The John M. Kelly Memorial Lecture 

Lord Jonathan Sumption: ‘Law, Legitimacy and the Nation State’.

The School looks forward to welcoming Lord Jonathan Sumption OBE to deliver the next John M. Kelly Memorial Lecture.  Please note that the lecture was originally scheduled to take place on 26 March 2020, this date has now been cancelled due to Covid 19 restrictions.  A new date will be announced in due course.


Lord Jonathan Sumption

Lord Sumption is a former senior British judge, an accomplished author and medieval historian. He served as a Justice of the UK Supreme Court from 2012 to 2018. He has written several books of Medieval history and four books on the Hundred Years War.  He is an entertaining and engaging speaker and his opinion is frequently sought by media commentators on a wide range of subjects including many political, social and legal issues.

John M. Kelly Memorial Lecture

The lecture series honours the memory of the late John M. Kelly (1931 – 1991) and has been hosted by the UCD School of Law for more than 20 years.

John M. Kelly was born in Dublin and educated at Glenstal Abbey, UCD, Heidelberg University, Oxford University and the King’s Inns. He studied a number of law courses and qualified as a barrister. He was a fellow and a lecturer at Trinity College Oxford from 1961-65; Professor of Roman Law and Jurisprudence at UCD from 1965; and also edited The Irish Jurist from 1966-73.

As an expert in constitutional law, he had various law publications including: Fundamental Rights in Irish Law, Constituting Roman Litigation, Studies in Civil Jurisprudence of the Roman Republic and The Irish Constitution. John Kelly was elected to Seanad Eireann 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.

John M. Kelly died suddenly on January 24, 1991 aged 59 years.