Celebrating the Launch of Legal History Books from Sutherland Staff

‌‌Professor Hector MacQueen from the University of Edinburgh recently launched two books published by colleagues at the School of Law. During an engaging and thought-provoking lecture, he pointed out that while both are books on Irish legal history, they differ in time period, subject matter and methodology. Niamh Howlin's 'Juries in Ireland: Laypersons and Law in the Long Nineteenth Century' is a work of socio-legal history, while Thomas Mohr's 'Guardian of the Treaty: The Privy Council Appeal and Irish Sovereignty'  can be described as constitutional legal history. Between them, the two books represent the breadth and diversity of legal history scholarship in the School. Professor MacQueen congratulated both authors and noted that the discipline of legal history is clearly alive and well at UCD.

Juries in Ireland:Laypersons & Law in the Long Nineteenth Century

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a wide range of legal issues were decided, not by professional judges, but by panels of laypersons. This book considers various categories of jury, including the trial jury, the coroner’s jury, the grand jury, the special jury and the manor court jury. It also examines some lesser-known types of jury such as the market jury, the wide-streets jury, the lunacy jury, the jury of matrons and the valuation jury. Who were the men (or women) qualified to serve on these juries, and how could they be compelled to act? What were their experiences of the justice system, and how did they reach their decisions? The book also analyses some of the controversies associated with the Irish jury system during the period, and examines problems facing the jury system, including the intimidation of jurors; bribery and corruption; jurors delivering verdicts against the weight of evidence and jurors refusing to carry out their duties. It evaluates public and legal perceptions of juries and contrasts the role of the nineteenth-century jury with that of the twenty-first-century. Further details here.

Niamh Howlin is a lecturer in the Sutherland School of Law at University College Dublin. She has published extensively on the nineteenth-century Irish jury system, as well as on other aspects of criminal justice history and contemporary issues surrounding jury trial.

Guardian of the Treaty: The Privy Council Appeal and Irish Sovereignty

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was the final appellate court of the British Empire. In 1935 the Irish Free State was recognized as the first part of the Empire to abolish the appeal to the Privy Council. This book examines the controversial Irish appeal to the Privy Council in the wider context of the history of the British Empire in the early 20th century. In particular, it analyses Irish resistance to the imposition of the appeal in 1922 and the attempts to abolish it at the Imperial conferences of the 1920s and 1930s.

This book also outlines the means by which Irish governments attempted to block Privy Council appeals.  It examines the reality of claims that the Privy Council appeal offered a means of safeguarding the rights of the Protestant minority within the Irish Free State. Finally, it reveals British intentions that the Privy Council act as the guardian and enforcer of the settlement embodied in the 1921 Anglo Irish Treaty. The conclusion to this work explains why the Privy Council was unsuccessful in protecting this settlement. Further details here.

Thomas Mohr is an Associate Professor at the School of Law, University College Dublin. He is honorary secretary of the Irish Legal History Society.

Prof Hector MacQueen speaking at the Sutherland School of Law

Dr Niamh Howlin, Prof Hector MacQueen, Dr Thomas Mohr