: Siobhán Buckley
: Irish Research Council (Government of Ireland Postgraduate) Scholarship Scheme (2020-2021)
Maynooth University John and Pat Hume Scholarship (2017-2020)
: Siobhán graduated with a First-Class Honours Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B.) from Maynooth University in 2014. Siobhán attended the Honorable Society of Kings Inns and obtained the Barrister at Law Degree (B.L) in 2015 and she was called to the Bar of Ireland as a qualified Barrister. Siobhán proceeded to work in Dublin law firms for two years obtaining practical experience and exposure in multiple areas of law including family law, litigation and regulatory law. Siobhán returned to Maynooth University in September 2017 to conduct a PhD in the area of comparative criminology and youth justice. Siobhán was awarded the Maynooth University Postgraduate Community Impact Award in 2019. In 2020, Siobhan was awarded the IRC GOI Postgraduate Scholarship.
: “Contrasts in Tolerance?”: A cross -sectoral analysis of punitiveness in the adult and youth criminal justice systems of Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands 1990 – 2015.
Professor Claire Hamilton
There has been much discussion on the increase of punitiveness or harshness in the criminal justice systems over recent years as demonstrated by the eightfold increase in imprisonment rates in the United States since the 1970s and significant increases in many western jurisdictions. This tendency towards a harsher approach appears to have been mirrored in the juvenile justice system, for example, the doubling of the population of children detained in the UK since 1993. One aspect of the debate which has arguably been under-explored in this regard is cross-sectoral variation within countries, namely, divergence in some countries between the adult and youth justice systems and a more consistent approach across the two sectors in other jurisdictions. This raises important questions about cross-sectoral ‘contrasts in tolerance’ and the determinants of these policies, including intriguing questions about the historical, cultural, economic, social factors preserving (or not) a distinct approach to youth justice in certain jurisdictions. This research will seek to answer such questions by conducting a case-within-a-case comparative case study on cross-sectoral punitiveness within the criminal justice systems of Ireland, Scotland and The Netherlands.
(2019) ‘Measuring punitiveness in the adult, young adult and youth criminal justice systems.’ Transitions: Juvenile Justice and Young Adult Justice Panel. 19th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology in Ghent, Belgium.
(2019) ‘Measuring punitiveness in the adult, young adult and youth criminal justice systems.’ Youth Justice Panel. 12th North-South Irish Criminology Conference in UCC, Cork.
(2018) ‘Contrasts in Tolerance?’ Cross sectoral punitiveness in the adult and youth criminal justice systems.’ 18th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
(2018) ‘Contrasts in Tolerance?’ Cross sectoral punitiveness in the adult and youth criminal justice systems. ’ Youth Justice Panel. 11th North-South Irish Criminology Conference in UCD.
Biography: Danielle graduated from Griffith College Dublin in 2014 with a Bachelor of Law degree, followed by a Masters in International Law in 2016. Her LL.M. thesis explored the transition from the Safe-Harbour Principles to the E.U.-U.S. Privacy Shield. In 2017, Danielle was invited as a guest lecturer to speak to the LL.M. class in Griffith College Dublin. Danielle was accepted into Maynooth University’s PhD in 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Noelle Higgins.
Supervisor: Dr. Noelle Higgins
Abstract: Danielle’s doctoral research examines how the right to culture is protected in transition from war to peace.
Publications: Danielle has published material in the Human Rights Consortium Blog hosted by the School of Advanced Study in the University of London.
Conferences: Danielle has presented research in Maynooth University’s 2018 conference on
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Seventy; A Review of Successes and Challenges, 21st and 22nd June 2018”;
and in University of London’s 2019 Human Rights Research Students' Conference.
Name: Emily Dunne
Current Funding: John and Pat Hume Scholarship 2020-2024
Emily completed her undergraduate study in Sociology and qualified with a first-class honour at the Dublin Business School 2018, whilst also receiving the award for the Graduate of the Year Award. The study for this BA dissertation, researched Charity Boards of Management and focused on the motivation of the trustees. Emily had been involved in the setup of the Irish Charity Look Good Feel Better and was also responsible for the managing and project development of this charity in hospitals throughout Ireland. This undergraduate study was completed part-time over four years whilst working as the charity’s project manager. In 2018-2019 Emily continued her studies, full-time, at The Edward Kennedy Institute, Maynooth University achieving a first-class honour in Masters of Mediation and Conflict Intervention. The subject of Mediation in Cross-border child abduction was the dissertation topic for this MA and thus the need for further study in this field was identified. Having successfully received funding from the John and Pat Hume Scholarship, Emily is now undertaking a Law PhD continue this study. Emily is also a volunteer mediator at the Community Law and Mediation (CLM) support.
Family mediation in international child abduction cases in Ireland: One size will not fit all. http://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/12926/
Book Review Cross-Border Family Mediation International Parental Child Abduction -Custody and Access Cases (Second and updated edition) In co-operation with MiKK, http://mural.maynoothuniversity.ie/12999/
Supervisors: Dr Fergus Ryan and Dr Treasa Kenny
Title thesis: Meditation and Law in International Child Abduction Litigation Cases.
Abstract: The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, is the treaty to protect children, who may be victims of cross-border child abduction and the legal process is in place for a swift return to their place of habitual residence. All such cases are heard in The High Court and are customarily referred to as, Hague cases. The Guide to Good Practice of 2012, under the Hague Convention of 1980 has ensured that the return process for the child to the place of habitual residence is swift and with the full support of the law. This sensitive subject is devoid of critical informed research. In Ireland, over the past three years, the Legal Aid Board have introduced mediation to a selection of Hague cases, through the Family Mediation Service. These specific Hague cases were deemed suitable by the legal professionals and the value that mediation has added to this process has been acknowledged by the both the legal and mediation professionals. The minimum previous research available, recognised the positive approach to the conflicts involved in International child abduction and the desire of all the professionals to support the parents at this very emotive and difficult time. The Legal Aid Board’s Family Mediation Services are proceeding cautiously and the opinion of where and when mediation fits into the legal arena and is now being considered more openly and in line with The Hague Convention recommendations.
Name: Ciara Finnegan
Email : email@example.com
Biography: Ciara Finnegan received an Entrance Scholarship to Maynooth University in 2013. In 2017, she graduated with a first-class honours BCL International in Law and French. Ciara received a Maynooth University Taught Masters Scholarship in 2018-19 while completing an LLM in International Justice. During this time, Ciara undertook a research placement with Scholars at Risk, investigating denials of academic freedom globally. Ciara also contributed to the work of Scholars at Risk through the submission of incident reports. Ciara was awarded the John and Pat Hume Scholarship in 2019 to undertake her PhD research in the areas of International Humanitarian Law and Space Law under the supervision of Dr Noelle Higgins.
Supervisor: Dr Noelle Higgins.
Thesis Title: A critical analysis of the use of weapons in Outer Space with a view to forming recommendations for regulation from the perspective of the Principle of Humanity in International Humanitarian Law.
Abstract: International humanitarian law (hereinafter IHL) is the law that regulates the conduct of armed conflicts. However, IHL constantly struggles to keep pace with advancements in science regarding the regulation of newly-developed weapons. This results in a lacuna in the law of weapons regulation which persists as weapons technologies continue to emerge. With respect to the emergence of weapons technologies which can be used in Outer Space, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty does not prohibit the use of all forms of weapons in Outer Space, which could pose potential risk to space-faring States as well as the Earth-based population.
In the midst of these gaps in the regulation of weapons in Outer Space, the Martens Clause (initially enshrined in the 1899 Hague Convention II and re-iterated in numerous instruments thereafter) stipulates that the central principle of humanity (which forms the foundations of IHL alongside the principles of distinction, proportionality and military necessity), should apply in the absence of express legislation. While the Martens Clause partially fills the lacunae in weapons regulation, it only provides a minimum standard of protection.
Therefore, this thesis argues that express legislation is the only way IHL can effectively address these lacunae and sufficiently regulate the use of weapons in Outer Space. As activity in Outer Space intensifies, I will investigate the increasingly pressing threat of the operation of weapons systems in Outer Space, an area which remains predominantly unregulated in both the IHL and Space Law frameworks. By examining the gaps at the intersection of these frameworks through the lens of the principle of humanity, I aim to achieve a comprehensive analysis from which recommendations for legislation regulating the use of weapons in Outer Space can be drawn.
Finnegan, Ciara, ‘Outer Space Solutions to the Climate Crisis:
Analysing How the Space Law Framework Can Provide for the Responsible Implementation of Lunar Resource Extraction’, Development Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference, October 2020.
Name:Warsame Ali Garare
Before coming to Maynooth University, Warsame earned Bachelor of Law (LLB) from Dublin Institute of Technology (2011) and Master of Law (LLM) from University College of Dublin (2013). His master’s thesis examined ‘The Use of Detention in the Context of Asylum in the EuropeanUnion’. In it he explored the right to seek asylum versus territorial sovereignty of the state. Warsame is also a researcher and participant in the production of many socially engaged art projects as a co-founder and a member of the Global Migration Collective Research Group.
Thesis Title:Asylum Seekers: Pawns on a Global Chessboard
European Union Extra-territorialisation of Migration Control, State Responsibility and Refugee Protection under International Law
Supervisor: Dr. John Reynolds
The policy debate in the European Union has intensified amidst the rising number of irregular border crossings fuelled by crises in the Middle East and Northern Africa and the increase of nationalist electoral victories. Often that debate avoids adequately addressing state responsibility regarding migration and the legally binding right to seek asylum.
This thesis is concerned with the obstacles faced by those entitled to seek asylum under international refugee law but prevented from doing so because of European Union extra-territorialisation policies that are designed to limit human migration into Europe in ways that impact on all migrants, whether they potentially meet the criteria for refugee status or not. Migrants writ large are characterised as “economic migrants” and excluded from the right to enter as such; migrants seeking to claim asylum are caught by the same net - physically excluded from entry by extra-territorial policies and in practice denied the right to claim asylum on the basis of state practice requiring physical presence on the territory of the host state to do so. Public international law, human rights law and international refugee law have interacted in such a way that, in practice, the prerogative of the state to exclude non-citizens often trumps the asylum rights of refugees.
The main aims of this research project are to examine: (i) the implications of European extra-territorial migration control for those seeking protection; (ii) how international refugee law and human rights law have responded to new EU measures; and (iii) the types of cooperation that EU and certain member states have sought with different external actors in the context of migration control, and to extent to which that has been shaped by international law's rules and gaps.
Name: Aaron Harte-Hughes
Graduate Teaching Scholarship (Maynooth University; 2021-2026)
Aaron graduated from Maynooth University in 2020 with a First-Class Bachelor of Law (International) degree. In 2020, Aaron was elected by the President of ELSA (European Law Students’ Association) Ireland to the position of National Director for Alumni, as well as being a representative member on the Board of Management for the Association.
Aaron commenced his PhD in January 2021, as a successful recipient of the Department sponsored Studentship, tutoring in undergraduate areas of Law including Introduction to Criminal Justice and Evidence Law.
A Critical Analysis of the Law relating to Witness Protection in Ireland.
Dr Louise Kennefick
Since the somewhat improvised inception of ‘witness protection’ in the 1980s, emanating from the states’ desire for a “strategy to secure convictions against major organised crime figures”; The procedures afforded (or lack thereof) towards such witnesses have been continually highlighted and scrutinised by politicians, institutional bodies, members of the judiciary and legal academics alike. The issue garnered particular attention in the late 1990s in the aftermath of the murder of crime reporter Veronica Guerin.
The concept of a ‘protected witness’ presents a myriad of complex legal issues which mandate careful consideration for any prospective legislator or judge. Despite it being somewhat ubiquitous nowadays, Ireland remains one of only a handful of countries, either developed or developing, which does not possess any specific governing legislation on this potentially pernicious issue, which encompasses a broad range of interwoven rights, interests, principles and philosophies of law.
The aim of this research project is to examine the measures currently employed by the state concerning witness protection, as well as their associated implications, from the context of three key perspectives: The State, the protected witness and the accused. The study employs a comparative methodology in order to gain insight into the approaches of other relevant jurisdictions. Ultimately, the project aims to determine whether the states’ current legal understanding of witness protection ‘lawfully and prudently’ balances all vested parties’ interests, and to make recommendations as appropriate.
Name: Gerard Maguire
International Communities Organisation Research Scholar 2019 –
MU Spark Initiative Funding Award for Teaching and Learning
Before undertaking studies with the law department, Gerard graduated from Maynooth University with a degree in Anthropology and Spanish. He became a student of the law department in 2015 entering the LLM International Justice programme prior to commencing his PhD studies under the supervision of Dr Noelle Higgins in 2016. During his studies with the law department he has acted as a Rapporteur for the Royal Irish Academy for their lecture series ‘Constitutional Conversations’ and has been part of a team of four students who took part in the Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitoring programme. He has previously worked with Survival International on a research project focusing on the right to education of tribal children in their mother tongue. Gerard was appointed the 2019 recipient of the International Communities organisation Research Scholarship and is one of the founding members of The International Justice Network which is a collective of international researchers who work, study and support the advancement of International Justice. As of November 2019, he is a member of the management committee for An EU COST Action project relating to Global Atrocity Crimes and Justice Constellations. Gerard has a background in teaching and learning, having tutored for the law department at Maynooth, taught fulltime on the Maynooth University Critical Skills Programme under the Office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning and taught on the return to learning programmes for the MU Access Office. In April 2020 he was appointed the lead of a study group commissioned by the Development Studies Association of Ireland on Climate and development. In August of 2020 he was awarded a visiting fellowship to Cardiff University where he is furthering his research into environmental justice and Indigenous Peoples. He is currently an assistant lecturer in the department of law teaching International Law, World Trade Law and The Right of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples.
Gerard’s research interests are in the areas of Public International Law, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, and Genocide Studies. His current research focuses primarily on the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples.
Educational Institutions and Indigenous Peoples; Haven of Progression or Catalyst for Cultural Genocide?
Supervisor: Dr Noelle Higgins
My research focuses on the crime of Genocide and Cultural Genocide in the context of indigenous peoples and the processes available for its prevention, prosecution, and remuneration. It analyses how education systems in which many indigenous children, both past and present, have been instrumental in the destruction of cultural identity. This research will offer two case studies to highlight this danger, Canada, and French Guiana. This research highlights the necessity for culturally appropriate curricula and the reality of dangerous education. Furthermore, this research offers a new insight into both the rights of indigenous peoples, the right to education and offers a new theory of understanding relating to evolution of the crime of genocide and cultural genocide to what is referred to in this work as ‘Result Based Genocide’.
Maguire, ‘Indigenous Peoples, a Challenge to the UDHR. In Higgins, Adanan, Doherty and Doyle (eds.), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70; A Review of Successes and Challenges (Dublin: Clarus Press, 2019)
Maguire, Human Erosion: Indigenous Peoples and Well-Being in the Anthropocene (2020) Journal of Irish Studies in International Affairs
Maguire, The unacknowledged genocide: The Guatemalan Maya’s Quest for Justice (2020) 1 Maynooth Academic Publishing
Maguire, A Genocide by Any Other Name; Cultural Genocide in the Context of Indigenous Peoples and the Role of International Law (2018) 4 Strathclyde Law Review
Maguire, Cultural Genocide: A Legitimate Crime? 10 (2018) 10 Citizen's Rights Watch
Maguire, Reflections of the UDHR at 70, (2018) 5 MU Department of Law Research Bulletin
Conference Paper ‘Individual versus Collective Rights; Indigenous Peoples as a challenge of the UDHR’ The UDHR at 70 Conference; A Review of the Successes and Challenges, Maynooth University (June 2018)
Education and Tribal Children, Investigative Report (Survival International) (2018)
‘Constitutions, Referendums and Family’, Rapporteurs report Royal Irish Academy Conversation series 1 (2015)
Maguire, “Indigenous Peoples and the Anthropocene”, Royal Irish Academy, March 2020
Maguire, “Academic Support for The Mature Student Journey” Union of Students Ireland, Maynooth University, November 2019)
Maguire, “The Evolution of Genocide; A Theory on Result Based Genocide”, New Perspectives Postgraduate Symposium, October 2019, Maynooth (Humanities at the Precipice)
Maguire and Higgins, “Enhancing the Participation of Indigenous Peoples at a UN Level; A Critique of UN Resolution 71/321”, SLSA, April 2019, Leeds
Maguire, “Hiding in Plain Sight; The Evolution of Genocide” Poster Presentation, SLSA, April 2019, Leeds
Higgins and Maguire, “Language, Identity and Self-Determination” International Communities organisation, Chatham House, 18 February 2019 (Re-Thinking Self-Determination)
Higgins and Maguire, “Resolution 71/321: Game Changer or Game Player?", BISA International Law and Politics Workshop, 19 November 2018, Glasgow (International Law Under Pressure)
Maguire, “A Genocide by Any Other Name: Indigenous Peoples Cultural Livelihood”, New Perspectives Postgraduate Symposium, October 2018, Maynooth (Unseen Voices)
Maguire, “Are Indigenous Peoples a Challenge to the UDHR?” June 2018, Maynooth (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Seventy; A Review of Successes and Challenges)
Name: Claire McGovern
Current Funding: John and Pat Hume Scholarship 2017
Biography: Claire McGovern graduated from Maynooth University with a first-class honours LLB Degree in 2016. During her time at Maynooth Claire interned with the Legal Aid Board which first sparked her interest in family law and property matters. In her final year Claire was awarded the Walls & Toomey Family law prize for coming first in the Family Law Module and after graduation she worked as a legal intern with Walls & Toomey Solicitors for one year. In 2017 Claire was awarded a John and Pat Hume Scholarship to return to Maynooth and conduct her PhD studies in the area of property law and bioethics under the supervision of Dr Neil Maddox. Claire is actively involved within the Department of Law and has conducted undergraduate tutorials in Land Law.
Thesis Title: The extent to which gametes and embryos may be treated as property and the legal consequences of this
Supervisor: Dr Neil Maddox
The rapid advancements in biotechnology have inevitably led to legal conflicts. Nowhere is this more manifest than with the development of artificial reproductive technologies. For instance, the practice of cryopreservation enables medical practitioners to remove, freeze and store both reproductive cells and embryos ex vivo. However, this increased handling and subsequent preservation of human tissue poses a myriad of issues for judicial concern. Recent years have seen an increase in litigation, whereby the concerned parties dispute the status of both gametes and embryos for the purposes of either possession, control, use, disposal, or profit. At issue in these cases is whom shall have dominion over the relevant tissue. Moreover, the courts language of ‘possession’, ‘use’ and ‘disposal’ etc. is terminology which is commonly affiliated with the law of property. Animosity centred on the ownership of human tissue is only going to escalate within the coming years and as it stands, the precise legal status of both gametes and embryos remains unclear. In order to effectively resolve these conflicts the court must have an appropriate framework in which to work. Thus, the objective of this research is to examine the extent to which gametes and embryos may be treated as items of property and to explore the varying legal consequences of this.
Name: Muiread Murphy
Current Funding: Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship (2019-2023)
Biography: Muiread graduated from Maynooth University with a first class honours Bachelor of Laws Degree in 2017. On the basis of her undergraduate performance, she was nominated by the Maynooth University Law Department to participate in the Chief Justice’s Superior Court Summer Internship Programme in the Summer of 2017. In 2018, she completed a Masters in Arts Degree (Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice), with first class honours. Muiread was awarded the Maynooth Alumni Scholarship to complete this Masters Degree. Her MA thesis explored the difficulties encountered in the identification of victims of labour trafficking.
Thesis Title: The Investigation and Identification of Severe Labour Exploitation: A Comparative Analysis
Supervisor: Dr. David Doyle and Dr. Clíodhna Murphy.
Muiread’s research will focus on State obligations relating to the investigation and identification of victims of severe labour exploitation, drawing on international, European and domestic law. For the purpose of this research, the concept of “severe labour exploitation” encompasses trafficking for labour exploitation, slavery, servitude and forced labour (EUFRA 2014). Through a combination of doctrinal and qualitative research, the proposed research will be novel in examining the difficulties associated with identification and investigation both in law and in practice, considering how criminal law and labour law approaches may be integrated more effectively to ensure comprehensive investigation and identification regimes.
‘I Felt Like She Owns Me’: Exploitation and Uncertainty in the Lives of Labour Trafficking Victims in Ireland. David M. Doyle, Clíodhna Murphy, Muiread Murphy, Pablo Rojas Coppari and Rachel J. Wechsler. (2019) 59(1) The British Journal of Criminology 231-251.
Name: Catherine O’Connell
Biography: Catherine is a practicing mediator, restorative dialogue facilitator, conflict management coach and delivers training in all three areas.
From 2014 to 2020 Catherine has been a lecturer in restorative practice, mediation and conflict management coaching at the Edward Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention at Maynooth University. She also has been engaged in various peace building projects run by the Edward Kennedy Institute.
Catherine provides restorative facilitation, conflict management coaching and mediation in workplace, community and family settings under the banner of her company Blossom Development. She develops bespoke training in Conflict Management and Communications skills for leaders, groups and organisations and uses the Enneagram Personality System as a tool for personal and professional development.
Supervisor: Dr Ian Marder, Dr Treasa Kenny
This research will explore how using restorative approaches in an organisation can impact aspects of its culture, particularly it’s conflict management and relationship practices.
In October 2018 the Council of Europe made a recommendation that quality restorative justice services be promoted and used widely across the member states (CM/Rec (2018)8).
Restorative approaches, stemming from restorative justice, proactively and responsively focuses on building positive relationships, good communications and healthy conflict management in organisations.
The Council of Europe recommendation suggests that organisations working within and along-side the Criminal Justice System use restorative approaches (RA) to build relationships, trust, and social capital amongst staff with a view to promoting a restorative culture within these organisations (Rule 61, CM/Rec (2018)8).
This project wishes to explore the feasibility of using such an approach within the Legal Aid Board, a public sector organisation within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice.
A core hypothesis is that adoption of restorative approaches will assist in legitimising and supporting participatory change management, relationship building within and across teams, healthy conflict management, accountability and staff buy in to organisational values (Watchel, 2013).
A further hypothesis is that organisations ‘give away’ conflicts to experts (formal procedures) due to an inability to deal with them resulting in a conflict avoidant culture.
Restorative approaches have their roots in social constructionism which will be the theoretical framework underpinning the research. Restorative approaches work with stories so that untold and unknown stories unfold, and new discourses emerge. Therefore, narrative theory and participatory action research (PAR) which are aligned to this focus will be used in the research.
While there has been some research conducted on using restorative approaches in a 'whole-school-approach' in education there has not previously been research on using restorative approaches to drive cultural change and support organisational development within a public service organisation.
Publications and Conferences
She was a researcher in the seminal collaborative research project between Facing Forward and Dr Marie Keenan entitled “Sexual Trauma and Abuse: Restorative and Transformative Possibilities”. Catherine has written “Building Bridges”, an article about a Restorative Justice Initiative in Green Bay Maximum Security Prison Wisconsin for the ‘Journal of Mediation and Applied Conflict Analysis’ published online by Maynooth University. In 2018, she undertook with Barbara Walshe a consultation and a report was written on the ‘Options and Appropriate Courses of action available to Government in relation to the site of the former Mother and Baby Home, Tuam County Galway’ (April 2018). In July 2019 with Barbara Walshe, she engaged and consulted with survivors of residential institutional abuse which resulted in a report on Consultations with Survivors of Institutional Abuse on Themes and Issues to be addressed by a Survivor Led Consultation Group.
Name: Anil Ozturk
Current Funding: Graduate Teaching Scholarship (Maynooth University; 2017-2022)
Biography: Anil Ozturk is a PhD candidate and academic tutor at Maynooth University Department of Law. He has completed his undergraduate education in law at Bilkent University (Turkey), graduating with a B.A. in 2016. During his undergraduate education, Anil participated in the Erasmus exchange program and spent a semester in University of Dundee (Scotland, UK) in 2014, where his interests stemmed on the evolving nature of the legal theory.
Then, Anil has received an LL.M. degree in International and Comparative Law from Trinity College Dublin in 2017. His master’s thesis explored how pre-contractual liability is conceptualized in different legal systems and how it is addressed under European Private International Law. His current research focuses on intersection of law and robotics, including autonomous driving, robotics and privacy, and liability for personal robots.
Supervisor: Dr Brian Flanagan
Thesis Title (Provisional): Anthropomorphic Machines: Implications for Law and Society
Interactions between humans and robots are different from human interactions with other technological artefacts, as robots have higher degrees of autonomy and the ability of self-directed learning. In recent years, owing to advances in technology, robots are becoming able to perform tasks in similar ways to humans, and they are undertaking roles formerly reserved for humans, especially as interaction partners ('the robotic moment').
Furthermore, due to their growing autonomy, robots are increasingly moving beyond the oversight of their makers. In other words, they are no longer tools of human interaction but instead parties to these interactions. This situation reveals new questions on the matters of responsibility in criminal law, contractual obligations, and torts concerning the behaviors of robots; for instance on the accountability of robots in contracts and torts or punishability of robots in criminal law.
Accordingly, this research will address the legal dimensions of human-robot social interactions. It will begin by examining the features (e.g. autonomy, self-directed learning) that distinguish robots from other artefacts, and the structure of human-robot social interactions. This examination will reveal that the existing legal framework cannot respond to these interactions in ways that fair, just, and reasonable. To resolve the challenges that may emerge from the social interactions between robots and humans, this research will consider the introduction of a new form of legal entity with limited liability, and explore the potential for providing legal protection for anthropomorphic or zoomorphic robots in pari passu with that provided for animals.
'Lessons Learned from Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in a Liability Context: A Sustainability Perspective' in Angela Carpenter, Tafsir M Johansson, and Jon Skinner (eds), Sustainability in the Maritime Domain: Towards Ocean Governance and Beyond (Springer, forthcoming)
'Jurisprudence in Ancient Egypt' (Turkish, in 'Sine Qua Non -Periodical of Bilkent University Law Society' vol 1 no 2 - 2013)
'Development of LGBT Rights in Spain' (Turkish, in 'Lubunya - Periodical of Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association' no 11 - 2012)
‘In Good Company? The Moral Implications of Violence and Sexual Behaviours towards Sociable Robots’ (Sexualities and Gender in Postgraduate Research: A Graduate Student Round-Table Symposium, Maynooth University, Kildare, IE, 23 November 2020)
'Lessons Learned from Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in a Marine Liability Context' (SLS 111th Annual Conference - Graduate Stream, The University of Exeter, The Society of Legal
Scholars, Exeter, UK, 2 September 2020) [held virtually]
'Anthropomorphic Machines: Implications of Human-Robot Social Interactions for Law and Society' (International Conference - Transformative Technologies: Legal and Ethical
Challenges of the 21st Century, The Law Faculty of the University of Banja Luka, The Center for the Study of Bioethics, The European Division of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, Banja Luka, BiH, 7 February 2020)
'Beware of the Friendly Stranger: Legal Implications of Human-Robot Social Interactions' (Selected Presentations, Summer School on the Regulation of Robotics & AI in Europe: Legal,
Ethical and Economic Implications, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa, Pisa, IT, 6 July 2019)
'Legal Personhood for Social Robots?' (Department of Law Research Seminar Series, Maynooth University, Kildare, IE, 12 March 2018)
Current Funding: John and Pat Hume Doctoral Award 2020
Biography: Stephanie graduated from Carlow Institute of Technology with an Honours Bachelor of Law (LL.B) in 2018. Stephanie then went on to complete a Masters in Arts Degree (Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice) at Maynooth University’s Department of Law and graduated with first class honours. Her MA thesis explored the link between addiction and drug-related crime in her local community of Athy Co. Kildare. Upon completion of her master’s degree Stephanie began working in the University as a research assistant and a criminal law tutor. In 2020, Stephanie was awarded the John and Pat Hume Doctoral Award by the Department of Law. Stephanie has a keen interest and passion for further and higher education with a specific focus on quality assurance and equal access opportunities. This year, she was invited to become a member of Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board’s (KWETB) Quality Control Council which oversees the planning, coordination, quality, development and improvement of all aspects of further education and training offerings of the ETB. She is also a current member of a Kilkenny Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB) steering committee which was formed to oversee their inaugural review in partnership with Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). Stephanie regularly speaks publicly about her own experiences of further and higher education and training. In 2020, She made a speech at the launch of SOLAS new five-year strategy alongside Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Mr Simon Harris at Richmond Barracks in Dublin. In September 2020, she was on the front page of the Irish Times newspaper and the main feature of their ‘Smart Choices’ magazine. Stephanie has also spoken on local and national radio stations such as, 2FM, FM104 and Spirt Radio. In addition, she was invited to be panellist at the College Connections webinar as part of College Awareness Week 2020.
Thesis Title: Understanding the needs and perspectives of domestic violence victims in Ireland
Supervisor: Dr David Doyle
Abstract: Stephanie’s research investigates victims’ perspectives of domestic abuse in Ireland. It is a qualitative study focusing specifically on female victims of domestic abuse. The findings of the research will be used to ascertain victims’ perspectives on domestic violence law and policy in Ireland, with a view to informing victim-centred policy development. The research also seeks to establish whether the existing legal mechanisms are successful in their aims to deter and provide redress for domestic abuse victims, and to explore how victims experience those mechanisms in practice. From a disciplinary perspective, the research comprises an innovative socio-legal study of victims’ experiences of domestic violence law and policy in Ireland and will be of international interest.
Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship
Niamh Wade graduated from Maynooth University with a first-class honours LLB Law Degree in 2017. During her undergraduate, Niamh was very involved with the Free Legal Advice Centre in the university. Niamh graduated with a first-class honours from the MA in Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2018 having received the Taught Masters Scholarship. Her thesis was titled: ‘A Critical Analysis of the Proposed Measures to Deal with White-Collar Crime and Corporate Manslaughter in Ireland: Plus Ça Change?’ During the MA, she completed an internship with the Irish Penal Reform Trust. In 2018, Niamh was awarded the John and Pat Hume Scholarship to conduct her PhD research project under the supervision of Dr Louise Kennefick. The research project is titled ‘A feasibility study on the introduction of a community court in Ireland.’ In 2019, Niamh was awarded the Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship to continue this research. Niamh conducts undergraduate tutorials on the Policing and Sentencing modules.
Dr Louise Kennefick
The overall goal of the criminal justice system is the security of society and the reduction of crime, but applying prison sentences to low-level and non-violent offenders may inadequately address this aim. Jurisdictions with progressive criminal justice policies and initiatives are finding that a more individualised, community-based sanction issued with the underlying needs of the offender in mind can contribute more to public protection and crime reduction than a prison sentence. By focusing on the root cause of the individual’s offending, this rehabilitative approach to criminal justice claims to be more effective in attaining these aims. Certain regions of Australia and Scotland have set a best practice example of problem-solving justice with the introduction of community courts. These innovative courts aspire to provide offenders with the tools to successfully reintegrate into society. My research will examine the establishment and the perceived effectiveness of the existing community courts in the region of Melbourne in Australia and Aberdeen in Scotland. I will then assess whether the introduction of a community court would be beneficial within the Irish criminal justice system.