The Law Society Annual Human Rights and Equality Conference 2020 available online until 31 December

This conference was organised by the Law Society Human Rights and Equality Committee in partnership with Law Society Professional Training with the aim to mark the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and explore issues around the procedural requirements of Article 2 ECHR, post-death investigations, and the right to life.The aim of this year’s discussion was to critically explore the different aspects of Article 2 ECHR and the challenges related to its application in the Irish context. Among the aspects discussed were the coronial system in Ireland and the steps that might be taken to reform and improve the system. 

There was also be an examination of international developments related to inquests and specific cases in this area, most prominently the Hillsborough case. The Conference offered an opportunity for interested stakeholders to learn about the various issues and challenges involved in post-death investigations and the implementation of Article 2 of the ECHR. It also provided scope to highlight the rights considerations around same and to consider opportunities for future reform. It was an aim of the Conference to stimulate and invigorate debate amongst key stakeholders and prompt necessary change in the area.

This year marked the 18th anniversary of the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee Annual Conference series. The principal aim of the conference series is to promote awareness of human rights law and practice among both lawyers and the public, and also to encourage consideration of how human rights can be promoted and protected. 

Topics and Issues covered

  • Overview of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)  
  • The role and importance of inquests 
  • International developments, prominent cases and lessons learned in the area of post-death investigations
  • Exploring opportunities for change and future reform related to inquests in Ireland 


Phil Scraton, Professor Emeritus, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast
Phil Scraton PhD, DLaws (Hon), DPhil (Hon) is Professor Emeritus, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast. He has held visiting professorships at Amherst College, USA, the Universities of Auckland, Monash, New South Wales and Sydney. Widely published on critical theory, incarceration and children/ young people his books include: In the Arms of the Law - Coroners’ Inquests and Deaths in Custody; No Last Rights - The Promotion of Myth and the Denial of Justice in the Aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster; Identifying and Resolving Inter-Agency Conflict in the Aftermath of Disaster; Hillsborough The Truth; Power, Conflict and Criminalisation; The Incarceration of Women; Women’s Imprisonment and the Case for Abolition. Co-author of reports for the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (Children’s Rights) and the NI Human Rights Commission (Women in Prison). Member of the Liberty Advisory Committee on deaths in custody, he led the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s research team and was principal author of its ground-breaking 2012 Report, Hillsborough. In 2016 he published a revised edition of Hillsborough: The Truth. Consultant on, and contributor to, the 2017 BAFTA winning ESPN/BBC documentary Hillsborough, he holds a Leverhulme Fellowship. In 2018, with Rebecca Scott Bray at the University of Sydney, he co-convened community-based research programme on coroners’ inquests into deaths in custody and during arrest. He was a member of the JUSTICE Working Party into inquiries and inquests post-disaster, When Things Go Wrong, published August 2020. He is lead investigator for the Irish Council of Civil Liberties’ research project Deaths in Contested Circumstances and Coroners’ Inquests. He has been awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool in recognition of his Hillsborough research.

Michael Finucane, Solicitor, Member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
Mr. Michael Finucane is Principal Solicitor at his Dublin-based law firm, which specialises in criminal defence and human rights litigation. He is a member of the Board of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Mr. Finucane is a former member of the Human Rights and Equality Committee of the Law Society of Ireland, which he also chaired from 2012 to 2014 and is a consultant and trainer with the SUPRALAT Project at Dublin City University / Law Society of Ireland.


Andrea Gilligan, Presenter on Newstalk and Justice Media Award Winner (2019 and 2020)
Andrea Gilligan presents the Lunchtime Live programme on Newstalk weekdays 12-2pm. Andrea holds a BA & MAJ from NUIG and is an award winning journalist. She currently works with Newstalk presenting the stations mid-afternoon current & social affairs programme Lunchtime Live. She previously presented Newstalk’s early morning news programme Breakfast Briefing & the weekend current affairs show Between The Lines. Andrea has a keen interest in legal affairs and won the Justice Media Award for best current affairs programme in 2020 & 2019. 

Click here to access the recording.



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