Over 450 attend Society of Legal Scholars Conference in Sutherland School of Law

Plenary Session

At the SLS Conference, The Right Hon. Lord Mance, (speaking) was part of a distinguished panel that included The Hon. Lady Wolfe, The Hon. Ms Justice O’Malley, The Right Hon. Sir Morgan and was chaired by the Hon. Mr Justice O’Donnell.

Four Events: One Week

For the first time in its 108 years, the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) Annual Conference took place outside of the UK in 2017 on the theme The Diverse Unities of Law.  The UCD Sutherland School of Law was honoured to welcome this renowned legal conference to Dublin.  Professor Imelda Maher, now Dean of Law and President of the Society 2016-2017 was responsible for this prestigious conference  ably supported by a team a colleagues and enthusiastic student volunteers.   The Conference attracted over 470 delegates  in early September who presented over 300 papers  in 28 subject sections    The main conference dinner was in the magnificent setting of The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, with UCD alumnus Professor Conor Gearty   London School of Economics as guest speaker

Highlights of the SLS Conference in Dublin were three plenaries with distinguished panelists that included legal scholars and members of the judiciary of the UK and Ireland.  For the opening plenary ‘The Diverse Unities of the Common Law’ the conference was especially honoured to welcome Baroness Brenda Hale of Richmond (new President of The UK Supreme Court) as chair of the panel with Professor Ambreen Manji (Cardiff University), Associate Professor Kevin Costello (UCD), Professor Peter Cane (ANU and Cambridge University). At later panel on the theme of the conference the Society and the School were greatly honoured to welcome distinguished members of the judiciary from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  The Hon. Mr. Justice Donal O’Donnell (Supreme Court of Ireland) chaired the panel with The Right Hon. Lord Mance (UK Supreme Court), y The Rt. Hon. Sir Declan Morgan (Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland), The Hon. Ms. Justice Iseult O’Malley (Supreme Court of Ireland) and The Hon. Lady Wolffe (Senator of the College of Justice, Scotland).   The Society and School were delighted to welcome The Hon Mr Justice Frank Clarke, the new Chief Justice of Ireland who chaired a session in the environmental law section.


UCD College of Social Sciences and Law Principal, Prof Colin Scott (centre) chaired a plenary panel at the SLS Conference which included (from left), Prof Carol Tan, SOAS,  Prof Toni Williams University of Kent,, Prof Anne Davies, University of Oxford and Prof Carly Stychin, City Law School, London.

 ‘Leadership and Diversity in Law Schools’ was discussed in a panel of Heads of Schools (Professor Toni Williams (Kent), Professor Anne Davies (Oxford), Professor Carol Tan (SOAS), Professor Carl Stychin (City), and chaired by the UCD Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion,  Professor Colin Scott.).

The location of the conference in Ireland was the inspiration for one of the seminars which focused on the contribution of the Irish Diaspora to Legal Scholarship. Panelists included Professor Liz Campbell (Durham University), Dr. Donal Coffey (Max Planck Institute, Frankfurt); Associate Professor Aileen Kavanagh (Oxford University); Dr Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou (Liverpool). This seminar was chaired by Professor Imelda Maher, President of the SLS and Dean of Law in UCD.

On the final afternoon of the conference, a Joint Seminar of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns, The Society of Legal Scholars and UCD Sutherland School of Law discussed ‘The Common Law and Brexit: A New Frontier?. The panel consisting of Mr. Conleth Bradley SC; Dr. Catherine Donnelly BL; Ms. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC (UCD law alumnus of the year 2017); Mr. Paul Gallagher SC Professor was chaired by Prof Conor Gearty.  

A joint seminar between the British Association of Comparative Law and the Irish Society of Comparative Law, organized with support from Dr. Marie-Luce Paris, was held before the SLS conference on ‘Comparing UK and Irish law: A Special Relationship?’ Outcomes of the seminar are available at this link.

On the first day, the annual SLS graduate conference was organized by a team of UCD PhD Law students led by Dr Andrew Jackson, bringing together those PhD students who were successful in the highly competitive call for papers.

The 109th Annual Conference of the Society in 2018 will be held at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Baroness Hale of Richmond with Professor Peter Cane of Cambridge (left) and Professor Andrew Burrows of Oxford

Baroness Hale of Richmond with Professor Peter Cane of Cambridge (left) and Professor Andrew Burrows of Oxford (former SLS President)

Professor Ambreen Manji (Cardiff University), Associate Professor Kevin Costello (UCD), The Hon. Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley with Chief Justice, The Hon. Mr  Justice Frank Clarke

UCD’s Prof Imelda Maher MRIA (President of SLS) with Professor Jenny Steele, University of York (former President of SLS)

Ten of the top legal publishers in the UK were represented at the SLS conference

Gerard Hogan

The Hon. Mr Justice Gerard Hogan attending one of the conference plenaries


A group of the Sutherland School of Law students who worked as interns at the conference

 Professor Martin Louglin, London School of Economics and Professor Peter Alldridge, QMUL (incoming President SLS)