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John M Kelly Memorial Lecture 2024

Judge Suzanne Kingston "On the role of constitutional identity: Teach solais or will-o’-the-wisp?”

10 years of Sutherland School of law banner

UCD Sutherland School of Law is delighted to welcome Judge Suzanne Kingston of the General Court of the European Union to deliver the John M Kelly Memorial Lecture. She is a Professor of Law at UCD and was a Senior Counsel practising at the Irish bar prior to her appointment to the bench. In UCD Sutherland School of Law, she led a major European Research Council funded project from 2015 to 2021.

We are particularly pleased that she will deliver the lecture in 2024 as the Sutherland School of Law celebrates a decade in the state-of-art law school building on the UCD campus with a very special evening.  For details of her lecture topic and an abstract, please scroll down this page.

Date: 18th of April

Title: “On the role of constitutional identity: Teach solais or will-o’-the-wisp?”

Time: 5:45pm  Registration (Tea/Coffee), Lecture starts at 6:15

Register:(opens in a new window) (opens in a new window)At this link

Note: All are welcome to attend this event but due to limited capacity, pre-registration is required.

Judge Suzanne Kingston

Judge Suzanne Kingston

Suzanne Kingston was appointed a Judge in the General Court of the European Union in 2022. She is also a Professor of Law at UCD where she has lectured since 2007. She has published widely in the field of European law and governance, especially in the environmental, competition and economic, and human rights fields. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she was a Senior Counsel practising at the Irish bar and regularly appeared before the Irish and European courts.

Professor Kingston is a graduate of Oxford University (BA in Law) and the University of Leiden, the Netherlands (LL.M. in European Community Law, Ph.D.). She served as a référendaire (legal adviser) in the cabinet of Advocate General Geelhoed at the European Court of Justice, Luxembourg from 2004-2006. Prior to this, she practised EU law at the Brussels office of an international law firm and was a stagiaire at the European Commission. She has held a variety of visiting positions, most recently as international visiting professor of law and adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, New York. She has previously held visiting positions at Cambridge University, the University of Leiden, Queen's University, Belfast, and Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto.

Professor Kingston was awarded a major research grant by the EU's European Research Council in 2015. The project which was completed in 2021 investigated how the design of EU nature governance laws affects their effectiveness  ((opens in a new window)http://effectivenaturelaws.ucd.ie). In 2017, she was honoured by Enterprise Ireland as one of Ireland's "Champions of EU Research", for achieving the highest-ranking Irish ERC grant across all disciplines in her category.

Lecture Abstract: “On the role of constitutional identity: Teach solais or will-o’-the-wisp?”
For years, the doctrine of constitutional identity has given rise to a heated debate: some have viewed it as a guiding light delimiting the boundaries of the EU and national legal orders; others argue that it is essentially an opportunity for constitutional relativism. In November 2022, the Irish Supreme Court stepped into the fray, invoking the doctrine for the first time in holding that it would be unconstitutional for Ireland to ratify the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Costello v Government of Ireland [2022] IESC 44).This lecture considers the utility and limits of the doctrine, in the light of the recent jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, CJEU and European Court of Human Rights. Is it, as some have argued, an important tool for protecting the autonomy of the (national or EU) legal order or, as others claim, a dangerous legal trump card with no definable boundaries?

John M. Kelly Memorial Lecture

The lecture series honours the memory of the late John M Kelly (1931 – 1991), former government minister, Attorney General and law professor in UCD. It has been hosted by the UCD School of Law for more than 20 years. It is one of the most prestigious events hosted by the School and, since its beginnings, many senior members of the Irish and international judiciary have delivered this lecture.

John M Kelly was Professor of Roman Law and Jurisprudence at UCD and a renowned expert in constitutional law. He was elected to the Seanad in 1969 and subsequently served as TD for Dublin South from 1973 - 1989, when he retired from politics. He served as a Junior Minister in the 70s and subsequently as Attorney General, acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Trade and Tourism. He was widely published in the area of constitutional law including the following publications: Fundamental Rights in Irish Law, Constituting Roman Litigation, Studies in Civil Jurisprudence of the Roman Republic and The Irish Constitution.

UCD Sutherland School of Law

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.