European Law (including EU law and ECHR law) will remain an important part of legal practice in Northern Ireland for the foreseeable future. The use of the ECHR is already well established, but the practice of EU law is somewhat less developed. However, Northern Ireland lawyers are increasingly faced with having to deal with the complexities of EU law, now further complicated by the innovations of the Windsor Framework.

The extent to which this body of law is Northern Ireland-specific means that practitioners, whether as Judges, Solicitors, Barristers, academics, or legal advisers in Government and the private sector, can no longer assume that the law in Northern Ireland is the same as that in Great Britain or the Republic of Ireland. A new initiative by the Irish Centre for European Law aims to help navigate the difficult waters ahead.


Northern Ireland has been a major focus for the Centre during the last six months and a significant amount of preparatory work has already been undertaken. Following the success of our Brexit series in 2022, the Centre is expanding its impact in Northern Ireland.

A Northern Ireland Committee has been established, chaired by Professor Christopher McCrudden, ICEL board member, and currently comprising Brian Doherty, Emily Neill BL, Ciarán Toland SC, and Professor Mark Bell.

In March, we held a successful hybrid seminar on the Windsor Framework, hosted together with QUB School of Law and the Mitchell Institute.

In the year of our 35th anniversary, the Centre is focused on renewing and developing our mission to ensure its continuing vitality and relevance. Our strategic initiative in Northern Ireland will play a major part in our plans.

Launch event on 27 April 2023

Commencing at 4:30pm on Thursday April 27 2023, we are hosting the launch of the Northern Ireland Committee’s initiative for Northern Ireland, and the announcement of its programme for the coming year. This will be an occasion for practitioners to meet informally and to hear an Introduction to the Practice of European Law in Northern Ireland. The launch event will be held in Belfast in the Upper Library in the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland. It will be chaired by Advocate General Collins of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

We will begin with a brief introduction to the initiative and future plans, followed by three short talks by Lord Justice McCloskey of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal, and Mr Justice Colton of the Northern Ireland High Court. They will explore the practical consequences of EU law and Council of Europe law (including beyond the ECHR) on legal practice in Northern Ireland, as seen from the Bench. Judge Kieran Bradley, former judge of the EU Civil Service Tribunal and Director in the Legal Service of the European Parliament will offer reflections on the practice of EU law in Northern Ireland, as seen from Luxembourg.

An expert panel of practitioners Catherine Donnelly SC of the Bar of England and Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland; Professor Gordon Anthony of the Northern Ireland Bar; Ciara Fulton, Partner, Lewis Silkin; and Eugene O’Loan, Director at Government Legal Service, Northern Ireland. They will respond providing their insights from various perspectives.

Lady Chief Justice Siobhan Keegan will close the proceedings with her reflections.

The event will conclude at 6:30pm. 2 CPD points will be available for attendees.

This will be followed by drinks and canapés for participants and the speakers. We will be seeking feedback on our plans and sharing our ideas on what the Irish Centre for European Law could offer to practitioners in Northern Ireland.

We hope you will join us for a stimulating and engaging event. Registration is required. If you wish to attend, please register here.

If you are interested in assisting the work of the Northern Ireland Committee, please contact