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Advanced Lawyering Projects

In addition to first year Lawyering modules that teach robust legal writing skills, Law Plus students undertake co-operative work placement learning and Advanced Lawyering modules. The Advanced Lawyering modules are taken in the final year of study and includes compulsory ADR knowledge and the choice of a project. Students can carry out a research project and write an article on their findings or they can take part in a project on a specific area of law. Projects vary from year to year and have in the past included issues such as miscarriages of justice, sentencing, free movement of persons, ISDA master agreements, deaths in custody, donor-assisted reproduction, judicial decision-making, the Traveller community’s socio-economic rights in Ireland, assisted decision-making, post acquittal re-trials, how to prepare a will, and contemporary issues in employment law.

 

Policing protest and civil liberties in Ireland: Dr Johnny Connolly

Through extensive research, a team of five students investigated the principles and concepts underlying the right to protest and the exercise of this right in Ireland. The study involved an examination of the historical background to public protest in Ireland and an investigation of international best practice in policing in this area. Using case studies from the policing of protests in Jobstown, Tallaght in Dublin and the Corrib gas field in north Mayo, they examined whether the policing of protest in practice in Ireland complies with international human rights standards and approaches. They developed recommendations that have responded not only to the current limitations of policing in this area, but the study also moved beyond the case studies to consider the future nature of online protest and the challenges this will create in policing terms. This is an important and original piece of work in an area of great significance, with international responses to the policing of protest and human rights compliance a key issue for the International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations (INCLO), of which the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is a member. The ICCL will now take this report through a final editing process prior to a joint publication with the School of Law as part of the UL Engage initiative. Consequently, the report will represent an important contribution to a key issue of national and international concern.

The Sport and the Law project encompassed active learning and cooperative learning. It taught the students how to take individual responsibility and be able to work through issues that may occur in a group setting. It involved Law Plus students working with St Augustine’s School in Limerick with the help of the UL Arts Office and UL Access Office. The project centred on engagement with the community as it purported to address the negative views some of the secondary school students had in relation to law, namely the view that law is about the Garda and the courts. The project endeavoured to demonstrate that law is not just about punishment but that most areas of life are governed by law including sport.

The Law Plus students first drafted a moot wherein a boxer was injured in the ring, they had to create a scenario that encompassed a number of legal issues from the liability of the referee to the organisers of the fight. It examined the civil and criminal consequences that may arise. The students took part in an acouscenic listening tour (sound walk tour) and wrote a reflective piece on their experience. It was a team building exercise and students learned how to live and concentrate in the now. The group walked around campus and recorded as many sounds as possible and when they returned they created a sound map, which documented where they heard each sound while on the walk. The Law Plus students created a glossary to explain terms such as plaintiff, defendant, what is a tort, what is a crime, the court system, the role of solicitor, the role of the barrister to help the students from St Augustine’s understand the moot question. The students from St Augustine’s took part in the moot under the supervision of the Law Plus students and the project leaders and a teacher from the school.

In Spring 2018, Dr Susan Leahy and Dr Margaret Fitzgerald-O’Reilly supervised a project which was run in partnership with OneinFour. The aim of the project was to research ways in which the trial process could be improved for adult victims of child sexual abuse so as to minimise the trauma experienced by these victims. The project was funded by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Teaching Board. This funding was used to invite Professor Antony Pemberton, Tilburg University, to meet with the students and OneinFour. Professor Pemberton is an internationally recognised expert on victims’ rights and guided the students on devising proposals for reform of the Irish law. During the project, the students also had consultations with Maeve Lewis (CEO of OneinFour), Mr Gareth Henry BL (Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions) and Dr Siobhan Weare (University of Lancaster). At the end of the semester, the students presented their research to OneinFour via a formal presentation in UL and their written report will also be made available to OneinFour.

The students who worked on the project were: Sinead Mulcahy, Daniel O’Connell, Niamh Shanahan, Molly Fitzgibbon, Mihkaela O’Shaughnessy and Eireann Moloney.

The Roma Rights Advanced Lawyering project focused on the Roma National Needs Assessment that was published by Pavee Point and the Department of Justice in January 2018. The report focused on a number of different areas such as discrimination, education, healthcare etc. All the data in the report was collected by Roma peer researchers. The four UL students selected to participate in the project were tasked with each choosing one of the themes focused on in the report, the students choose employment, education, healthcare and accommodation. The students then put together individual reports on their selected area and how the findings of the national needs assessment could be implemented in Ireland drawing on best practice in other European countries. The students participated in workshops with Dr Patrick O'Donnell, a GP specialising in inclusion medicine in the Graduate Entry Medical School at UL, Franz Amin of the Politics Department UL and Fiona McCaul and Dr Majka Ryan of Doras Luimni. The workshops focused on access to healthcare for marginalised communities, the concept of vulnerability and the habitual residence requirement. The students also prepared blogs and infographics to disseminate their research. All four students participated in a Roma Rights half day seminar with Dr Bernard Rorke from the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest and Dr Colin Clarke from the University of the West of Scotland as well as representatives from Pavee Point and Doras Luimni. The project was supervised by Dr Norah Burns and received generous funding from the AHSS Faculty Teaching Board Fund.

Street Law is an approach to legal education where law students teach law at grassroots level. As part of the Street Law Advanced Lawyering Project, four  final  year  Law  Plus  students  (Emmet Collopy, Clodagh Dunne, Nicole Cumiskey and Niamh Kennedy) taught  law  at  a  local  DEIS  secondary  school,  CBS  Sexton  Street,  over  the  Spring  semester  2017/18. 

Before  commencing  their  teaching,  the  law  students  were  provided  with  training  in  the  learner-centred,  non-directional  teaching  methods  used  in  Street  Law.  The  training  was  provided  by  Dr  Lydia  Bracken who  organised  and  supervised  the  project.  After  their  training,  the  law  students  subsequently  worked  in  pairs  to  deliver  Street  Law  classes  at  the  secondary  school  over  a  five-week  period.  Each  student  delivered  one 40  minute  teaching  session  that  they  had  devised  themselves  according  to  Street  Law  teaching  methodology.  During  the  final  week  of  the  programme,  the  secondary  school  students  visited  the  UL  campus  for  their  final  class,  which  was  delivered  by  all  of  the  law  students  working  together  to  prepare  the  secondary  school  students  to  undertake  the  roles  of  lawyers,  judges,  jury  and  witnesses  as  part  of  a  hypothetical  court  case,  known  as  a  “mock  trial”.  The  secondary  school  students  subsequently  ran  their  mock  trial  in  UL’s  purpose-built  moot  court  room.  This  exercise  allowed  the  secondary  school  students  to  apply  the  skills  they  had  learned  over  the  course  of  the  programme  in  a  practical  and  realistic  manner. The  law  students  were  assessed  based  on  submission  of  written  lesson  plans  (40%  of  final  grade),  their  teaching  and  participation  (20%),  and  submission  of  reflective  essays  (40%). The project was supported by funding from the AHSS Faculty Teaching Board Fund.

Further information about the project can be found here: https://www.ul.ie/engage/sites/default/files/2018%20No%2041%20Street%20Law.pdf

The Grooming Children for Crime project was designed to give students an opportunity to make a valuable contribution to an on-going research project in the School of Law, the Greentown Project, a project which explores the involvement of children in adult criminal networks. Students were given an opportunity to integrate the multi-disciplinary knowledge gained during their law degree to inform potential legislation to prosecute adults who groom children to commit crimes. Initially, students wrote reflective essays from the perspective of the children who featured in the original Greentown report, and spoke with key youth justice workers. The students therefore obtained a deep understanding of the lived experiences of some of the most vulnerable children in the juvenile justice system. Second, students researched international legislative and policy instruments and worked together to produce a policy document that critically evaluated instruments employed to tackle the global problem of adults grooming children for crime. Specifically, the students examined the instruments to check their utility in relation to the problems presented by the Greentown study. The highlight of the project was the hugely successful students’ presentation of their work, at a meeting hosted by Secretary-General Dr Fergal Lynch and Michelle Shannon, Director of Irish Youth Justice Services in the ministerial boardroom of DCYA.

The common law principle of double jeopardy prohibits a second trial where a defendant has been formerly acquitted (autrefois acquit) or convicted (autrefois convict) of the same criminal offence. In civil law systems it is known as ne bis in idem. Reform in the UK has been the model for reform in other common law jurisdictions including Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Henceforth, an acquittal might be quashed based on new and compelling evidence of the defendant’s guilt. Implications for the criminal justice process include investigative and prosecutorial (in)efficiency, adverse pre-(re)trial publicity, (in)sufficiency of due process rights, exclusionary rules of evidence, sentencing, the standing of victims, and the overall integrity of the criminal justice process. The purpose of this project is to critically evaluate statutory modification of the common law principle against double jeopardy and consider the international dimension and Ireland’s obligations under European and international law.

Objectives:

  • Evaluate policy considerations (due process rights etc.) for and against post-acquittal retrials

  • Evaluate seminal case law on post-acquittal retrials in the UK (issues arising, lessons for the Irish criminal justice process etc.)

  • Critique international obligations e.g. ECHR, ICCPR, ICC, etc. 

This project will result in the production of a detailed report on the interpretation and application of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015. The report will be composed of two main sections. The first section will serve as an introduction to key roles/issues in the application of the ADM(C) Act 2015. These issues will be explored from the perspective of the practitioner and the patient. The second section will be based on several clinical scenarios which students will analyse in the context of the ADM(C) Act 2015. The project is conducted in partnership with Milford Care Centre.

Six final year Law students undertaking this project are investigating three key socio-economic rights – namely the right to health, education, and housing – as they are enjoyed, or perhaps not enjoyed, by the Traveller community in Ireland. To this end, the students are researching the theoretical existence of such rights, what they encompass, and how they are being realised. In particular, conscious of the frequent divergence between rhetoric and reality in the context of such rights, the students are seeking to gain a better appreciation of the practical experience of members of the Traveller community in invoking these rights by engaging with members of the Tipperary Rural Travellers Project and those working with the Traveller community. At the end of the project, the students will present their findings to members of the Tipperary Rural Travellers Project.

Objectives include:

  • Gaining an insight into how Irish judges see their role
  • Investigating perceptions around judging and what it should aim for – justice? fairness? application of law? Etc.
  • Analysing whether different factors such as gender, social background, education, etc, can (consciously or not) influence judicial decision-making

Students will design a survey, distribute it to the judiciary, and analyse the results. They will draw up a report and make a presentation based on their findings.

The aim of this Advanced Lawyering project is to produce a plain-English information booklet explaining the provisions of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 that relate to donor-assisted human reproduction (DAHR). Almost 40 sections of the 2015 Act apply to DAHR making it difficult to navigate. The booklet will be designed to help stakeholders to understand the main legal changes introduced by the 2015 Act and explain how the Act will apply to existing and prospective parents, gamete donors, and donor-conceived children once it commences. 

The project is run in conjunction with the National Infertility Support and Information Group (NISIG). NISIG will provide case studies to include in the information booklet and will offer insight and direction on the content of the booklet, as well as expert advice on particular issues. The booklet will be presented to NISIG upon completion.

The Advanced Lawyering EU Law project is designed for both students and the wider community. There are three different groups with each group concentrating on a specific aspect of the free movement of persons in the EU. Students have three tasks to complete:

  1. Draft a research paper designed to guide a lawyer that needs to provide up-to-date information on the relevant category under the free movement of person’s provisions (2000 words, 20%)
  2. Give a presentation (20 mins) to the public (Community Law Programme) on the relevant category under the free movement of persons (50%) 
  3. Design an information leaflet/pamphlet (1000 words, 30%)

Part 1 is a research paper which is more theoretical and academic. It will be written for a lawyer who needs to brush up on EU law. The student groups will receive feedback on this paper to help them condense the information into a presentation and a pamphlet (Parts 2 and 3). The pamphlet will be more user friendly and drafted with the public in mind avoiding the legalese in the research paper. The groups will also get the chance to do a trial run of the presentation (non-graded). The groups will be graded on the presentation given to the Community Law Programme. The three groups will meet with a graphic designer who will give them a talk on designing the leaflet.

Aims & Objectives

The main objective of this project is for the students to develop clinical lawyering skills, more specifically, to prepare students to be able to deal with queries either as a lawyer or in public office relating to free movement within the EU. The groups will be able to explain not just the academic side but inform individuals  how they can assert their rights under the free movement of person’s provisions.