen Aufsichtsbehörden bereits jetzt einer grundlegenden Revision unterzogen werden? Continue reading >>
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19 März 2021

A Tricky Move

The European Commission’s decision to commence legal proceedings against the United Kingdom for unilaterally extending certain grace periods for the movement of goods in contravention to the Northern Ireland Protocol is legally sound, but politically tricky. In legal terms, the decision to launch both infringement proceedings and take first steps towards arbitration is the most promising avenue towards UK compliance with the Protocol. Yet it brings with it a political risk of further escalating the tensions around the Protocol within Northern Ireland and between the EU and the UK. Continue reading >>
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17 März 2021

Pandemic Response as Accentuation of Existing Characteristics: Vague Requirements and Executive Dominance in Ireland

In Ireland, it is not constitutionally permissible to declare an emergency in response to COVID-19. The legal response, therefore, has been mounted within the normal constitutional framework. This has consisted of five primary statutes that (a) empower the Minister for Health to make regulations (secondary legislation) imposing restrictions to control the pandemic and (b) establish enforcement powers that the Minister for Health can attach to particular restrictions. By early March 2021, the Minister had made 74 sets of regulations imposing restrictions. Continue reading >>
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12 November 2020

An Irish Tale of Judicial Misconduct

On the evening of Monday, November 9th, Mr. Frank Clarke, Chief Justice of the Irish Supreme Court, published three letters, recounting correspondence between himself and Mr. Seamus Woulfe, another Supreme Court judge – of recent appointment – and former Attorney General of Ireland. That the Chief Justice should have seen fit to publish any correspondence between himself and another judge is singular. The content of the letters, however, is altogether peculiar. Continue reading >>
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20 Januar 2020

The Return of Power-Sharing in Northern Ireland

After three years power-sharing government has returned to Northern Ireland following extensive discussions and the recent publication of a document by the British and Irish governments. It is a lengthy text containing many proposals, plans and initiatives; the relative incoherence is evidence of the conflicting challenges faced. At the core of the dilemma is how to encourage the representatives of the two main communities in Northern Ireland (nationalist-unionist) to share power once again. Continue reading >>
10 Februar 2019

Why Referendums in Ireland Work Better than in the UK

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown has recommended the Irish innovation of the citizens’ assembly to inform and guide public opinion. Theresa May, too, included a glancing reference to the notion in her recent House of Commons speech. They are mistaken, though, if they believe that this formula has much to offer in the UK. Continue reading >>
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28 November 2018

Episode 5 of the Celmer Saga – The Irish High Court Holds Back

On 19 November 2018, Donnelly J gave her fifth judgment in the Celmer saga concluding that the real risk of a flagrant denial of justice has not been established by Mr Celmer and ordered that he be surrendered on foot of the European Arrest Warrants issued against him. Given that Donnelly J had initially found that there were ‘breaches of the common value of the rule of law’, this came as some surprise. Continue reading >>
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07 September 2018

Talk to me like Lawyers do – Celmer returns to the High Court of Ireland

The Celmer case is back before the High Court of Ireland, which gave a further judgment on 01 August 2018. The decision provides a first insight into the practical application of the CJEU's ruling, most notably its encouragement of executing judicial authorities to enter into dialogue. Continue reading >>
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03 September 2018

My Body, the Majority’s Choice? A Comparative Overview of Abortion Laws in Ireland and Argentina

Both Argentina and Ireland have tried to move forward in the fight for the decriminalization of abortion. In Argentina, even though the approval in the Chamber of Deputies represented a very important step, the Senate majority followed the religious standards and rejected the bill. In Ireland, the referendum resulted in a victory for women. The next step is to enact the new law and, of equal importance, to create all the practical conditions to implement the new rules. Continue reading >>
17 August 2018

Facebook’s Efforts to Squash Scrutiny of the EU-US Privacy Shield

Currently, Facebook is before the Supreme Court in Ireland asking to curtail judicial powers that allow courts to refer questions on the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement to the CJEU. This is part of an ongoing litigation of Max Schrems, who was still an Austrian law student at the start of the litigation, against the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) in the jurisdiction of Ireland where Facebook currently holds its EU headquarters for tax and company law purposes. The litigation has the capacity to change the face of the transatlantic relationship, not least now, at a critical juncture of fragility and uncertainty and represents an extraordinary step. Continue reading >>
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08 Februar 2018

Ireland’s 8th Amendment: Repeal or Retain?

2018 marks the 35th anniversary of the passage of Ireland’s ‘8th Amendment’ which effectively constitutionalises the exceptionally restrictive Irish law on abortion. It may also quite possibly mark its demise. Continue reading >>
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10 Juni 2017

First Thoughts on the UK General Election Result 2017

The Faustian pact by the UK Tory Party with the Northern Irish DUP will bring all the messy and ugly history of Northern Irish sectarianism back into mainstream of our politics. My recipe for the Tory party to save itself from the damnation of Faust is for it to remove Theresa May "with all deliberate speed" and replace her as leader with Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Continue reading >>
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28 Februar 2017

Limiting the Constitutional Space of Scotland and Northern Ireland

Scotland might soon be having a second independence referendum, and Ireland is pushing for Northern Ireland rejoining the EU after Brexit. Why does the noble idea of a differentiated Brexit, that could absorb some of the tensions created by UK’s future withdrawal from the EU, seem to lose traction even within the political elites of Scotland and Northern Ireland? One possible answer might be that the UK political and constitutional framework does not provide for a supportive environment. In fact, the judgment of the Supreme Court in Miller points to the limits of the UK political and constitutional order to accommodate the demands of the devolved nations. Continue reading >>
29 Juli 2016

INIS Free? Towards a Scots-Irish Union

A post Brexit union of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland would be one way of achieving what the majority of the electors of Northern Ireland and Scotland who voted in the Brexit referendum sought to achieve, namely to remain within the EU and retain their EU citizenship. Historically, there is considerable precedent for such a Scotch-Irish Union. Continue reading >>
27 Mai 2015

Ehe für alle: Warum Mehrheitsentscheid auch bei Minderheitsrechten nichts Schlechtes sein muss

Die große Mehrheit der Iren hat bekanntlich letzte Woche dafür gestimmt, das verfassungsmäßige Recht zu heiraten für alle Geschlechterkonstellationen zu öffnen. Darüber freuen sich die allermeisten, aber ein gewisser Irritationspunkt bleibt doch: Kann es richtig sein, die Mehrheit über Minderheitenrechte abstimmen zu lassen? Continue reading >>
17 April 2015

Irish Supreme Court Overturns Absolute Exclusionary Rule for Unconstitutionally Obtained Evidence

On Wednesday, the Irish Supreme Court ruled by a majority of 4-3 that evidence obtained in criminal cases in breach of constitutional principles need not necessarily be excluded at trial, overturning a 24 year-old precedent on foot of which all such evidence was automatically excluded. The case is notable on a number of levels: it has obvious implications for the conduct of criminal trials, and raises interesting issues around the retrospective application of declarations of unconstitutionality. It also possibly marks the beginning of a more assertive period for the Irish Supreme Court, following two decades of marked restraint. Continue reading >>
11 Dezember 2014

Torture, Human Rights and the Northern Ireland Conflict

At what point does harsh treatment of detainees amount to torture? With the US Senate report on CIA interrogation practices dominating all the headlines, this question is very much on our minds right now. That the European Court of Human Rights will have to consider this question, is a mere coincidence, though. The Irish Government has decided to reopen a decades old case from the darkest days of the Northern Ireland conflict (Ireland v United Kingdom). The case will raise once again the ugly spectre of the systematic abuse of prisoners in Northern Ireland. Moreover, the litigation has the potential to have far-reaching effects in the relationship between the European Court and the United Kingdom, and in the constitutional settlement within the United Kingdom itself. Continue reading >>
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16 Oktober 2014

Ireland’s Senate: An Introduction

When the current Government proposed its abolition in a referendum in 2013, perhaps the most notable feature of the debate was the consensus on all sides that there is little, if any, justification for the retention of the Seanad in its current form. In a result that contradicted pre-referendum opinion polls, voters rejected the proposed abolition. Given the widespread agreement during the campaign about the inadequacy of the current institution, attention naturally turned to the question of how the Seanad might be reformed. Continue reading >>
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29 Januar 2014

Welche Schulaufsicht durch den Staat? Ein Beitrag aus Straßburg zur Staatshaftung durch Unterlassen

Ein Staat, der dem systematischen sexuellen Missbrauch von Kindern tatenlos zusieht, verletzt das Recht der Kinder, vor unmenschlicher Behandlung bewahrt zu werden - auch wenn ihr konkretes Einzelschicksal dem Staat zunächst gar nicht bekannt war. Dies hat heute der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) in der lang erwarteten Rechtssache O’Keeffe ./. Irland entschieden. Die Große Kammer verurteilte Irland mit elf gegen sechs Stimmen, der Klägerin insgesamt 115.000 Euro Schadensersatz und Schmerzensgeld zu zahlen. Continue reading >>
10 April 2013

Irlands Verfassungsexperiment: Testfall Homo-Ehe

Islands Verfassungsexperiment hat ja, wie berichtet, vorläufig ein klägliches Ende […] Continue reading >>
10 Dezember 2012

Zwangsbehandlung: Auf „Assisted Decision Making“ kommt es an

Wie bringt man das Interesse psychisch Kranker, nicht gegen ihren […] Continue reading >>
12 November 2012

Irland verankert Kinderrechte in der Verfassung

Was darf, was kann und was muss der Staat tun, […] Continue reading >>
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25 Oktober 2012
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Herr Pringle geht nach Luxemburg…

Auf mitgliedstaatlicher Ebene hat der Europäische Stabilitätsmechanismus (ESM) schon die […] Continue reading >>
27 März 2012

Auch Irland will seine Bürger die Verfassung reformieren lassen

Letzten Sommer war ich in Island, um mir anzuschauen, wie […] Continue reading >>
04 Februar 2012

Irland und der Fiskalpakt: Verfassungsrecht, das nicht Verfassungsrecht sein darf

Am Montag haben die EU-Regierungschefs ihren Fiskalpakt unter Dach und […] Continue reading >>
17 September 2011

Finanzkrise und Gewaltenteilung

Irland, von der Finanzkrise böse gebeutelt, bereitet sich auf ein […] Continue reading >>
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