The Law Society of Ireland announced the winners of its annual Justice Media Awards on Thursday 4 June 2015.
See the full list of Justice Media Award winners.
At the awards ceremony, the President of the Law Society Kevin O’Higgins, made the following comments:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Justice Media Awards 2015. I am delighted to welcome you to this, the 23rd anniversary of the presentation of these awards – making it the longest-running media awards in the country.
Down the years, these awards have recognised the excellent work done by journalists in helping to explain the law and significant legal issues to the general public. It is a testament to their success that this year, more entries than ever were submitted for consideration.
Greater understanding between the legal profession and the press is something that can benefit both professions – and, more importantly, the general public. A free press, when acting responsibly, can be regarded as one of the safeguards of a democratic society.
To my mind, anything that contributes to a greater understanding of the law and the Irish legal system is to be recommended. In that respect, the Justice Media Awards have made – and continue to make – a valuable contribution to that process of understanding.
The depth and variety of the entries submitted this year is remarkable, however, it seems to me that in almost all cases where the work of the journalist is of a high standard, there invariably is a sense of balance and proportion about the work.
This, if I might suggest it, is the essence of good journalism; to present us with the relevant information in the appropriate context, which allows the audience to more fully understand the issue and reach an informed opinion on the matter.
Irish journalists, and journalism, have been faced with challenges in recent times; some familiar, some quite unprecedented. Out of these we have seen quality reporting and journalistic integrity shine through, and we celebrate the results of some of those challenging moments here this afternoon.
Since we last gathered to celebrate the Justice Media Awards, we at the Law Society have unveiled our new look and logo, one part of a complete rebranding exercise which conveys the message that the Law Society is proud of its tradition, but prepared for the future.
We welcomed the announcement that the proposed closure of court venues in Swords, Dun Laoghaire, Balbriggan and Tallaght will not go ahead, a topic brought to the fore by my predecessor at this very event last year. However, the attack on justice continues outside Dublin and we will continue to fight proposals to close courthouses in areas where they are needed.
In February, we were delighted to announce that in a first for any legal profession in the world, gender parity had been reached in the Irish solicitors’ profession. As of today, just under 50% of practising solicitors are male, and just over 50% are female.
The biggest revolution of the conveyancing system in Ireland since the creation of the State has begun with the start of the implementation phase of the Law Society’s eConveyancing project. Home-buyers will see transaction times reduced to as little as five working days once the system is up and running.
And most recently, the Society took a stand for equality and supported the marriage referendum, on the basis that marriage equality is an issue of fundamental human rights. Solicitors are important stakeholders in the legal system and the Law Society stepped up to its duty to show leadership on this issue.”