Report on Litigation Funding and Class actions Launched

A joint report by the ISEL and litigation funding and class actions, prepared by the Irish Society for European Law (ISEL) and EU Bar Association Ireland was formally launched by Chief Justice Frank Clarke at an event in the Law Library of Ireland to mark the occasion.

The report assesses whether litigation in Ireland is being stifled through a lack of third-party litigation funding and class actions in this jurisdiction.  It as presented to Mr Justice Clarke by Aoife Beirne BL, Chair of the ISEL, at the event and is available to download here.

Time spent in prison ‘cannot count towards EU residence’

The first weeks of 2014 and the closing weeks of 2013 saw the European Court of Justice deliver a number of interesting decisions.

In cases C-378/12 and C-400/12 Onuekwere, the court concluded that periods of time spent in prison cannot be counted as part of the five years of legal residence after which one is entitled to permanent residence in an EU Member State.

The plaintiff in this case, Mr Onuekwere (a Nigerian national who was entitled to reside in the UK with his Irish wife) sought permanent residence on the basis that his stay in the UK had exceeded five years, despite that residence have being punctuated by a number of prison sentences.

The court further held that even those periods spent at liberty in the UK before and after Mr Onuekwere’s incarcerations could not be aggregated in order to meet the five year requirement.

The rights of gay couples in civil partnerships received a fillip from the Court of Justice’s decision in Case C-267/12 Hay.

Mr Hay, who had concluded a French civil partnership with his partner, sought to avail of certain benefits provided for married employees in a collective agreement negotiated by his employer with employee representatives.

The court concluded that in those member states in which gay marriage was not available (such as France at the time), the denial of such benefits to gay couples in civil partnerships while providing them to married couples was discriminatory and a breach of EU law.

Away from the European courts, the European Commission has been investigating some novel breaches of EU law. In December the premises of a number of consumer electronics manufacturers (including Samsung and Philips) were raided by commission representatives investigating potential breaches of competition law arising from restrictions placed by manufacturers on the online sale of their products.

Such restrictions (known as ‘vertical restraints’) can harm consumer choice and price competition but have not previously been the focus of large-scale enforcement by the commission in the consumer electronics sector.

While the funding received by Spanish football giants Barcelona and Real Madrid from municipal authorities has already been investigated by the commission, the question of public support for professional sports teams appears to be coming closer to home.

The commission is said to be reviewing financial support given by Carmarthenshire Council to the Llanelli Scarlets rugby region and Swansea Council contributing to the costs of developing the Liberty Stadium, home to Swansea City football club and the Ospreys rugby team.

Finally, on January 1st Latvia became the newest member of the euro family, adopting the common currency in place of the lats.

This article by Donogh Hardiman and John Darmody, members of the Irish Society for European Law, was published in the Irish Times on 3 February 2014.

© 2014  – Click here to view this article on the Irish Times website

Website owners can link to protected works, court rules

January and February have seen a number of EU law developments.

In Case C-466/12 (Nils Svensson and Others v Retriever Sverige AB) a question on interpretation of EU law was raised by a Swedish court before the Court of Justice regarding press articles written by Swedish journalists which were published on a freely accessible basis on the website of the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper.

Retriever Sverige, a Swedish company, operates a website that provides hyperlinks to articles published on other websites, including Göteborgs-Posten . It did not ask the journalists concerned for authorisation to establish hyperlinks to the articles published on the site.

On February 13th, the Court of Justice responded to the Swedish court’s request. It concluded that the owner of a website may, without the authorisation of the copyright holders, redirect internet users, via hyperlinks, to protected works available on a freely accessible basis on another site. This is so even if the internet users who click on the link have the impression that the work is appearing on the site that contains the link.

In Case C-367/12, Mrs Sokoll-Seebacher, who wanted to open a pharmacy in Pinsdorf, had her request for authorisation rejected under Austrian law on the ground that no need for such a pharmacy existed within that Austrian municipality.

Also on February 13th, the Court of Justice found that demographic criteria applied under Austrian law regarding the opening of new pharmacies were incompatible with the EU principle of freedom of establishment. By not allowing derogations to take account of particular local conditions, those criteria did not respect the requirement of consistency of application of national legislation.

Even if the national proceedings had no cross-border element, the relevant Austrian legislation was capable of falling within the remit of freedom of establishment since it might also apply to nationals of other member states who may wish to move to Austria to set up a pharmacy there.

Away from the EU Courts, the EU has initiated a number of reforms to increase the resilience of banks and to reduce the probability and impact of bank failure.

On January 29th, 2014, the EU Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation to stop the biggest banks from engaging in the risky activity of proprietary trading.

The new rules would also give supervisors the power to require those banks to separate certain potentially risky trading activities from their deposit-taking business if their pursuit compromised financial stability. In addition, the commission adopted measures to increase the transparency of certain transactions in the shadow banking sector.

On February 4th, the European Parliament approved the commission’s proposal for a directive on criminal sanctions for market abuse (ie, insider dealing and market manipulation in EU financial markets). This would lead to a common set of criminal sanctions in the EU including fines and imprisonment of four years for insider dealing/market manipulation and two years for unlawful disclosure of inside information.

This is the first legislative proposal based on the new article 83(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, which provides for the adoption of common minimum rules on criminal law when this proves essential to ensure the effective implementation of a harmonised EU policy.

This article by Alan McCarthy and Aileen Murtaghmembers of the Irish Society for European Law, was published in the Irish Times on 3 March 2014.

© 2014  – Click here to view this article on the Irish Times website


Call for papers for the 2018 Volume of the Irish Journal of European Law

Publication date December 2018.

Submission date 28th September 2018

The Irish Journal of European Law has been published since 1992, and is a leading journal on European law edited by Irish scholars and practitioners. It is an international journal hosted on Westlaw, HeinOnline, and the website of the Irish Society for European Law. The journal is published annually in December. The journal is double blind peer reviewed. Contributors receive feedback within one month of submission on whether their submissions have passed preliminary assessment by the editorial board and been sent on for peer review. Final decisions are made from October to November. The journal has an international reputation and attracts contributions from scholars, practitioners, and judges and public servants (writing in a personal capacity) from across the European Union and beyond.

Long articles (indicative length 8,000 – 12,000 words) and shorter articles (3,000-4,000 words) comprise the main content of the journal. In addition to these traditional form of academic article, shorter comment, idea, opinion, professionally oriented recent development piece, and book review pieces are welcomed.

Submissions are to be sent to by noon on 28th September 2018 in WORD format, size 12 font, single- spaced. 

The referencing style guide is OSCOLA Ireland, which is available online at

Diarmuid Rossa PhelanEditor.
Editorial Board: Stephen Brittain, Roisin Costello, Stephen Coutts, Delia Ferri, Anna Sarah Hickey, Cliodhna Murphy, Ruairi Roantree

XXVIII FIDE Congress, Lisbon Estoril, 23-26 May 2018

The ISEL is delighted to announce the XXVI FIDE Congress, which will be held in Lisbon Estoril, Portugal on 23-26 May 2018.  This year’s Congress is organised by The Portuguese Association for European Law (APDE). The congress is a unique opportunity to learn about and influence the development of EU law and to exchange ideas and visions with colleagues from all professions of the legal world.

The three topics that will be discussed in detail at the Congress are:


For further information and details on registration, please visit the FIDE2018 website.

Dublin International Arbitration Day 2017

Arbitration Ireland is hosting a conference on 10 November which may be of interest to ISEL members – please see attached flyer for full details. Registration is via


SLS 2017 108th Annual Conference, University College Dublin – ‘The Diverse Unities of Law’ – September 5th – 8th 2017

The 108th Annual Conference of the Society will be held in Dublin for the first time ever at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin (UCD) from lunchtime Tuesday September 5 to lunchtime Friday September 8 2017.  The conference theme is ‘The Diverse Unities of Law’ allowing for exploration of different legal traditions and how diverse interpretations and practices have emerged between common law jurisdictions.  Implicit within it are notions of codification, the common law as a European legal tradition, the juxtaposition of legal pluralism and classic notions of the unified nature of law and of unity and diversity.  Contributions on any aspect of this theme and more generally are welcome.

The conference will be held in the UCD Sutherland School of Law building opened in 2013, just over 100 years since the School was established.  The main UCD campus is about 4 km from Dublin city centre.  Accommodation will be in hotels near the campus and in the city centre so delegates can make the most of Dublin.

Registration is now open:


The Irish Society for European Law has been published since 1992, and is a leading international journal on European law edited by Irish scholars and practitioners. Previous volumes are now available on the Society’s website at The Journal – which is blind peer-reviewed – is now issuing a call for original papers for its 2017 volume.

Long articles (indicative length 8,000 – 12,000 words) and shorter articles (3,000-4,000 words), and analyses of any length of recent developments are invited. The theme for the 2017 volume will be ‘Brexit.’ Whilst papers may be general in nature, there is particular interest in those submissions which make some reference to the Irish dimension of Brexit. In general, the Journal welcomes submissions  on all areas of European law. In addition to the more traditional form of academic article, comment and opinion pieces on European-Irish affairs with a legal dimension, are also welcomed. Submissions are to be sent to by Friday 28th of July 2017 in WORD format, size 12 font, single-spaced.

The referencing style guide is OSCOLA Ireland, which is available online at

Irish Journal of European Law
Editor: Diarmuid Rossa Phelan

Members of the Editorial Board: Anna Hickey, Cliodhna Murphy, Stephen Coutts, Stephen Brittain, Delia Ferri. Editorial Assistant Ruairi Roantree


ISEL’s 2017 AGM is taking place on 2 February 2017 at 6pm at the Dublin Dispute Resolution Centre, The Distillery Building, Church Street, Dublin.

Publication of New Volume of the Irish Journal of European Law

On 23 December 2016, the latest edition of the Irish Journal of European Law is being published. The Journal is available on the website of the Irish Society for European Law:

The Journal, which has been published since 1992, is a leading international journal on European law edited by Irish scholars and practitioners.

Irish Journal of European Law