Griffith Law Lecturers Present Research at IALT Conference

Law Faculty IALT

From November 11th to 13th, members of the Griffith College Law Faculty attended the Irish Association of Law Teachers (IALT) Annual Conference held at Queens University Belfast.

At the conference, Karen Sutton, the Head of Faculty, as well as programme directors, Shauna Colgan, John Eardly, Marcus Gatto and Dr. Lauren O’Connell presented their research to members of the IALT from around the country. The Faculty presented papers on a varied and interesting range of topics as detailed below.

Karen Sutton, Head of the Griffith College Law Faculty, wrote a paper on Determining the capacity of a minor and their subsequent participation in the medical decision-making process. The paper considered the capacity of minors and mature minors in respect of medical decision-making. Particular emphasis was made in respect the capacity of minors and the positioning of capacity within UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, Convention on Biomedicine and Human Rights.

Consideration was also given to the provision of informed consent by a minor, and the need to balance the protection of the minor and who can contribute to the decision-making process with the participation of the minor in healthcare decision-making.

John Eardly is the Programme Director of the LLB (Hons) in Law. John presented his paper on Multiculturalism, Interculturalism and Cultural Diversity: Some Implications For The Delivery of Law Programmes in Ireland. The paper analysed the concepts of multiculturalism and interculturalism for the delivery of Law Programmes in an Irish and international context. Particular emphasis was placed on how these concepts can improve teaching practices, assessments, learner performance and programme design, specifically at third-level/undergraduate level.

Important differences between multiculturalism and interculturalism were also highlighted in the context of constructing an appropriate model of delivery of law programmes suitable to both domestic and international learners. Finally, the paper examined the role of the lecturer in the development and delivery of this form of intercultural education.  

Dr. Lauren O’Connell presented a paper titled ‘Encouraging Reflection on Criminal Justice Narrative Scholarship’, which was based on a paper co-authored with Dr Deirdre Healy of the UCD Sutherland School of Law. Their paper examined the construction and employment of criminal justice narratives.

The paper interrogated four key features of policy and practice narratives, namely that narratives (a) operate at multiple levels of analysis (b) are shaped by diverse and sometimes agonistic voices (c) are informed by vertical and horizontal influences and (d) are fluid and dynamic, and as such can vary temporally and situationally. These features have important implications for how we conceptualise, understand and employ narratives to understand policy and practice developments. The paper concludes that scholarship in this area would benefit from a more critical and reflexive conversation on the nature, uses, strengths and limitations of criminal justice narratives.

Shauna Colgan is the Programme Director for the Diploma in Legal Studies and Practice, Certificate in Legal Practice and Certificate in Legal Studies courses in the Law Faculty. Surrogacy in Ukraine and the Provision of Irish Citizenship and Travel Documents to Resultant Children was the title of Shauna’s paper and it provided an overview of both Irish and Ukrainian law relating to surrogacy as well as a discussion of the provision of Irish citizenship rights and travel documents to children born to Ukrainian surrogate mothers on behalf of Irish intending parents. It discussed the inadequacy of the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022, in its current form, in responding to current lacunas in the law and examined the conclusions of the Joint Committee on International Surrogacy.

Marcus Gatto is Programme Director for the LL.B. (Hons) degree programme (via blended learning) and co-presented his paper entitled Outside Seeking In? Medically-Supervised Injecting Facilities: Inclusive Possibilities and Community Responses for People who Inject Drugs with Dr Sarah Bryan O’Sullivan of the Open University. The paper examined the historical evolution of drug policy and law in Ireland surrounding people who inject drugs. It specifically examined continuing legal impediments to the opening of a medically-supervised injection facility in Dublin city centre and critically examined this process with relation to the theme of the conference: ‘Law’s Capacity for Shaping the World: Inclusion, Exclusion and Omission.’

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