Posts Tagged ‘Conferences and Events’

Police Governance and Accountability: Challenges and Outlook – Conference Report

December 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Last Thursday and Friday, December 3 and 4, saw an international conference of a very high calibre take place in Limerick (see press coverage in the Irish Times and the Irish Examiner). This conference (previously advertised on this blog here), which focused on Police Governance and Accountability, was organised through the Centre for Criminal Justice in the University of Limerick by a contributor to this blog, Dr. Vicky Conway (formerly of UL, now at Queen’s University Belfast) and Professor Dermot Walsh (UL).

The conference was very well-attended and drew an impressive array of scholars and practitioners researching and working in the area of policing both nationally and internationally. The main plenary presentations were given by Professor Andrew Goldsmith from the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, Professor James Sheptycki from York University in Toronto, Canada and an intriguing turn-and-turn-about final plenary presentation from Dr. Vicky Conway and Professor Dermot Walsh.

Professor Goldsmith discussed the manner in which modern technology, such as mobile phones, digital cameras and the internet (specifically sites like YouTube), are allowing for a new sort of transparency in policing whereby previously invisible police actions can be observed, recorded and shown to the public at large. He gave the example of the death of a Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, following the police use of a taser gun on him in Vancouver airport which was caught on video. Professor Goldsmith used the phrase “sous-veillance” for this type of recording of police actions which comes from beneath and can be contrasted with the more traditional sur-veillance (which comes from the top down). All of this, he suggested, will have an impact on the ability of the police to manage public perceptions of policing, on the demands that are made of oversight agencies, and on the practice of policing in general.

Professor Sheptycki discussed the challenges which exist for transnational policing in the modern world. Employing interesting analogies from the world of art and art history, Professor Sheptycki explored the concept of “constabularly ethics” and sought to ask the question, in the context of European co-operation in policing, “what is good policing?” Professor Sheptycki was particularly interested in “The Raft of the Medusa” by Gericault, which is housed at the Louvre, and depicts a scene of tragedy on a raft set adrift after the wreck of a French naval vessel. Of 147 people aboard the raft, only 15 survived. The painting shows a point of crisis but with the hope of a rescue ship in the distance. Professor Sheptycki suggests that the concept of the “constabulary ethic” may bring hope to the future of transnational policing.

While each of the plenary sessions were thought-provoking, from an Irish perspective the swift overview of the Garda Síochána, from their initial establishment through to current challenges and future possibilities delivered in this third session was particularly interesting. Dr. Conway and Professor Walsh raised many questions about the level of political control of the gardaí provided for under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the potential strengths and weaknesses of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and the general secrecy of the Gardaí as an institution. Dr. Conway gave a most insightful description of the work of the Morris Tribunal, the allegations which led to its establishment and the findings of Mr. Justice Morris (all of which are detailed in her forthcoming book “The Blue Wall of Silence: The Morris Tribunal and Police Accountability in Ireland“). Professor Walsh mentioned the lack of statistics on many policing issues in this jurisdiction. He suggested that material such as The Garda Code ought to be made publicly available and was of the opinion that the availability of such material and public knowledge about the training and ethics of the gardaí might in fact increase public confidence in the force.

More than 40 papers were delivered over the course of the two-day event on topics including: juvenile justice and alternative policing; police complaints and accountability; policing of vulnerable groups; new technologies in policing; police culture and decision-making; local policing; policing and constitutional values; policing and the law of evidence; and many other related matters. Rights issues which arose included: incursions on the right to silence; the protection of the suspect right to pre-trial legal advice; victims’ rights; privacy rights and the use of DNA; the consequences of police abuse of power and the exclsuion of evidence; children’s rights; privacy rights and the use of CCTV; and many more.

This was a most successful and informative conference which allowed for transnational discussions at the macro level on the changing nature of modern policing and the challenges for the investigation of crime in a globalised world, as well as debates and comparisons on the details of policing powers and experiences at a micro level in different jurisdictions.

ISEL Lecture on Constitutional Courts and the Lisbon Treaty

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Given previous commentary on this blog here and by guest contributor Roderic O’Gorman here on the impact of the Lisbon Treaty on Irish law, the ISEL 7th Annual Brian Walsh Memorial Lecture may be of interest to readers.

ISEL 7thAnnual Brian Walsh Memorial Lecture


In conjunction with the Bar Council CPD Unit presents


“Constitutional Courts and the Lisbon Treaty”


Wednesday 25th November 2009 at 6.30pm


St.Michan’s Church Church Street, Dublin 7



Speaker:        The Hon. Mrs. Justice Susan Denham, Supreme Court


Chair:              The Hon. Mr. Justice Nial Fennelly, Supreme Court


The Hon. Mrs. Justice Susan Denham was educated at University of Dublin, Trinity College; King’s Inns and Columbia University, New York, U.S.A. She was called to the Bar in 1971 and became a Senior Counsel in 1987. Appointed a Judge of the High Court in 1991, and in December 1992 the first woman appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court. Judge Denham is a Bencher of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, and an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple in London.  Since 1995 she has been Pro-Chancellor of the University of Dublin.

The Hon. Mr. Justice Nial Fennelly practised at the Bar from 1964 to 1995.  He was Chairman of the Bar Council of Ireland for the period 1990 to 1991. He was appointed Advocate General at the Court of Justice in 1995, where he served until 2000, when he was appointed to the Supreme Court.  He is President of the Irish Society for European Law and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Academy of European Law at Trier.

The lecture will be followed by the launch of the new ISEL website ( and a wine reception. There will also be a speakers’ dinner after the lecture, to which members of the ISEL are invited.  To register for the dinner, please email

This Public Lecture is open to all and is free of charge

Policing Conference

November 9, 2009 1 comment


The Centre for Criminal Justice, School of Law, University of Limerick, presents an upcoming conference: Police Governance and Accountability: Challenges and Outlook at the Limerick Strand Hotel, 3 and 4 December 2009

Over the past decade or so, many jurisdictions around the world have continued to struggle with common challenges and developments in police governance and accountability. Each in its own way has been responding by: investigating the nature and extent of corruption and abuse; identifying and selling, to police and public alike, reforms that will offer effective remedies and diminish the prospects of recurrence; attempting to strike a balance between fairness and transparency in accountability measures with the demands of managerial efficiency and effectiveness in crime prevention and detection. Even as these responses are being rolled out the landscape in which they will operate is being re-shaped by broader political, sociological and technological developments at local, national and international levels. Globalisation processes; the widening gap between wealth and poverty even in the rich western-style democracies; the deepening of conflict between social, economic and political interest groups; the growing human rights consciousness; threats from international terrorism and organised crime; advances in DNA technology; increasing reliance on covert surveillance and data interception; the growing sophistication of ‘less-lethal’ weapons at the disposal of the police; and the dismantling of national barriers to police cooperation and law enforcement, to mention only a few, present governance and accountability challenges on an unprecedented scale.

This conference brings together leading experts from across the globe to discuss these issues and developments from national, European, international and comparative perspectives. It aims to identify transferable strategies and processes that might be deployed to promote transparency, fairness and efficiency in combating police corruption and abuse and to mainstream human rights standards in police governance and accountability.

Further details and booking information available through the UL Law School website here

Or email or

Law Reform Commission: Conference on Reform of the Law on Personal Debt

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

LRCThe Law Reform Commission will hold its annual conference on Wednesday 18 November 2009 in the beautiful Main Conference Hall in Dublin Castle. The conference fee is €40 and the theme is the reform of the law on personal debt, on which the Commission published a Consultation Paper recently.

Among others, the conference will be addressed by Justice Catherine McGuinness, the President of the Commission, and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Dermot Ahern. The full programme and conference brochure is available here, where you will also find a registration form.

Call for papers – Sibéal Listens: Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference on Gender and Women’s Studies

October 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Sibéal Listens:

Fresh Voices and New Directions in Feminist and Gender Research

Call for papers for a one and a half day interdisciplinary postgraduate conference on gender and women’s studies to be held on the 26-27 November 2009 at hosted by the Women’s Studies Centre, School of Social Justice, University College Dublin (Ireland).
The event will include panel discussions on diverse topics around gender and women’s studies as well as the launch of The Irish  Journal of Feminist Studies. We aim to create a space for dialogue about the links and tensions between different approaches to gender and feminist theory, analysis and research. The event will also provide an excellent networking opportunity for post-graduate students from different disciplines with a shared interest in gender and feminist issues. The conference will include time for discussion on how Sibéal can best promote and support postgraduate students in the years to come.

We welcome papers from post-graduate students from any discipline, but who is approaching their research from a gendered or feminist perspective.

Submission Guidelines:
Abstracts should be between 250-300 words. Please also include a brief bio (100 words) along with your name, contact address, and institutional affiliation.
Please send your complete abstract to by 18th October 2009. We might be able to consider late submissions, but priority will be given to those who meet the deadline.
The Sibéal committee will contact you by end-October 2009. Please feel free to contact the conference organizing committee at for any questions you may have.

Sibéal, Irish Postgraduate Gender & Women’s Studies Network, Ireland.

Call for Papers: Regulatory Governance (ECPR)

September 30, 2009 1 comment

ecpr_120Please find below a Call for Papers for the Biennial Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Regulatory Governance. Readers will note that a stream in rights and regulation is suggested. Issues relating to human rights can, of course, also arise in the other streams. In my view the theme on the causes and responses to crises seems to offer a particularly rich opportunity here.

The fields of rights and regulation have been too separate for too long ucd-crestresearch(although this special issue of Law and Policy co-edited by my colleague Prof Colin Scott goes some way to trying to remedy that situation) and this conference, which will be held in UCD, offers an opportunity for Irish scholars and those based here to get to the heart of unifying these disciplines or at least theorising whether such unification is possible. The call for papers follows after the jump. Read more…

HRinI at the Society of Legal Scholars Conference 2009

September 5, 2009 Leave a comment

The Society of Legal Scholars–the main general law society for legal academics in Ireland the UK–will hold its Annual Conference in Keele University from September 7th-10th (conference site). A number of contributors to Human Rights in Ireland will be presenting their research at the conference.

Read more…