LAW10360 General Introduction to the Irish Legal System

Academic Year 2021/2022

General Introduction to the Irish Legal System (GIILS) seeks to act as a critical introduction for students to the Irish legal system. Students examine the sources and hierarchies of laws in the Irish legal system within a rule of law framework. Attention will be paid to legislation as a form of law, and the system of common law which exists in Ireland. We also explore the role and jurisdiction of courts and the appointment of judges. Issues of the administrative state, access to justice, and impact of public international law and European Union law on the Irish legal system will also be explored.

Please note: Penultimate and final year Law students are not permitted to register to this module as their in programme or Horizons elective.

Non-BCL and Non- BBL Students in the final year of their degree: Be advised should a student have to re-sit aassessment or where an IX grade is granted, this resit or IX assessment may potentially delay graduation.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this module, a student, who has attended lectures and engaged with directed readings, will be able to:

(a) Demonstrate knowledge of the Irish legal system;
(b) Appreciate the hierarchy of sources of law;
(c) Discuss the role and jurisdiction of the Irish courts in interpreting legislation and the role of the courts in developing common law;
(d) Engage in exploration of discrete topics on judges, access to justice, and external legal influences on the Irish legal system

Indicative Module Content:

In this academic year, LAW10360 may examine such topics as (subject to change):
The rule of law;
Statutory interpretation;
Common law;
Courts system and jurisdiction;;
The legal profession;
Access to justice;
Administrative justice;
International law and the Irish legal system;
European Union law and the Irish legal system.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is exclusively online. The module is delivered by means of live lectures with student engagement and interaction required throughout lectures.

Students will be directed to relevant reading in lecture reading lists. PowerPoints and/or lecture outlines will be available to students prior to each lecture.

Approaches to teaching and learning will differ depending on the lecturer delivering the content, but will include: reflective learning, case-law based learning and critical thinking approaches to the Irish legal system. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
LAW10450 - Law and Courts

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Potential mix of question types- may include essays, blog posts, case-notes, legislative readings, short-answer questions etc. Word count: 1,250 words Week 12 n/a Graded No


Assignment: 500-word case note Week 5 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Throughout the semester: Should students require feedback on their learning for this module, then students are encouraged to self-assess their learning, and seek clarification from the relevant lecturer who delivered that topic, by arranging to meet the lecturer during their virtual office hours. Case-note (25%): Individual feedback, along with provisional grades, will be made available to students before 19 March 2021. Assignment (75%): Group class feedback will be available to students once University grades are confirmed in June/July 2021. Students must follow UCD School of Law requirements for viewing their assignment/obtaining individual feedback.

The core textbooks for this module are:

*E-Book*: Raymond Byrne, Paul McCutcheon, Laura Cahillane & Emma Roche-Cagney , Byrne and McCutcheon on the Irish Legal System (7th edition, Bloomsbury, 2020). This e-book is available through UCD Library


Tanya Ni Mhuirthle, Catherine O’Sullivan and Liam Thornton, Fundamentals of the Irish Legal System: Law, Policy and Politics (Roundhall 2016) (available in UCD Library only).

In addition, students will be referred to relevant legislation, case-law, other textbooks and journal articles in week to week reading lists.
Name Role
Mr John O'Dowd Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 Mon 11:00 - 12:50