Professor Tobias Lock delivers keynote address on “Lessons for Irish Reunification from Germany”

Prof Tobias Lock
Tuesday, July 9, 2024 - 14:30

In a keynote address to the Institute for International and European Affairs, Professor Tobias Lock argued that a close look at how German reunification was brought about constitutionally and legally demonstrates the sheer legal complexities an Irish unification process would herald. 

Like German reunification, Irish unity would require the completion of negotiations at different levels: internal, bilateral and international (including at the EU level); it would require a similarly complex process of merging two distinct legal orders. The specific questions to be addressed would range from the very mundane (which jurisdiction’s conveyancing rules should we use going forward?) to the highly contested (e.g. what, if any, special status should unionists enjoy?). While many of the substantive questions will differ between the German and Irish contexts, the legal techniques deployed in Germany—such as frontloading, transition periods and conflict rules—could usefully be employed in case of Irish unification, too. 

A recording of the keynote can be found on youtube: