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Prison Law Seminar: 'Creative Use of Legal Instruments'

8th December 2011

Irish Penal Reform Trust, Irish Criminal Bar Association
and Dublin Solicitors Bar Association

With the Generous Support of the
Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The 8th in our series of Prison Law Seminars, co-hosted with the DSBA and the ICBA, on 'Creative Use of Legal Instruments' took place on Thurs 8th December, 2011. The seminar was presented by Caoilfhionn Gallagher BL, leading prison law practitioner with Doughty Street Chambers in London, the Chambers of Geoffrey Robertson QC and Edward Fitzgerald QC. The seminar was chaired by Paul McDermott SC.

Watch the presentation by Caoilfhionn Gallagher BL here.

About the Speaker:

Caoilfhionn Gallagher BL is a leading prison law practitioner with Doughty Street Chambers in London, the Chambers of Geoffrey Robertson QC and Edward Fitzgerald QC. Caoilfhionn is a human rights and civil liberties specialist, and has particular expertise in prison law and community care for children and vulnerable adults.  She is a Council of Europe expert on Articles 10 and 11 ECHR and she has co-authored a number of books, including the best-selling Oxford University Press textbooks, Blackstone’s Guide to the Human Rights Act (4th and 5th editions, 2007 and 2009), and Children in Need: local authority support for children and families (Legal Action Group, 2011).

Caoilfhionn’s practice is exclusively on the claimant side.  She is ranked as a ‘leading junior’ in public, administrative and civil liberties law by the UK legal directories, with particular mention given to her human rights work for adults and children in prison.  She has recently acted in a number of high-profile and sensitive prison cases, including a successful judicial review challenge to the Parole Board’s policies for Learco Chindamo, who was convicted of the murder of headteacher Philip Lawrence when a teenager; and civil claims for suicidal and self-harming prisoners ‘ghosted’ between prisons in 2009 to avoid them speaking to the Chief Inspector of Prisons. 

Her prison cases cover all aspects of imprisonment and resettlement, including prison discipline and segregation, healthcare and disability, sentence miscalculations, homeless children leaving custody, deaths in custody, separation of mothers and babies, and ‘outsourcing’ of Ministerial obligations to private sector organisations such as SERCO and G4S.  She also regularly takes prison cases to Strasbourg, and acts for prisoners wishing to transfer jurisdiction (including many UK-based Irish prisoners who wish to serve the remainder of their sentences in Ireland). 

Outside the prison context Caoilfhionn has recently represented bereaved families at the 7/7 inquests.  She is also currently acting in a series of test cases against police forces and other state bodies on behalf of the families of women killed by their ex-partners.

This seminar is part of an ongoing Legal Knowledge Exchange Project, run by the Irish Penal Reform Trust and Dublin Institute of Technology, and funded with the generous support of the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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