Law - Criminal Law & Practice

Law Society of Ireland

Law - Criminal Law & Practice

Programme objectives
On successful completion of this training programme, participants will be able to:

Advocate on behalf of clients in court;

Advise clients effectively in Garda custody;

Demonstrate the ethical awareness required of practitioners when dealing with victims of crime and vulnerable witnesses;

Summarise and outline the practical implications of evidential and procedural rules;

Recognise a potential judicial review and manage a judicial review application;

Analyse the essential proofs in road traffic offences;

Appraise the role of the children’s court in the juvenile justice system;

Critically analyse the principles of sentencing law and practice;
Understand the criminal justice process in regulatory crime; and

Analyse the role of An Garda Síochána in the Criminal Justice System.
Programme structure and approach to learning

Programme structure and approach to learning
This diploma offers students in-depth exposure to and practical insight into key practice areas of criminal law in Ireland from both the prosecution and defence perspectives. A core component of the course is the goal of developing the advocacy skills of those attending, through interactive workshop sessions that mirror situations faced in the criminal justice process. The ethical and professional considerations of advising an arrested person in custody, dealing with vulnerable witnesses, and victims’ rights in a criminal trial process will be considered in detail.

The course also includes an in-depth look at sentencing law and practice. We discuss the role of the prosecution and certain State agencies in the criminal justice system, and other areas of practice will be reviewed, with a practical focus on evidential and procedural updates and coverage of emerging areas of practice such as white-collar crime and the increased impact of EU law on criminal practice.

Subjects taught

The programme is based on the following module scheme and covers key themes as listed below:

Module 1: Arrest and detention
Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act 2014,
Advising clients in Garda custody.

Module 2: Evidence and criminal law updates
Rules of evidence,
Beyond JC – the impact of the new exclusionary rule,
Recent legislative and procedural updates,
The European Arrest Warrant,
Criminal evidence and the European Convention on Human Rights,
Data protection and criminal trials,
Dwyer v Commissioner of An Garda Síochána (2018),
The role and function of the Children’s Court,
Sentencing – recent developments and emerging trends.

Module 3: The District Court and advocacy skills
Initial applications in the District Court,
District Court advocacy skills,
Running a District Court case – the role of the practitioner,
Bail applications,
Aspects of higher courts criminal advocacy,
Legal aid.

Module 4: Dealing with victims and vulnerable witnesses
Dealing with victims and vulnerable witnesses
Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017,
Prosecutorial challenges – vulnerable victims and witnesses,
Sexual offences – Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017,
Domestic Violence Act 2018.

Module 5: Judicial review
Practice and procedure in judicial review applications,
Identifying a judicial review,
Advocacy skills.

Module 6: The Role of An Garda Síochána in the Criminal Justice System
Functions and Powers of the Gardaí,
Duty to seek out & preserve evidence,
Initiating Proceedings,
Rules of Disclosure,
Understanding the Bail process and Bail applications,
Liaising with An Garda Síochána during the Courts process.

Module 7: Road traffic offences
Basic proofs in a drink-driving case,
Recent case law developments,
Advocacy skills: running a District Court case and Circuit Court appeal.

Module 8: Sentencing Law and Practice
General principles,
Mitigating factors and aggravating factors,
Relevant legislation and case law,
Sentencing - custodial, suspended sentence, fines, community service, probation and poor box, binding over, compensation orders,
Sentencing hearing.

Module 9: Regulatory crime
Regulatory crime – practice and procedure,
Criminal offences and the Companies Act 2014,
The role of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

Workshops are a key feature of this course. These are designed to be interactive and involve working in groups on selected case-study problems and analysis, with an emphasis on the application of the law to common scenarios encountered in practice.

1. Skills Session and Workshop
18 Nov 2023 10am - 3pm

2 Panel Discussion and workshop
2 Dec 2023 10am - 3pm

3 Workshop 3
13 Jan 2024 10am - 2.30pm

4 Assignment Skills Session
10 Feb 2024 10am

Saturday sessions will focus on interactive teaching methods – utilising role plays, panel discussions, mock court, case studies, and problem-based scenarios – with the aim of developing the practice skills of students.

Entry requirements

Who should attend?
This course is suitable for the following:

Solicitors, trainees, and barristers,

Members of An Garda Síochána and employees of statutory agencies and offices that have a criminal justice function,

Other suitably qualified professionals.

We welcome applications for this course from suitably qualified non-members Please explain your interest and set out any relevant experience in a cover letter and a brief CV. Such applications are subject to a supplemental fee of €335.

Application dates

The closing date for applications for this course is 6 October 2023. To apply for this course please follow the instructions on the course webpage - link below.


Delivery Method Live monthly block release lectures and workshop sessions over five weekends (Friday and Saturday).

Enrolment dates

Start Date Friday 20 October 2023 at 10:00 AM

More details
  • Attendance type

    Part time,Weekend

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    Course provider