'Robinson Crusoe on a Desert Island'?: Judicial Education in Ireland, 1995-2019

Niamh Howlin, Mark Coen, Colette Barry, John Lynch

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Since 2019, Irish judicial education has been undergoing major structural change. Prior to the legislative establishment of the Judicial Council in that year, formal training for judges in Ireland was almost non-existent. Innovation in this area was limited to the holding of judicial conferences that occurred annually from the mid-1990s onwards. This paper places the training of Irish judges in its international context and analyses the reflections of 22 judges on how they learned the skills of judgecraft prior to the creation of a formalised system of judicial education and training. The data demonstrates that members of the judiciary engaged in a range of largely informal learning activities and provides insights into a hitherto unexplored aspect of Irish judicial culture. The data is also of broader significance in highlighting organic and unofficial aspects of judicial education, which can be overlooked in jurisdictions with highly-developed, formalised structures for training the judiciary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-545
Number of pages21
JournalLegal Studies
Issue number3
Early online date2 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 2 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Society of Legal Scholars.


  • judicial education
  • jury trials
  • Ireland


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