Date01 January 2019
AuthorCiarán Donohue
is year marks the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Hibernian Law
Journal. It is tting therefore to reect on its contribution to the legal community
in Ireland. e Journal was founded by a group of trainee solicitors with the aim
of providing solicitors, trainee solicitors, young academics and law students with a
platform to publish academic writing, and a forum to engage in academic discussion
of the law. As has been the tradition since its inception, the Journal’s Editorial
Committee is composed entirely of trainee and newly qualied solicitors. e
Committee consistently strives to publish the work of members of the profession –
an aim which has once again been realised in this year’s Volume.
It is vital that solicitors are part of any conversation on the review and reform of
the law. For this reason, the Journal lls an important space in the legal community
in Ireland. Like legal academics, and our colleagues at the Bar, solicitors engage
with the law on a daily basis. However, unique to our profession is daily exposure
to our clients, the public, on whom the law impacts in a profound way: when
selling a house, applying for a job, borrowing money, suing for personal injury, or
upon marital breakdown. Solicitors are privy to their clients’ most trying personal
situations, and understand how the law aects them – for better or for worse –
in a way that few other groups can. ese practical insights allow us to invigorate
academic discussion of the law and enhance its relevance.
Meaningful engagement with the law and legal theory also improves our work as
solicitors. Long hours and the pressures of a busy practice can oen prevent lawyers
from taking pause to consider, discuss, and reect on the law that we apply every
day. Ignorance of the law, its subtleties and its theoretical underpinnings poses a
danger to the quality and reliability of our legal advice. At the launch of Volume 17
of the Journal last July, Mr Justice Michael Peart, a former Judge-in-Residence of the
Journal and our steadfast supporter for many years, commented on the importance
of academic writing for law students, and for lawyers, noting that ‘each individual
has the capacity to develop his or her potential from resources within’ but in order
to do so, ‘one must by the facility of an inquisitive mind research, question, probe,
doubt, examine and eventually understand and own the subject’. e Journal allows
solicitors and trainee solicitors to engage in just such a process.
As well as publication of an annual Volume, the Journal has welcomed an impressive
list of legal scholars to speak at its Annual Lecture over the years. In this way, it
has facilitated discussion on the most important legal issues of the day, ranging
from major constitutional shis (such as Professor Gráinne de Búrca’s lecture on
the Nice Treaty in 2000 and Professor Sir David Edward’s lecture on the future of
the European Union post-Lisbon in 2010) to the review of discrete areas of law

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