De Burca Case

The first programme in the series reviewed the “De Burca Case” (1976) which was about the automatic right of women to sit on juries, or put the other way, the right of women not to have to be tried by a jury of all men. This episode benefitted from observation, commentary, and analysis from leading Irish lawyer and academic – now Judge of the Irish Supreme Court, Gerard Hogan, S.C., and had the benefit of an interview with one of the protagonists in the case – Irish journalist and writer - Máirín De Burca.

McGee Case

This episode reviewed the “McGee Case” (1973), in which Mary McGee, a 27-year-old mother of four, took a case against the Attorney General and the Revenue Commissioners, in Ireland, because at that time, she could not get access to contraceptives. This case was selected by, Gerard Hogan, S.C. who at that time was a leading Irish lawyer and academic who provided the commentary and analysis. It must be pointed out that Gerard Hogan’s career advanced significantly, in the legal world, since the recording of his observations and contribution in 2005. Having served in the High Court and Court of Appeal, he was Ireland’s appointee as Advocate General to the European Court of Justice, in 2018 and in 2021. Mr Justice Gerard Hogan was appointed to the Irish Supreme Court.

Katharine O’Shea Divorce Case

This episode involves an analysis of the legal complexities in the divorce case of Mrs Katharine O’Shea in London (1889) which involved Irish Statesman - Charles Stewart Parnell.  

The commentary on the O’Shea divorce case in which Irish Politician Charles Stewart Parnell, was the corespondent, is provided by esteemed Irish lawyer, biographer, and historian Frank Callanan, S.C.

Byrne v Ireland

Episode 4 brings to light the significance of a High Court case, the decision of which was overturned in the Supreme Court in 1971. The name of the case was “Byrne v Ireland”, the significance of which was that the former “prerogative of immunity from suit did not exist in Ireland after the enactment of the Constitution of the Irish Free State, 1922, and therefore was not vested or continued by Articles 49 and 50 of the Constitution of Ireland, 1937. The “prerogative of immunity from suit” refers to the principle “The king could do no wrong” – meaning that the citizen could not sue the monarch or the State.  

The commentary on this case and its significance was provided by the late Mr Justice Donal Barrington, S.C. who had actually acted in the case that he chose as being one of significance to feature in this series. Donal Barrington passed away in 2018 and I extend my condolences to his widow – Eileen and his family

The State (Healy) v O’Donoghue

This episode discusses “The State (Healy) v O’Donoghue” and outlines the sequence of events establishing legal representation as part of a fair trial, in Ireland at the time. There is a discussion of the circumstances with regard to young offenders, and how it came to pass that the courts required young offenders to be represented in court - presented by leading Irish lawyer Ercus Stewart, S.C. who had been involved in a constitutional challenge that brought about change with far-reaching implications.

Murphy Case

In episode 6, which was the last in the series, we looked at the “Murphy Case” (1982), which dealt with the taxation of married women at that time in Ireland. The sequence of events and the challenges involved in bringing this case to court were described by Professor Yvonne Scannell who had been pivotal in raising awareness about the injustices involved with regard to the taxation of married women and ultimately bringing this case to court as a significant legal challenge.

Behind the Music

Cultural exchange gives rise to curiosity about law – the penfriend project.

The journey towards the penfriend project – crimes – presumption of innocence – evidence – police forces – support from the people.

Mumu talks to her band of learners about the law and democracy.

A visit to the courts – Lady Justice – wigs and gowns – the snail in the ginger beer – women and the law.

The courts experience – evidence – the museum in a historical barracks – the futility of war.

The Great Irish Famine – the Corn Laws – famine ships – the poetry of Yeats – planning the penfriend project.

Young people and the law – diversionary programmes – rehabilitation and restorative justice – keeping people out of the courts and out of prison

Pleading a case – mitigation – crimes against property and crimes against the person – protecting one’s good name – types of courts – appealing a court’s decision.

The background to the European Union – misuse of social media – data protection – widening access to justice – the office of ombudsman – human rights.

Breaking the mould - calls for change – dress code modernised – alternative dispute resolution processes (ADRs) – mediation and reconciliation – the orange grove.

The processes of mediation and arbitration – legal aid – law reform.

Data protection – social media and politics – the Nobel Prize – the voices of poets in sharing wisdom.

In search of a fair deal – the reasonable view – the man on the Clapham omnibus – anti-bullying protections.

Different courts – Latin the language of learning – the importance of listening and language – saying no to bullying and harassment.