Press Release: Annual Conference 2016

By Órla Gillen, Wednesday, 2nd November 2016 | 0 comments
Filed under: 2016.


Law Reform Commission Conference on Regulatory Powers and Corporate Offences




The Law Reform Commission is hosting a conference on 3rd November (8.30am to 1pm) in Dublin Castle on the subject of Regulatory Powers and Corporate Offences. This follows the publication by the Commission earlier this year of a detailed consultative Issues Paper that explored 12 issues concerning the following two related areas:

  • first, whether the supervisory and enforcement powers of the State’s main financial and economic regulators (such as the Central Bank, ComReg, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Director of Corporate Enforcement) are adequate or need to be supplemented by, for example, civil financial sanctions and more effective co-ordination between such regulators.
  • second, whether there are gaps in the criminal law, particularly in relation to fraud, that need to be filled in order to respond more effectively to serious wrongdoing by corporate bodies, and whether there is a case for introducing an offence of reckless trading.

The full text of the 150 page Issues Paper is available on the Commission’s website,

The conference on the 3rd November forms an important part of the Commission’s public consultation on this project, which is one of the most complex and wide-ranging in the Commission’s current 4th Programme of Law Reform.

Background to the project

The broad background for this project can be traced to the financial and economic collapse of recent years. A number of reports (including the Regling & Watson, Honohan, Nyberg Reports and, most recently, the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry Report) identified failings in regulatory supervision and enforcement in the years leading up to the collapse. The close relationship between regulatory law and criminal law also brings into focus the effectiveness of existing criminal offences and the ways in which they might affect how companies behave and are regulated.  Significant reforms to both the regulatory framework and criminal law have been enacted since 2008 but important issues remain to be addressed. A number of the matters identified in the Issues Paper published earlier this year can be linked to the financial and economic collapse of 2008, but a number potentially have a wider application beyond financial regulation, including those concerning fraud offences and the attribution of criminal liability to corporate bodies. To that extent, this project and the Commission’s conference on 3rd November addresses future risks as well as risks already identified as arising from the financial and economic collapse of recent years.

Conference speakers

The conference begins with an opening address by Mr Justice John Quirke, President of the Law Reform Commission. 

The first session of the conference is on Corporate Liability and Criminal Offences. The principal speaker at this session is Professor David Ormerod, Professor of Criminal Justice, University of London and a Law Commissioner with the Law Commission of England and Wales. There will be replies to this by Dr Imelda Higgins, Barrister, Senior Associate, McCann FitzGerald Solicitors, Dublin and by Professor Irene Lynch-Fannon, School of Law, University College Cork.

The second session of the conference in on Regulatory Powers and Enforcement. The principal speaker at this session is Professor Christopher Hodges, Professor of Justice Systems, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. There will be replies to this by Ms Derville Rowland, Director of Enforcement, Central Bank of Ireland and Professor Colin Scott, Professor of EU Regulation & Governance, UCD Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin.

Each session will be followed by time for questions and answers from conference delegates.

The conference is now fully booked, with 120 delegates attending from a wide section of public bodies, including regulatory bodies and Government Departments, as well as delegates from private sector organisations with an interest in this area.

Biographical notes for the conference speakers are attached as under.

For further information/interview with conference speakers or a Commission representative contact: Winifred McCourt, McCourt CFL  T: 087-2446004

Background Notes for Editors

The Law Reform Commission is an independent statutory body whose main role is to keep the law under review and to make proposals for reform. To date, the Commission has published over 200 documents (Consultation Papers, Issues Papers and Reports) containing reform proposals. The majority of these proposals have influenced the drafting and content of reforming legislation.

Biographical Notes for the Conference Speakers

Mr Justice John Quirke, President of the Law Reform Commission, was called to the Bar in 1974, the English Bar in 1981 and the Inner Bar in 1984. He was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 1997. He was a member of the Board of the Judicial Studies Institute between 1999 and 2009 and represented the Irish Judiciary repeatedly in domestic and international judicial conferences and events. He was a member of the Board of the Courts Service between 2003 and 2009 and of the Committee for Court Practice and Procedure between 2002 and 2012. As a Judge of the High Court he managed the Judicial Review list between 2003 and 2007 and the Personal Injuries list between 2007 and 2012. He chaired the Working Group on Medical Negligence which published its first report (on Periodic Payments for catastrophically injured litigants) in November 2010. He chaired the Peatland’s Forum, which reported on disputed peatland issues in 2012. He retired as a Judge of the high Court in February 2012.

David Ormerod QC is the Law Commissioner for England & Wales responsible for Criminal Law and Evidence. He is also Professor of Criminal Justice at University College London and a Barrister at 18 Red Lion Chambers and a Bencher of Middle Temple. David is General Editor of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice and The Criminal Law Review. He was the consultant editor in 2010 and 2015 for Halsbury’s Laws of England on Criminal Evidence and Procedure and for Halsbury’s Laws of England on Criminal Law.  His research ranges across all aspects of criminal law, evidence and procedure and includes prestigious publications: Smith and Hogan Criminal Law (11, 12, 13th 14th eds OUP); Smith and Hogan Criminal Law Cases and Materials (9th, 10th 11th eds OUP); Fraud: Criminal Law and Procedure (2008, OUP) with Clare Montgomery QC; Blackstone’s Criminal Practice (2008-2017); and Smith’s Law of Theft (9th edn. 2007) OUP with David Williams QC. David writes and lectures regularly for the Judicial College in England and Wales and for the legal profession. He assisted in drafting the Crown Court Bench Book (2010) and the new Compendium Bench Book 2016. He is also a member of the Criminal Justice Council, the Advocacy Training Council and the Education Committee of the Criminal Bar Association.

Dr Imelda Higgins is a Senior Associate in McCann FitzGerald’s Finance Department where she specialises in banking and financial services law, including compliance issues. She is also a member of the European Commission’s national advisory network of anti-corruption specialists.

Prior to joining McCann FitzGerald, Imelda practised as a barrister for a number of years during which time she acted as Independent Counsel for a Tribunal of Inquiry investigating allegations of political corruption.  She has also spent several years working for and with EU institutions, including in particular the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Imelda is author of Corruption Law (Roundhall, 2012), the first (and only) book on Irish corruption law. She has also published several chapters in edited publications as well a number of articles in legal journals on corruption law as well as on other topical legal issues. Imelda’s PhD thesis was on the topic of bribery.

Prof Irene Lynch Fannon is Professor of Law in University College Cork . She has previously served as Dean of the Faculty of Law and Head of the College of Business and Law, University College Cork. She qualified as a Solicitor in 1985 with the Law Society of Ireland having trained in Dublin and practiced in London. She has also acted as a consultant Solicitor with A&L Goodbody Solicitors, Dublin.

She has published extensively in the areas of Corporate Insolvency and Rescue Law, Corporate Governance and Corporate Law Theory. She is co-author with Gerard Murphy BL of the 2nd edition of Corporate Insolvency and Rescue (Bloomsbury Professional, 2012) and has recently published a 2nd edition of Corporations and Partnerships in Ireland for Kluwer International Encyclopedia of Laws, which provides an update of Irish company law following the enactment of the Companies Act 2014. Professor Lynch Fannon maintains an interest in comparative corporate law theory following the publication of her book Working Within Two Kinds of Capitalism (Hart Publications, Oxford and Portland Oregon).

She has recently been appointed to the Company Law Review Group for 2016-2018 and has previously served on a number of Government bodies including the Audit Review Group established by the Government following the Public Accounts Committee Enquiry into DIRT (2002).

Professor Christopher Hodges is Professor of Justice Systems, and Head of the Swiss Re/CMS Research Programme on Civil Justice Systems, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. He is a Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College Oxford. He is Visiting Professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, was Erasmus Professor of the Fundamentals of private Law at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and has held visiting posts at the Australian National University, and Leuven University. Before becoming an academic, he was a practising lawyer for 25 years based in the City of London.

He has published widely in the fields of regulation and enforcement, multiple forms of dispute resolution, especially consumer ombudsmen, and litigation funding and costs. Recent books include Law and Corporate Behaviour (Hart 2015), and DR Hensler, C Hodges and I Tzankova (eds), Class Actions in Context: How Culture, Economics and Politics Shape Collective Litigation (Edward Elgar 2016); and C Hodges, I Benoehr and N Creutzfeldt, Consumer ADR in Europe (Hart 2012).

Professor Hodges is a member of the Board of The Foundation for Law, Justice, and Society (2015), and of the UK Research Integrity Office (2008), Member of the Examinations Board of the Society of Apothecaries of London (2012).

Derville Rowland was appointed Director of Enforcement at Central Bank of Ireland in April 2013. She is responsible for the activities of the Enforcement Directorate which includes investigations and enforcement of issues relating to prudential, conduct of business, consumer protection, securities regulations, fitness and probity, enforcement policy, refusal and revocations of authorisations and specialist Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorist Financing supervisory inspections.  Derville joined the Central Bank in 2004 to set up the Administrative Sanctions Procedure and was appointed Head of Enforcement 1 in 2010. Prior to this, Derville worked for ACCA as Regulatory Counsel, where she led Disciplinary and Admissions and Licensing cases, and gained extensive experience whilst practicing as a barrister in London and the South Eastern Circuit. Derville completed a Bachelor of Law Degree and barrister's training (Inns of Court School of Law) in London. Subsequently she obtained a Barrister-at-Law degree from Kings Inns in Dublin and a Diploma in Applied Finance Law.

Professor Colin Scott is Professor of EU Regulation & Governance at University College Dublin. He is Director of the UCD Centre for Regulation and Governance and is a co-author of the Irish State Administration Database (2010). He is a co-editor of Legal Studies and has previously held editorial responsibilities with Law & Policy and the Modern Law Review. He has undertaken research projects on telecommunications regulation, regulation of government and meta-regulation, funded by, amongst others, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the Australian Research Council, The Leverhulme Trust, and the European Commission (Framework Programme 6).

His current research includes a study of regulatory capacity and effectiveness in Ireland (funded by IRC and the IPA) and an investigation of the legitimacy, enforcement, quality and effectiveness of transnational private regulation, jointly with colleagues at the European University Institute and Utrecht University (funded by the Hague Institute for Internationalization of Law).

Professor Scott studied law at the London School of Economics and at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Prior to his appointment at UCD in 2006 he lectured at the University of Warwick and at the London School of Economics. He was Senior Fellow in Public Law in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University between 2001 and 2003 and a Professor of Law at the College of Europe, Bruges between 2006 and 2009.