LAW06080 0000 Legal Systems

General Details

Full Title
Legal Systems
Transcript Title
Legal Systems
N/A %
Subject Area
LAW - Law
SOCS - Social Sciences
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
0000 - The Beginning of Time
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Ruth Walsh, Breda McTaggart, Deirdre McCaffrey
Programme Membership
SG_GLAWB_H08 202100 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Law and Business

Ireland belongs to the common law system of legal families. The objective of this module is to ensure that students have a broad overview of the structure of the Irish legal system and its operation in order to progress and grasp the effect of substantive legal rules. Following a firm understanding of each source of law and their relative position within the Irish hierarchical legal system, the module concentrates on statutory interpretation, the administration of justice, alternative dispute mechanisms and reform.  An overarching view of human rights law is also considered in the module. At the end of the module, students should have an appreciation of the economic, social and political context of the Irish legal system.   

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Trace the development of the Irish legal system, identifying the sources of law and their relative positions of authority within that system. 


Explore the structure, composition and jurisdiction of the Irish court system including judicial independence and the significance of precedent. 


Demonstrate an understanding of international human rights law and its impact on the Irish legal system 


Describe techniques of statutory interpretation  


Examine the expanding practical alternatives to court based litigation in the resolution of disputes. 


Discuss the need/requirement for law reform 

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The teaching and learning strategy is one which is founded on student-centered active learning. This module will be delivered by a mixture of lectures and tutorial support as appropriate.  A range of Computer-Aided Learning (CALL) packages are available to support this module (e.g. Moodle, Adobe Connect, Panopto, Teams). 

Module Assessment Strategies

This module will be assessed by continuous assessment (50%) and an end of semester exam (50%).

Repeat Assessments

Repeat assessment/exam will be developed as appropriate to assess failed components.

Indicative Syllabus

1. Introduction to the Irish Legal system 

  • Nature and Purpose of law  
  • Development of the Irish Legal System
  • Classification of Law  
  • The Rule of Law 

2. Sources of law 

  • The Common law 
  • The Constitution
  • Legislation;  Process and statutory Interpretation
  • European Union law
  • International law  

  3. Administration of Justice in Ireland

  • Personnel of the law 
  • Structure of the court system 
  • Practice and procedure in the Courts
  • Decisions of the Courts: remedies and enforcement  
  • Access to Law

4. Precedent and Law Reform 

  • Doctrine of Precedent 
  • Doctrine of Stare Decisis
  • Law reports 
  • Law reform mechanisms/agencies.

5. Alternative methods of dispute resolution 

  • Arbitration
  • Mediation and Conciliation
  • Ombudsman.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
50 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
50 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Quiz Continuous Assessment Assessment 20 % Week 3 1,2
2 Written assignment Continuous Assessment Assignment 30 % Week 7 3,4,5,6

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Examination Final Exam Closed Book Exam 50 % Week 12 1,2,3,4,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Not Specified In class learning 2 Weekly 2.00
Tutorial Not Specified learning activities 1 Weekly 1.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Independent learning 4 Weekly 4.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2013 The Irish Legal System
ISBN 1905536585 ISBN-13 9781905536580

This is the first book launching the new Core Law Text series by Clarus Press. Written specifically for the student, the book provides a comprehensive, accurate, and accessible account of the nature, structure, and functions of the Irish legal system. It includes a coherent account of the constitutional principles and institutional structures which form the building blocks of the Irish legal system, including references to and explanations of important areas of substantive law. Each chapter examines key legal principles and puts each area of law into context. The book also includes a clear statement of the intended learning outcomes to help direct and focus the students' learning. Diagrams, tables, flow-charts, and summaries are utilized to reinforce the information and provide quick visual cues for the understanding of key points contained in the text. The book is fully up-to-date and includes recent legislative and constitutional changes and amendments to EU law. It also includes international treaties between EU Member States to which Ireland has recently become a party. This will be an essential textbook for undergraduate students and others with an interest in the Irish legal system. (Series: The Core Text Series)

Recommended Reading
2014-09-30 Byrne and Mccutcheon on the Irish Legal System Bloomsbury Professional
ISBN 1780435002 ISBN-13 9781780435008

Byrne and McCutcheon on the Irish Legal System, 6th edition provides an excellent introduction to the legal system in Ireland and is essential for any student starting legal studies in Ireland. Beginning with an overview of the Irish Legal system and its history, it proceeds to discuss the profession and the law officers of the state including changes in the organisation of the profession in other common law states. It includes all the changes to the court systems and structure, Irish Constitution and EC Law since the last edition published in 2009. Byrne and McCutcheon on the Irish Legal System is an invaluable introduction to the law and provides an accessible and comprehensive point of reference for practitioners and students alike and is an essential text for students of Irish law. Key legislation and case law includes: Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011; The Thirty-Third Amendment of the Constitution (resulting in the creation of a new Court of Appeal); Arbitration Act 2010. Previous edition ISBN: 9781845922788

Recommended Reading
2015-08-15 Fundamentals of the Irish Legal System
ISBN 1858007127 ISBN-13 9781858007120

Fundamentals of the Irish Legal System is part of a new series of textbooks for students Round Hall Fundamentals. It explains and critically assesses how our law is made and applied and provides a solid knowledge and understanding of the Irish legal system. It sets down and examines the Irish legal system in a clear and accessible manner, while also requiring the student to think about deeper issues relating to law and its interaction with society. As well as providing students with an extremely accessible text on the Irish legal system it also covers wider policy questions. * Focuses on what is the law, sources of law, how the law is used, the civil and criminal court systems, alternative dispute resolution, the role of judges, solicitors and barristers in the Irish legal system and administrative justice. * Explains the intricacies of this area of the law in an accessible manner, while also providing some analysis and discussion on key areas and controversies. * Presents the information in an accessible manner. * Enables students to self test so that they are confident in their knowledge before moving onto the next chapter * Includes a section on how to find, read and analyse legislation, cases, other textbooks and journal articles so that students can put their knowledge into practice Key learning features include: * A clear and logical structure * Sets out a clear framework and explains the intricacies of the law as clearly as possible without foregoing the detail necessary for a thorough understanding of the issues raised * Includes practical examples, tips, and advice * Handy chapter summaries which act as a good check point for students * Sources for further reading and suggested websites at the end of each chapter to point students towards further learning * Opens each chapter with a bulleted outline of the main concepts and ideas to be covered in that chapter and closes each chapter with a summary to recap the main points * Assumes no prior knowledge of the subject - allowing the book to be used for those new to the subject, yet also contains interesting insights and materials for those who have some exposure to the issues examined. About the authors Liam Thornton is a lecturer in law and director of clinical legal education in the School of Law, University College Dublin. Tanya Ni Mhuirthile is a senior lecturer in law in Griffith College Dublin. Catherine O'Sullivan teaches in the Law Department of University College Cork

Required Reading
2010-01-01 The Irish Legal System Round Hall
ISBN 1858005949 ISBN-13 9781858005942

This is brand new title in our very popular Nushell Series. Contents: Sources of Irish Law, the Common Law and Equity, Divisions of Irish Law, the Judiciary and other Personnel of the Law, the Courts, the Constitution, Legislation, Precedent, EU Law, International Law, Remedies and Enforcement, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Dorothy Donovan, LL.B., LL.M., Barrister at Law, is a practising barrister, a lecturer in law at the Wexford Campus of the Institute of Technology Carlow and is a Vice-Chairman of the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

Recommended Reading
2012 Principles of Irish Human Rights Law
ISBN 190553650X ISBN-13 9781905536504

As part of the successful "Principles" series, Clarus Press has published Principles of Irish Human Rights Law: the first student textbook in Ireland dedicated to the direct comparison of the Irish and European systems for the protection of human rights. Designed and written specifically for students of human rights law, the book discusses and analyzes each key 'human right' in turn. Each right is examined through the three primary human rights instruments: the Irish Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Each instrument is examined and explained, giving an overview of the particular right, discussing and analyzing in which situations that the right is engaged, and including an examination of situations which constitute an interference with the right and what justifications may arise for such interferences. Principles of Irish Human Rights Law examines the often-neglected area of procedural issues, including the initial application of human rights instruments in Ireland, together with their territorial and extra-territorial jurisdiction. In addition, the book looks at the effect of the Charter of Fundamental Rights together with the future of the Irish Constitution and the ECHR. This book is a must for all students of human rights law and related subjects. It will also be an invaluable resource for all lawyers requiring a reference to human rights issues as a comprehensive yet accessible text aiding clearer understanding of the application of human rights in Ireland.

Required Reading
2012 Arbitration Act 2010 and Model Law
ISBN 190553647X ISBN-13 9781905536474

The introduction of the Arbitration Act 2010 has radically changed existing arbitration law and practice in Ireland. This book provides a detailed and concise, section-by-section commentary on the Arbitration Act 2010 and the UNCITRAL Model Law with the aim of setting out the current law and practice governing arbitration in Ireland. In this accessible work, each provision is reproduced in full with detailed commentary, providing an appreciation of the meaning and effect of each provision. The book considers all materials that may be helpful to a future Irish court called upon to interpret the provisions of the Arbitration Act 2010, including not only Irish materials, but also international materials, such as case-law, the UNCITRAL travaux preparatoires, and secondary materials from leading commentators.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources
Journal Resources
URL Resources
  •   #
  • www.lawsociety 
  • www.lawlibrary  
Other Resources
Additional Information