The Law Reform Commission comprises 5 Commissioners, the President and 4 other Commissioners (one appointed on a full-time basis). In accordance with the Law Reform Commission Act 1975, the Commissioners are appointed by the Government for a term of up to 5 years and their appointment may be renewed.
The Commissioners are supported by its staff, comprising the Director of Research, the Access to Legislation Manager and Head of Administration, together with the Deputy Director of Research, 2 Deputy Access to Legislation Managers, the Legal Information Manager, 10 legal researchers and 4 administrative staff.
Ms. Justice Mary Laffoy
Ms Justice Mary Laffoy graduated from University College Dublin with a B.A. degree in 1968. Subsequently, between 1968 and 1971 she studied law at University College Dublin and at the Honourable Society of King’s Inns in Dublin. She was called to the Bar in July 1971.
She practised as a barrister from the Michaelmas term in 1971 until her appointment to the High Court. She was admitted to the Inner Bar in the Michaelmas term of 1987.
She was appointed a judge of the High Court in April 1995. While on the High Court Bench, she was primarily involved in civil litigation, principally in the area of chancery law. She was appointed to the Supreme Court in October 2013 and retired in June 2017.
Ms Justice Laffoy chaired the Citizens’ Assembly from July 2016 to June 2018, when it published its Final Report.
In October 2018, she was appointed President of the Commission.
Full Time Commissioner
Raymond was appointed full-time Commissioner in April 2016. Prior to his appointment, the was Director of Research in the Commission. He qualified as a barrister in 1982, and between 1982 and 2007 he was a lecturer in law in the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University.
He has published widely on legal matters. He is the author of a number of texts on safety and health law, including Safety and Health Legislation: Annotated and Consolidated (Round Hall Thomson Reuters, 2013). He is also co-author of Byrne and McCutcheon on the Irish Legal System 6th edition (Bloomsbury Professional, 2014) and of the Annual Review of Irish Law series (Round Hall Thomson Reuters). He was also a contributor to Macleod and Hodges (eds), Redress Schemes for Personal Injuries (Hart Publishing, 2017) and Percival and Sayers (eds), Changing the Law: A Practical Guide to Law Reform (Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies, 2017)
Raymond chaired a Working Group whose work led to a Council of Europe 2009 Recommendation on Missing Persons and Presumption of Death. He is currently a member of the Research Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. He was previously Chair of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and President of the Irish Association of Law Teachers.
Part Time Commissioner
Tom O’Malley is a Senior Lecturer in Law at NUI Galway and a practising member of the Irish bar where he specialises in constitutional law, administrative law and criminal law. He was educated at NUI Galway where he received a Master’s Degree in Classics and the LL.B. degree, and at Yale University where he received the LL.M. degree. He has been a member of the NUI Galway Law School since 1987 and has taught a wide range of public and private law subjects. He is a former Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford Criminology Centre and has served on many bodies and committees dealing with aspects of law reform, He is a member of the steering committee of the Irish Sentencing Information System.
He is the author of 10 books including Sentencing Law and Practice (3rd ed., 2016), Sexual Offences (2nd ed., 2013); Sentencing: Towards a Coherent System (2011), The Criminal Process (2009) and Sources of Law (2nd ed, 2001). He has also published numerous articles and book chapters. He has given guest lectures at many Irish, British, European and American Universities and he taught a postgraduate course in comparative criminology at the University of Leiden in 2012. He is currently preparing a new edition of The Criminal Process as well as a book on comparative sentencing law.
Part Time Commissioner
Professor Donncha O'Connell was initially appointed as a part-time Commissioner in March 2012 and re-appointed for a full term in July 2012. He is Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway where he teaches Constitutional Law, European Human Rights, Processes of Law Reform and Advocacy, Activism & Public Interest Law. Professor O’Connell was called to the Irish Bar in 1992.
He is also a member of the Legal Aid Board, to which he was appointed in 2011. He was a member of the board of INTERIGHTS – The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Rights until the end of 2012. From 1999-2002 he was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL). He has in the past also been a member of the National Council of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd and of the National Executive Committee of Amnesty International - Ireland.
Commissioner O’Connell was Dean of Law at NUI Galway from 2005-2008 after which he spent a year as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE. He edits the Irish Human Rights Law Review published biennially by Clarus Press.
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart
Part Time Commissioner
Ms. Justice Carmel Stewart attended University College Galway where she was conferred with both BA and LLB Degrees. Thereafter she studied at the Kings Inns where she was conferred with a Degree of Barrister-at-Law.Carmel was admitted tothe Bar of Ireland in 1987. She practiced extensively in the areas of child law and adoption, family law, mental health, wards of court and vulnerable adults. She appeared in many high profile and reported cases such as the Baby Anne case at the High and Supreme Courts and the A, B, C case at the European Court of Human Rights. She was admitted to the Inner Bar in 2008. Apart from her legal practice, she has served in a number of organizations and bodies. She is a former vice chairperson of the Employment Appeals Tribunal, is a former director and board member of Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) and has always taken a keen interest in issues surrounding access to justice and law reform.
She served as board member and Chair of the National College of Art & Design. She also served on the Mountjoy Visiting Committee, monitoring and reporting on prison conditions. She is a member and former chairperson of the Family Lawyers’ Association. Ms. Justice Stewart was appointed to the Circuit Court Bench in April, 2012 and was appointed to the High Court Bench in October, 2014.