Barristers called to Inner Bar in virtual ceremony

Barristers called to Inner Bar in virtual ceremony

The Supreme Court has formally called 20 barristers to the Inner Bar in a virtual ceremony.

The new senior counsel are Michael Duffy, John Breslin, Maurice Coffey, Emily Farrell, Marcus Dowling, Nessa Cahill, Damien Higgins, Anthony Moore, Dean Kelly, Kelley Smith, Stephen Dowling, David Sharpe, Bernadette Quigley, Brian Foley, Darren Lehane, Eoin Carolan, Catherine Donnelly, Suzanne Kingston, Brian Kennelly and Derek Shortall.

Patents of precedence were granted by Chief Justice Frank Clarke, conferring on the barristers the status of senior counsel, member of the Inner Bar, and recognising their specialist skills and expertise.

A number of separate virtual ceremonies will take place from Friday for the 17 solicitors who are due to be granted patents of precedence for the first time.

Maura McNally SC, chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland, said: “Today marks the continuing development and progression of the profession, insofar as we increasingly have an internationally focussed, accessible Law Library.

“The leadership and example set by today’s colleagues called to the Inner Bar, marks the profession and the independent referral bar as an important component in our justice and dispute resolution sector.

“The advocacy expertise, the independence and perspective that our Law Library members, and in particular our colleagues of the Inner Bar, bring to local disputes as well as overseas work, including arbitration and mediation, is an important contribution to Ireland’s economic and social fabric.

“This expertise is particularly relevant in the context of a future Europe and our international networks, while also maintaining a strong link with our UK colleagues.”

There remains a significant gender gap among senior counsel. As of June 2020, there were 343 senior counsel, representing 16 per cent of the entire Law Library, of which less than a fifth (18 per cent) were women.

Ms McNally said: “Thirty per cent of today’s call to the Inner Bar are female, which is a trend we all wish to build on. In 2016, three women were called. Today we have six, but nonetheless, there is much work to be done in the area of equitable briefing, mentoring and representation.”

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