LAW10360 General Introduction to the Irish Legal System

Academic Year 2022/2023

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. Common law, legislation, EU and international law all have a place and space within the Irish legal system-but how do these sources of law interact and engage with each other? The module will analyse how legislation fits into Ireland’s common law legal system. We also explore the role and jurisdiction of courts, the appointment of judges, the role of lawyers in a digital age. The module also critically engages with feminism, women and Irish law, as well as access to justice (civil legal aid).

This module is assessed by an end of trimester 2 hour closed book examination (100%).

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

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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) Evaluate the hierarchy of sources of law.
c) Critically analyse the interaction of various sources of law and their precise value in the Irish legal system.
d) Discuss the function and jurisdiction of the Irish courts in interpreting legislation and the role of the courts in developing (or otherwise) common law.
e) Analyse discrete topics relating to judges; lawyers; women, feminism and Irish law; and access to justice.

Indicative Module Content:

In this academic year, LAW10360 will examine the following topics over the duration of the module (subject to change):
The rule of law and sources of law
Courts system and jurisdiction;
Law, legislation & legislative (statutory) interpretation;
Common law and precedent,
EU & international law in the Irish legal system
Judges in the Irish legal system
Legislation as the main source of law
Lawyers in a digital age
Women, feminism and the Irish legal system.
Access to justice (civil legal aid)

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




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

Students will be directed to relevant reading in lecture reading lists. PowerPoints (where used by a lecturer) will be available to students prior to each lecture.

Approaches to teaching and learning will differ depending on the lecturer delivering the content, but may 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
Examination: LAW10360 General Introduction to the Irish Legal System is assessed by means of a closed book end of trimester two-hour examination. Students will be provided with an indication of examinable topics. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn Yes - 2 Hour
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 office hours. See the module outline for contact details of lecturers. Group Feedback on Examination: On release of LAW10360 examination results in June 2023, group class feedback will be available on the examination. Individual Feedback on Examination: Students will be informed of opportunities to receive individual feedback on their examination. This will follow UCD School of Law requirements for viewing/ individual feedback on the examination. Further information on this process will be communicated to you in June 2023 via Brightspace.

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 Raymond Byrne Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Maebh Harding Lecturer / Co-Lecturer