The Irish Legal History Society marked the 800th anniversary of the transmission of Magna Carta to Ireland with a two-day conference in Christ Church Cathedral in November 2016. The conference explored the legal-historical background to Magna Carta in Ireland, the reception of the charter into English law in Ireland, the political and polemical uses to which the charter was put, and its twentieth and twentieth-first century invocations as a living presence in contemporary Irish law. Professor Paul Brand (All Souls, Oxford) delivered a keynote address on the impact of Magna Carta on the development of English law in medieval Ireland.
Speakers included: Claire Breay, Sean Duffy, Ian Campbell, Coleman Dennehy, Sparky Booker, Colum Kenny, Adrian Empey, James Kelly, Patrick Geoghegan, John Larkin, Bláthna Ruane.
The conference was recorded for podcasting by Real Smart Media, and is available here:
On 27 November outgoing President of the Society, Mr Robert Marshall, delivered his presidential discourse. His paper, entitled ‘Lisnafanna: A Townland in Turmoil on the Cavan Headford Estate 1870-1900’, was based on a close study of the Headford estate papers. The paper provided some fascinating insights into the existence and operation of subversive or subaltern law on a Cavan estate in the late nineteenth century. It looked specifically at the National League’s boycotting campaign and how this operated at a local and personal level. Interestingly, even on an estate where the Plan was in place, roughly two thirds of rent was still paid.
Mr Marshall went on to consider the legal procedures and processes which followed the fatal shooting of one of the boycotters. The coroner’s inquest saw the apportionment of some blame to the constabulary. Although a verdict of murder was returned by the coroner’s jury, the grand jury, by contrast, found ‘no true bill’, and the case did not proceed to trial.
All of this illustrates the role of the community in policing and sanctioning certain behaviours, and it the paper also explored the complex relationship between the ‘official’ law and the subaltern code.
A full text of the paper will be published in one of the Society’s upcoming collections of essays.
The Society was delighted to host Professor Ian MacBride from King’s College London for the 2015 Spring Discourse. Professor MacBride’s paper, ‘Why the history of the penal laws has still to be written’ was a thought-provoking analysis of the reasons surrounding the relative dearth of scholarship surrounding the penal laws. The discourse took place at the UCD Sutherland School of Law and was well-attended by members of the Society and others.
Professor Ian MacBride of King’s College London delivered the 2015 Spring Discourse at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin, on 27 February.
His paper asked ‘Why the history of the penal laws has still to be written’.
Traditionally signed on the Treaty Stone at Limerick on 3rd October 1691, the treaty of Limerick provided: “The Roman Catholics of this kingdom shall enjoy such privileges in the exercise of their religion as are consistent with the laws of Ireland, or as they did enjoy in the reign of king Charles the second: and their majesties, as soon as their affairs will permit them to summon a parliament in this kingdom, will endeavour to procure the said Roman Catholics such farther security in that particular, as may preserve them from any disturbance upon the account of their said religion.” The breach of this Treaty institutionalised religious discrimination against Roman Catholics and Dissenters who would not conform to the uses of the established church
The 2014 Autumn Discourse was delivered by Dr Coleman Dennehy speaking to the topic “Appointments to the Irish bench in the early Restoration period”
concluding a conference on LAW AND REVOLUTION IN IRELAND: LAW & LAWYERS BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE CROMWELLIAN INTERREGNUM (The flyer for the conference is available here. )
:::::Users:oldcoleman:Desktop:Screen shot 2014-02-12 at 14.49.14.png
The Four Courts at Christ Church (1608-1796)
The 2014 Spring Discourse took place at the Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Stranmillis Road, Belfast In a change to the Society’s usual format, this year we invited a number of excellent speakers to address the Society on a range of topics over two days:
- Professor Lord Bew (School of Politics, Queen’s Univeristy Belfast): ‘Parnell and the Law.’
- Sir Anthony Hart: ‘The Law in Action in Ulster, 1898.’
- Professor Peter Gray (School of History, QUB): ‘Making a Poor Law for Ireland’.
- Dr Thomas Mohr (UCD Sutherland School of Law): ‘The Oath and the Treaty.’
The flyer for the event is available here.
Continuing the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Society, the 2013 AGM took place on Friday 8 November at the Stormont Hotel, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast. The AGM was followed by the launch of the Society’s 25th Anniversary Volume, Daire Hogan and Colum Kenny (eds), Changes in Practice in Law (Four Courts Press, 2013), by Mr David Ford MLA at the Stormont Parliament buildings.
Dr Conor Mulvagh of UCD Dublin then presented a paper entitled “Legislative landmine?: evaluating the third Home Rule Bill”
2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Irish Legal History Society in the Provost’s House of Trinity College Dublin. It is therefore fitting that we returned to Trinity for this year’s Spring Discourse. An excellent paper was delivered by Mr Daire Hogan in the Debating Chamber of the Graduates Memorial Building, on Friday 15th February, entitled: ‘ . . . “I want the chancellorship. You can get it for me”; James Campbell’s path to judicial office, 1915 – 1918.’
James Campbell, first Baron Glenavy
[James Campbell, First Baron Glenavy and Lord Chancellor of Ireland]
About the Speaker
Mr Hogan is a recently retired partner at McCann FitzGerald. He served as the first honorary Treasurer of the Society and was President 1995-98. In addition Daire was a co-editor of the first publication Brehons Serjeants and Attorneys . He lectured to the Society on RR Cherry, published as an essay in Mysteries and Solutions and also edited jointly with Dr Eamonn G Hall ‘The Law Society of Ireland 1852-2002, Portrait of a Profession’ Four Courts Press 2002.
As part of the proceedings on Friday 15th February, the first W.N. Osborough Composition Prize in Legal History was awarded to Dr Maebh Harding from the University of Portsmouth (pictured below). Dr Harding’s essay, ‘The Curious Incident of the Marriage Act (No. 2) 1537 and the Irish Statute Book’ is published in Legal Studies (2012).
By kind permission of the Dublin Cemetery Committee and the Glasnevin Trust, the 2012 Annual General Meeting was held in the Museum of Glasnevin cemetery on Friday 30th November. The AGM was preceded by a fascinating guided tour of the legal graves of Glasnevin.
After the AGM, the president of the Society, Prof. Norma Dawson delivered her presidential address entitled: “The Ulster Plantation Case 1892-98 – the end of the adventure?” For more details please click here.
The 2012 Spring Discourse will take place on Monday 26th March at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast. The Society will be addressed by the Rt Hon Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and President of the Selden Society.