Irish Penal Reform Trust

Prison Law

IPRT is committed to promoting and supporting the development of prison litigation in Ireland. Since 2009, we have co-hosted with the ICBA and the DSBA a series of Prison Law Seminars. This series has provided CPD accredited expert seminars for barristers and solicitors on topical issues of prison law and also provided a platform for exchange of ideas and information between leading practitioners in this area.

We have also provided support and assistance for both barristers and solicitors involved in prison litigation. This has involved research on legal developments internationally or at the ECHR level, identifying potential expert witnesses, and directly providing expertise and information on the operation of the prison system.  We will continue to provide this support and we welcome contact from any practitioners who would like assistance with relevant litigation.

IPRT Prison Law Paper: Taking Prison Law Cases - a Practical Approach

29th June 2012

This paper seeks to address some practical aspects of taking prison law cases such as the causes of action available, matters relating to evidence, the possible role of interested agencies, and the effect of the release or transfer of a prisoner on a claim.

IPRT Prison Law Paper: Prison conditions under Irish law and the European Convention on Human Rights

29th June 2012

This is part of a series of papers, one of which examines accountability structures and the law regulating Irish prisons; the other explores practical matters surrounding the taking of prison law cases.

IPRT Prison Law Briefing: Barriers to accessing justice

28th June 2012

In this briefing, IPRT examines barriers to prisoners seeking to access justice, specifically through legal proceedings, and makes a number of recommendations directed at prison policy-makers, but also the legal profession.

IPRT Prison Law Bulletin: No. 5 – Spring 2012

10th April 2012

Among the highlights of this bulletin are Irish High Court decisions on the transfer of sentenced persons and remand; a large volume of new ECHR prison conditions cases; UK decisions on slopping out and on media interviews with prisoners; and a potentially significant US case on solitary confinement.

Prison Law Seminar: Prisoner Complaints and Obstacles to Prisoner Litigation

29th March 2012

On Thursday 29th March, IPRT co-hosted the latest in our series of Prison Law Seminars, this time on the topic of 'Prisoner Complaints and Obstacles to Prisoner Litigation'.

Prison Law Seminar: 'Creative Use of Legal Instruments'

8th December 2011

The 8th in our series of Prison Law Seminars took place on Thurs 8th December, 2011 on the topic 'Creative Use of Legal Instruments: Current Prison Law Developments in England and Wales', presented by Caoilfhionn Gallagher BL, leading prison law practitioner.

IPRT Prison Law Bulletin: No. 4 – Winter 2011

5th December 2011

Highlights of this bulletin are two Irish cases related to immigration-related detention and one related to the concept of “guilty knowledge” in section 15A offences; a new UK case on the lawfulness of an extended period of segregation for safety purposes; and a large number of ECtHR decisions addressing the violation of a prisoner’s family rights, prison conditions including overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions.

The Prospects for Prison Law in Ireland

1st December 2011

In a guest blog on, Liam Herrick writes on the potential for the use of the courts to advance penal reform in Ireland.

IPRT Prison Law Bulletin: No. 3 – Autumn 2011

25th October 2011

Among the highlights of this bulletin are two Court of Criminal Appeal cases involving sentencing of Section 15A drug possession offences – Wall and Ormonde; a new Scottish case Docherty et al on slopping-out; a potentially significant US Supreme Court decision on mandatory strip searching - even for people detained for minor offences and fine default - in Florence v Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington & Others; and a large number of ECtHR decisions.

IPRT Prison Law Bulletin: No. 2 – Summer 2011

18th July 2011

Highlights in this bulletin are the recent significant High Court decision in Kinsella; a new Scottish case Green and Ors on slopping-out; the ground-breaking US Supreme Court decision on overcrowding in Brown v Plata; and a large number of ECtHR decisions.

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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