Comparative law and justice/Ireland

Part of the Comparative law and justice Wikiversity Project

Ampanciocco 20:27, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Basic Information


Country Demographics:

  • In 2008 6,197,100 people.
  • Ireland is currently divided into the Republic of Ireland which is 5/6

of the country and Northern Ireland which is 1/6 of the country and part of the United Kingdom.

  • Of the approximate 6.2 million people living in the country, 4.5 are in

the Republic and 1.8 are in Northern.

Geographical Information:

  • Ireland is seperated from Great Brittain by the Irish Sea. It is also surrounded by the Celtic Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
  • It is the 3rd largest island in Europe.
  • The key mountain is
  • Carrantoohil which is the highest point at 3,046 feet above sea level.
  • The country which is in Northern/Western Europe has a 600 mile

coastline and an area of 32,595.1 square miles.

  • The largest city in the Country is Dublin containing 1mil. people.
  • To the east of the island is Great Brittain and the longest river is

is the River Shannon which is 240 miles long.

  • The mild oceanic climate has frequent rain, however inland is warm in

the summer and cooler in the winter.

Ethnic Groups:

  • Those living in Ireland are either Irish or Ulster Scots and the largest is Christianity. 73% are Roman Catholic and the rest Protestant and 4% have none. A small ammount are also Jewish.
  • Less than 10% of the country speaks Irish and the rest speak English which is the

countries official language.

Economic Development:

  • Ireland began circulating the Euro in 2002.
  • GDP growth averaged 6% in 1995-2007, but the economy has dropped by over 3% in 2008, about 8% in 2009, and about 1% in 2010 and the countries unemployment rate is 13.7 percent.
  • The country grows turnips, barley potatoes, beets, wheat, dairy and beef and the main industries are silver, lead, steel, zinc, aluminum, food product, glass and crystal. The key exports are machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmecuticals, live animals and animal products. The key imports are chemicals, petroleum, textiles, machinery and clothing.
  • The GDP per capita is $37, 600 in 2010.(1][1]

Brief History


History of Nation: "1800. British rule over Ireland, present since the 12th century, is extended to the entire country by the 17th and 18th centuries and further centralized with the Act of Union in 1800 (whereby no parliament sat in Dublin anymore).

1870s. Strong national movement emerges in Ireland. The national political movement in favor of "home rule" succeeds in incorporating both members of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and peasant famers who seek land reform. But resistance on the part of conservative British governments and the strong will of the Protestant population of the northern province—Ulster—to remain in the union delays home rule.

1914-18. A more radical stream of nationalism begins.

1919-21. Guerrilla-style war for independence ensues. The Unionist population of Northern Ireland remains adamant that no granting of either home rule or independence to the island should include them.

1922. The Anglo-Irish treaty gives 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland independence from the United Kingdom with some symbolic restrictions, such as the retention of the crown as head of state. The remaining 6 counties in the north of the island remain part of the UK.

1923. Those for and against the treaty fight a civil war over the spoils of government and some over the retention of symbolic links with Britain, which ends in the capitulation of the anti-treaty forces, who then form the political party Fianna Fáil in 1926.

1925. Partition of the island into Eire and Northern Island is informally made permanent.

1938. More than a decade of politically provoked and disastrous "economic war" with Britain ends.

1940. Ireland declares itself neutral in World War II.

1949. Although informally a republic since 1937, Ireland is formally declared a republic.

1950s. Emigration increases rapidly, and rural poverty becomes widespread.

1960s. The inward looking, tariff-centered economic policies are rejected in favor of an open policy, but the state still plays a huge role in the economy.

1970s. High government spending increases the national debt to unsustainable levels and sparks off high inflation. The oil crisis of 1979 also hits the country hard.

1973. Ireland joins the European Economic Community, along with Britain and Denmark.

1980s. High inflation and unemployment levels alongside income tax that reach over 65 percent.

1987. Ireland endorses the Single European Act, which establishes the common European market. The first social partnership agreements of the 1980s negotiate a plan for national economic recovery.

1990s. Tighter fiscal policies, trade and enterprise-friendly economic policies, and social partnership agreements, alongside other factors such as the long-term benefits of EU transfers, facilitate a turnaround in the economic fortunes of the country.

1991. EU countries sign the Maastricht Treaty, which formalizes the plan for European Monetary Union and agrees on the ground rules for entry into EMU.

1994-98. Following the paramilitary cease-fire in Northern Ireland and long negotiations, a peace process results in political agreements between Britain, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.

1995-96. The economy shows strong growth and a significant increase in employment opportunities.

1998. Ireland endorses the Amsterdam Treaty, which extends EU co-ordination of social and security policy and enlargement.

1999. EMU is introduced and the European Central Bank takes over monetary powers in Ireland."[2]


Health, and Education

  • The infant mortality rate is 3.89 deaths and 1,000 live births.
  • The life expectancy is for males 77.86 years and for females 82.41 years.
  • The average amount of education is up to 18 years and the literacy rate for both males and females each is 99 percent. [3]


  • The President elect is the head of state.
  • The President signs and acts bills into law however he does not run the country.
  • The prime minister runs the country.
  • The Government also has different departments made up of people who are in charge of different areas of the government.[4]


  • The next general election is to be held by June 2012.
  • The countries government is made up of 166 people called Dail that hold seats.
  • Officials get their positions by Elections.
  • In order to vote, you have to be registered to and also a citizen.
  • You also must be atleast 18 years old on or by February 15th of the voting year.
  • Everyone votes in person with the exception of the Garda and those who are eligible due to disability or being ill.[5] [6]


  • The courts are organized by a Board who decides on judicial policies consisting of:chairperson thats chosen by the Chief Justice or another judge of the Supreme Court and sixteen other members.
  • "Courts Service do not include the administration of justice nor is the Service accountable for judicial decisions. Judges are totally independent when carrying out their judicial functions. They are employed directly by the State and not by the Courts Service. They act as members of the Courts Service Board or Committees of the Board in an administrative capacity."



  • On March 27, 2002, the 21st ammendment was signed banning the death penalty.
  • Corporal Punishment is allowed to occur in ones home within reason, however it is prohibited in schools and has been since 1982. It is also not allowed to be used as a sentence for a crime. [8]
  • Ireland uses both imprisonment and fines when it comes to crimes.
  • "There is no specific offence in law of child sex abuse. A person may be charged with rape, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault or with one of the specific offences relating to children"[9]
  • The maximum rape sentence is life in prison and the maximum sentence for assault is 10 years unless the victim is 17 or younger then it jumps to 14 years.
  • Prisons rates have rcently gone up causing prisons to become overcrowded, however, in 1995 Prison Service was established in order to make sure people were getting the proper treatment and that the conditions were safe in these prisons.
  • There are approximately 100 people per every 100,000 who are in prison. There are 14 prisons in Ireland which are scattered across the country.
  • Juvenilles which consists of girls under the age of 18 and boys under the age of 16 are sent to one of the four youth detention centers throughout the country.
  • The only disparity in judgment when it comes to punishment is age because that has an affect on where the person will be sent.
  • In Ireland, courts due have juries which citizens over the age of 18 are expected to serve on.The jury is made up of 12 members and after they are sworn in they elect a foreman similar to the United States courts system.[10]
  • In order to practice law a college education must be obtained and also a Barrister at Law post-graduate degree.A barrister is the type of lawyer in Ireland who gives professional legal advice, works in the courtroom and works with plees as opposed to the solicitors who usually hire them for clients because they are the people who the clients hire and they then work one on one with. Withought a BL people are not admitted to Irelands bar and some wish to be governed by the Bar Council of Ireland so that they can obtain higher rankings and be part of the "Inner Bar". All barristers also need seven years worth of apprenticeship before they are admitted.
  • Judges on the Supreme Court which is the highest court in Ireland are nominated by the president and these judges sit in groups of three, five or seven judges. After these courts comes the High Court and circuit court, the first two being located in Dublin along with Dublin's circuit court.
  • In Ireland "the presumption of innocence applies to all unconvicted persons. This is so whether they are unconvicted because the trial has not yet taken place or because a conviction has been quashed." [11]
  • Lawsuits in Ireland occur the exact same way as they do in the United States with the person seeking a solicitor and the solicitor then hiring someone for them. "Ireland is fast turning into the lawsuit capital of Europe." [12]

Law Enforcement

  • - Police force called An Garda Siochanna are in charge.
  • In order to join to the An Garda which is the police in Ireland you must be between the ages of 18 and 35. There is a physical competency plan that people must pass the test for and they must also have the following education requirements: "Candidates must have obtained in the Leaving Certificate: A grade not lower than B3 at Foundation Level or D3 at another level in Mathematics, and a qualifying grade in 2 languages, 1 of which must be English or Irish, as follows:

English: a grade not lower that D3 at Ordinary Level,Irish: a grade not lower than C3 at Foundation Level or D3 at another level,Other language: a grade not lower than D3 at Ordinary Level, and a grade not lower than D3 at Ordinary Level, in not less than 2 other subjects Or The Merit Grade in the Applied Leaving Certificate Or Like Grades in another examination, which, in the opinion of the Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform, is not of a lower standard than the above."

  • They also have to go through training which lasts 2 years and 22 weeks of that are spent studying.
  • The An Guarda feels that without the help of their community they can not succeed and they feel very strongly about everyone being involved to help prevent crime. They have a national crime unit and also Crime Prevention officers who are there not only to prevent crime, but to inform the community.
  • There are no different divisions, there are online crime prevention officers and regular officers.[13]
  • The Irish army which is divided into three different parts is made up of 8500 men and women from across the country. The army has an Air Corps and a Naval service. There roles include both defending the state and participating in encouraging international peace. The military police work very close with the countries police to maintain order and protect the country from harm and are very well supported by the governament.
  • Over the past decade, corruption in Ireland has been growing. " State tribunals, investigations and media revelations of wrongdoing in public and corporate life have heightened perceptions of corruption and led to a momentum for reform in many of our key institutions and systems."


  • Ireland is a single centralized police structure.

Crime Rates and Public Opinion

  • The department just got a computer system that can now be used throughout the nation.
  • Most common crimes are vandalism and robbery (mostly in Dublin). Many don't even other to report.
  • Majority of murders are gang and drug related and as gangs are getting ahold of more guns, more are getting killed.
  • There are currently more rapes than ever, however, very few are reported.
  • In 2010, there were about 100,000 serious reported crimes and also 4,000 assaults.
  • Dublin in the most dangerous place in Ireland.
  • This data can be found in many different locations and even on websites about visiting or moving to Ireland.
  • People in the country feel that crime is out of control and drug use is increasing.
  • The country is based on civil law not common.[15] [16]



CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND – BUNREACHT NA hÉIREANN BUNREACHT NA hÉIREANN CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND Enacted by the People 1st July, 1937 In operation as from 29th December, 1937 (To view click on link below)Constitution[17]

Family Law


Family court includes: Judicial Separation,Domestic Violence, Mediation, Maintenance, Divorce, Nullity, Collaborative law,Marriage exemptions,Care Orders, Passport issues, Custody, Paternity, Case progression, Separation agreement and Guardianship.

  • In Family court, no court cost fees are required and also only people the judge decides are fit to be in the room such as court officers, lawyers of both parties, etc. are allowed to be there due to privacy issues. It is not an open court room.
  • When it comes to marriage, both parties must be over the age of 18 unless the circuit court approves it and three months notice must be given on all marriages.
  • In order to get divorced the following standards need to have been met due to the fact that the divorce dissolves the marriage and allows both people to remarry:
  • "The parties must have been married and living apart for a period amounting to four out of

the previous five years before the application is madethere must be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation and proper arrangements must have been made or will be made for the spouse and any dependent members of the family."

Guardianship "The natural mother of a child is automatically a guardian of the child. Whether the father of a child is an automatic guardian depends on his relationship with the mother.The married mother and father of a child are the most common guardians and they are so entitled by virtue of section 6(1) of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964. However, for the father to have guardianship status, the parties must be married at the time of the birth of the child. Alternatively, he can aquire guardianship status if the parties marry after the birth of the child.The natural father of the child can apply to the court under section 6A of the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1964 (as inserted by section 12 of the Status of Children Act, 1987) to be appointed guardian.If the mother agrees to the father becoming a guardian there is no need to go to court. In this case both parents must complete a statutory declaration in the presence of a Peace Commissioner (Guardianship of Children (Statutory Declaration) Regulations, 1998 (S.I. No. 5 of 1998). This declaration states the name of both parents, that they are unmarried and that they agree to the father being appointed as a joint guardian. They then become joint guardians of the child. The declaration also states that the parents have agreed arrangements regarding custody and access. Where there is more than one child, a separate declaration must be made for each child. If the mother does not agree to the father becoming the child's guardian, then the father can apply to the court to be appointed as a joint guardian. This is possible, whether or not his name is on the child's birth certificate.Other relatives or persons in loco parentis can apply to the court to be guardians. Guardians may also be appointed under a parent's will or by court order. Guardians who have been appointed by will or by court order may also be removed."[18]

Citizenship People are qualified for this by birth, marrying and Irish citizen and by residence. The laws are as follows: 1. Anyone born in Ireland is an Irish citizen except children of diplomats with diplomatic immunity at the time. People born in Northern Ireland who are not Irish by descent must complete a special form before being considered Irish from birth.

2. If your mother or father was an Irish citizen born in Ireland, you are an Irish citizen even if born abroad.

  • But, if you were born outside Ireland, and your parent was an Irish citizen who was also born outside Ireland, you'll have to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs or an Irish embassy to become a citizen.
  • If you had an Irish-born grandparent, you may still become a citizen. But, you'll have to provide proof of direct kinship.
  • Documents which are used to establish Irish descent from parents and grandparents include their Irish birth, marriage, and death certificates. Of course, if your grandparents are still living, other documents such as passports and driving licenses may be filed instead of the death certificate. The Department of Foreign Affairs offers forms and full descriptions of the necessary documents. Contact them for the information you'll need.
  • If you've been married for at least three years to an Irish citizen who has themselves been a citizen for at least three years, you can apply for citizenship. This application is made to the Department of Justice.
  • You'll need to provide a marriage certificate, proof that the Irish spouse is Irish by birth or descent, and a statement from the Irish partner confirming that you're really living together as man and wife. If you haven't been married for three years, but wish to return to Ireland with your spouse, your spouse has a presumed "right of residence."
  • In other words, barring unusual circumstances like felony convictions in the spouse's background, you may both move to Ireland and live here together. Under rules which came into effect in April 1999, the non-Irish spouse may work in Ireland without a work permit. If the spouse is an EU citizen, he or she must register with the authorities, but no work permit is required. Here's more on work permits.
  • CJ makes this important point: "As a US citizen married to an Irish national for over three years, I am entitled to Irish citizenship. The only reason I want to get the citizenship and passport is so that I could travel thru the EU at some later date. For day to day living in Ireland, if you are a dependent of an Irish or EU citizen, you do not need citizenship for anything else. You are still entitled to all the social benefits as a resident and can still work."

* Spouses and Citizenship - 2005 and After...

  • Under Irish law, the spouse of an Irish citizen may obtain Irish citizenship by making a declaration of acceptance of Irish citizenship The declaration may be made not earlier than three years after the marriage to the Irish spouse. In cases where the Irish spouse obtained Irish citizenship after the marriage by birth or descent, a further three years of marriage from the date of the granting of citizenship must elapse before the application may be made.
  • As a result of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 2001, it will no longer be possible, after 30 November 2005, to become an Irish citizen by lodging a post-nuptial declaration at an Irish Embassy or Consulate. Instead, it will be necessary to apply to the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in Ireland for a certificate of naturalisation based on marriage to an Irish citizen and subject to a number of conditions, including residency in Ireland.
  • Please note that residency part! For a spouse to become an Irish citizen it will now be necessary to reside in Ireland!
  • Here is the relevant paragraph of the The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act as amended in 2005:

Naturalisation of spouses of Irish citizens. 15A.31(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 15, the Minister may, in his or her absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation to the non-national spouse of an Irish citizen if satisfied that the applicant (a) is of full age, (b) is of good character, (c) is married to that citizen for a period of not less than 3 years, (d) is in a marriage recognised under the laws of the State as subsisting, (e) and that citizen are living together as husband and wife and that citizen submits to the Minister an affidavit in the prescribed form to that effect, (f) had immediately before the date of the application a period of one years continuous residence in the island of Ireland, (g) had, during the 4 years immediately preceding that period, a total residence in the island of Ireland amounting to 2 years, (h) intends in good faith to continue to reside in the island of Ireland after naturalisation, and (i) has made, either before a judge of the District Court in open court or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows, a declaration in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

  • If you don't qualify to become a citizen by birth or marriage, you can still apply for naturalisation if you've lived in Ireland for 5 years. Examples of people who might benefit from such a situation would be those who have been working here over a long period of time using work permits, or non-Irish dependents of Irish citizens. Specific information, once again, is available at the Department of Justice / Email: Department of Justice.
  • The following conditions must obtain before the Minister will confer citizenship on someone after meeting the residency requirements:
  1. The applicant must be resident in the State
  2. The applicant must be 18 years of age or older.
  3. The applicant must have resided in the State for five of the nine years preceding the application.
  4. The last year of this period must have been one of continuous residence.
  5. The applicant must satisfy the Minister that they are of good character.
  6. The applicant must satisfy the Minister that they intend to reside in Ireland after naturalisation.
  • The applicant must make a formal declaration of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the state.

Persons studying in Ireland may not make an application. Study periods DO NOT Count toward the five year reckonable residence requirement when applying for naturalisation. It should be borne in mind that the Minister for Justice grants naturalisation at his or her "absolute discretion".

  • Ireland does not require foreign citizenship to be dropped in order to get an Irish passport. In other words, Ireland allows you to be simultaneously a citizen of Ireland and of another country. This dual citizenenship has, of course, many advantages, in that you can readily enter and exit both nations.
  • However, as a word of warning, many non-Irish governments do not allow dual citizenship, so you might have to give up your native citizenship to become an Irish citizen. Check with your native country's foreign affairs department for the rules that apply to you. Most notably, you can be a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland.[19]

Adoption - In Ireland it is now becoming more popular to adopt children and to even adopt them from different countries. - Before doing so HSE Adoption Service needs to be contacted and those who are eligble have to go through a process of whether or not they are fit to adopt and apply for an Adoption Order with the Adoption Authority in Ireland who goes through all of the paperwork and the full legal process. -When adopted, according to the law it is as if the children were born to the parents because like regular childbirth, it is permanent. - The highest court in Ireland is who deals with children who are removed from their parents and live with either another family member or another couple. - You must be 21 years old or older and a resident of Ireland unless you are a relative then onl;y one parent needs to be over the age of 21.

"The following persons are eligible to adopt: A married couple living together, A married person alone. The other spouse's consent to adopt must be obtained unless the couple is living apart and separated under a court decree or a deed of separation, or the other spouse has deserted the prospective adoptive parent or the other spouse's conduct has resulted in the prospective adoptive parent, with just cause, leaving the other spouse. The mother, father or relative of the child (relative meaning a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt of the child and/or the spouse of any such person, the relationship to the child being traced through the mother or the father); A widow or widower A sole applicant who is not in one of the categories listed above may only adopt where the Adoption Authority is satisfied that, in the particular circumstances of the case, it is desirable. It is not possible for two unmarried persons to adopt jointly. There are no legal upper age limits for adopting parents, but most adoption agencies apply their own." [20]

Inheritance in Ireland -Everyone over the age of 18 is allowed to create a will to be used after death. If there is no will then due to the Succession Act proceedings go as follows:

"The act governs two situations in relation to the share to which a spouse is entitled on the demise of his or her partner. In circumstances where a Will has been created by the demised partner, the act provides that at all times the surviving spouse will be entitled to a share as a legal right. In circumstances where there is a spouse and no issue, the spouse is entitled to one-half of the estate, irrespective of the provisions of the Will. In circumstances where there is a surviving spouse and children, the spouse is entitled to take a one-third of the estate, irrespective of the terms of the Will. In circumstances where there is a spouse and grandchildren or other remoter issue, but no immediate children, the spouse is entitled to take one-half of the estate, irrespective of the provisions of the Will. In circumstances where there is no Will, i.e. where an intestacy is created, where there is a surviving spouse but no children, the spouse is entitled to the whole estate. In circumstances where there is a spouse with children, the spouse is entitled to take two-thirds of the estate and in circumstances where there is a spouse and grandchildren, or other remoter issue, the spouse is entitled to two-thirds of the estate."[21]

Social Inequality

  • The Human Rights of people who are victims of sex trafficing do not have their rights protected the way that other people do.
  • People who are in same sex marriages are recognized as a couple however they do not have the same rights that couples of opposite sexes have.
  • Prisoners also do not have the same the rights as citizens. They are in overcrowded areas that are not physically acceptable for people to be living in.
  • Women in Ireland do not always have the right to have an abortion which they feel is wrong.

Human Rights

  • Irelands head of state is Michael D. Higgins and head of government is Enda Kenny.
  • In criminal law the right to silence was curtailed and assumptions are allowed to be made by whether or not a person remains silent when they are questioned by police.
  • Everyone in Ireland has the right to health especially when it comes to help with their mental health and the conditions of these facilities have to improve according to the countries latest report.
  • There is a large amount of inequality in Ireland to different groups of people in the country.[22]

Works Cited


[23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34]

  24. CIA World Factbook