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Access to Justice Conference 2021

Event Type Zoom Webinar & Zoom Meeting
CPD Hours Dependant on the day(s) you attend. General (by eLearning).
Start Date 01 October 2021 at 9:00 AM
End Date 02 October 2021 at 2:00 PM


Select delivery method:

NOTE: when registering, if you do not have a Law Society account, choose ‘Other’. If you require assistance please email lspt@lawsociety.ie or call 01 8815727 or 01 6724935 

This Conference takes place from 9.00am to 12.15pm (Friday) and 8.50am to 2.00pm (Saturday). Places on Saturday 2nd October are limited. You must email us to book your place - see IMPORTANT information below.

Access to Justice conference 20201 - Chief Justice’s Working Group on Access to Justice
Organised by the Office of the Chief Justice in conjunction with the Law Society of Ireland, FLAC Free Legal Advice Centres, The Bar of Ireland and the Legal Aid Board. 

Click here for full programme and concept note

Equality before the law is a fundamental principle in a democratic state. To achieve it, there must be access to justice.  To that end, a Working Group on Access to Justice has been established by the Chief Justice which currently includes the following members:

  • Mr. Justice Frank Clarke, Chief Justice
  • Mr. Justice John MacMenamin, Judge of the Supreme Court
  • Mr. Joseph O’Sullivan BL, nominated by the Council of the Bar of Ireland
  • Ms. Attracta O’Regan, nominated by the Law Society of Ireland
  • Mr. Philip O’Leary, Chairperson, Legal Aid Board
  • Ms. Eilis Barry, Chief Executive, Free Legal Advice Centres

The Group recognises the concept of ‘access to justice’ is broad and multi-faceted, which requires a holistic approach and input from all key stakeholders, in order to identify barriers to access to justice and work to remove such barriers. The goal of the Group is to contribute to improving access to justice. 

Aim and Objectives 

The aim of this conference is to identify the strands of access to justice which will form the basis of the work of the Working Group on Access to Justice. It will put access to justice in its contextual framework and provide an opportunity for groups and individuals with unmet needs to engage in a conversation about what is needed to make improvements. 

Day 1: Friday 1 October, 9am - 12:15pm (Zoom webinar)

  • Access to Justice: Widening access, removing barriers, improving the process.
  • Reflecting on Access to Justice from ECHR and EU Perspectives.
  • Investing in Justice
  • The Courts Service’s Modernisation Programme


  • Mr. Justice Frank Clarke, Chief Justice 


  • Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Justice
  • Síofra O’Leary, Judge, European Court on Human Rights
  • Trevor C. W Farrow, Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and Chair of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice
  • Angela Denning, CEO, The Courts Service

Day 2: Saturday 2 October, 8:50am - 2pm (Zoom meetings)

(Note: Places on Day 2 are limited due to the nature of the workshops and the need to break attendees into Zoom breakout rooms. Please email LSPT @lawsociety.ie  to express your interest in attending a specific workshop. . See 'Important' information below)

  • Plenary - Introductory overview of unmet legal needs
  • Parallel workshops – choose from ONE of the following workshops which will be held in Zoom breakout rooms:
    • Awareness and Information
    • Access to Justice in Environmental Matters
    • Legal Community Outreach: advancing access to justice through education and awareness. 
  • Parallel workshops – choose from ONE of the following workshops which will be held in Zoom breakout rooms:
    • Accessibility of Courts: court procedures and legal representation
    • Access to Legal Services for People in Poverty and Disadvantaged Groups
    • Equal Treatment in the Court Process.
  • Plenary - Discussion of key points arising out of workshops led by the moderators from 1:00pm - 1:30pm 
  • Closing remarks by Justice Frank Clarke, Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Donal O' Donald Judge of Supreme Court and Designate Chief Justice


  • Professor Gerry Whyte, Trinity College Dublin 


  • Eilis Barry, CEO, Free Legal Advice Centres


  • Sinéad Lucey, Managing solicitor, FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres)
  • Professor Áine Ryall, University College Cork
  • Attracta O'Regan, Solicitor, Head Law Society of Ireland Professional Training, CCBE Rule of Law Advisor
  • Mary Carolan, Courts Correspondent, Irish Times
  • Philip O’Leary, Chair, Legal Aid Board
  • David Fennelly BL 


  • Michael Owens, Citizens Information Board
  • Marianne Cassidy, Head of Civil Reform-Modernisation Programme, Courts Service
  • Ray Byrne, Former Full-time Commissioner, Law Reform Commission
  • Mark Benton QC, CEO, Legal Aid BC, British Columbia TBC
  • Rose Wall, CEO, Community Law and Mediation
  • Colleen Dube, CEO, National Adult Literary Agency
  • Karin Dubsky, Coastwatch
  • The Hon. Justice Brian J. Preston, Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales
  • The Hon. Mr. Justice Garrett Simons, Judge of the High Court of Ireland
  • James Connolly SC, Chair, Planning, Environmental and Local Government Bar Association
  • The Hon. Mr. Justice John MacMenamin, Judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland
  • Katherine McVeigh BL
  • John Lunney, Solicitor
  • Maura Howe, Head of Media and Communications, The Courts Service of Ireland
  • Colin Smith BL, Adjunct Lecturer, School of Law, Trinity College Dublin
  • Gráinne McKeever, Professor of Law and Social Justice, University of Ulster
  • His Honour Judge Francis Comerford, Judge of the Circuit Court
  • Gary Lee, Solicitor, Ballymun Community Law Centre
  • Turlough O’Donnell SC
  • Éamonn Conlon SC, Solicitor, Arbitrator, Mediator
  • Marc Willers QC
  • Brian Killoran - CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland
  • Senator Eileen Flynn
  • The Hon. Ms. Justice Mary Laffoy, Chair of Sage Advocacy
  • Tricia Kelithy, Head of Social Justice and Policy, Society of St.Vincent de Paul
  • Bashir Otukoya, Assistant Professor, School of Law and Government, Dublin City of University
  • Robbie Sinnott, Activist for Human Rights of Disabled People
  • Fiona Donnelly, Queens University Belfast
  • Ms. Justice Mary Irvine, President of the High Court
  • Dr Fiona Donson, Director, Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, University College Cork
  • Sinead Gibney, Chief, Irish Human Rights and Equality Authority
  • Tamara Lewis, Employment Tribunal Judge, United Kingdom
  • Susan Kennefick, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Advisor. National Disability Authority

Click here for full programme and concept note


  •  Places on Saturday 2nd October are limited due to the nature of the workshops and the need to break attendees into Zoom breakout rooms. Please email LSPT @lawsociety.ie  to express your interest in attending a specific workshop. The Law Society Professional Training team will contact you (by email in the first instance) to confirm availability. You will then be pre-assigned to that workshop for the purposes of Zoom breakout rooms.
  • Registrants will be sent a link for Friday’s Zoom webinar and a separate link for Saturday’s Zoom meeting
  • If you require sign language interpretation or other assistance, please let us know so that we can make appropriate arrangements.
  • Solicitors may now complete the entire 2021 CPD requirement of 20 hours online. For more information see www.lawsociety.ie/CPDscheme
  • View our Privacy Statement  
  • If you have technical or other queries, contact a member of the team on: LSPT @lawsociety.ie