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Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School - Green Background

Country Details

Ireland

  • People v. Jem, Ireland, Court of Criminal Appeals, 2000.
    The defendant was convicted of four counts of sexual assault against a 15 year-old girl. He appealed on the grounds that the judge did not instruct the jury as to the danger of convicting the accused in the absence of corroboration of the victim's testimony. The Court rejected the appeal and held that the Criminal Law (Rape) Amendment leaves it to the judge's discretion whether to issue a warning about corroboration or not. 
  • A. and B. v. Eastern Health Board, Ireland, High Court, 1997.
    C. was a 13 year-old girl who became pregnant as a result of rape allegedly by a family friend and was now in State care.  The health board sought a court order to allow her to travel outside the State to obtain an abortion because abortion was illegal in Ireland except where the pregnancy formed a real and substantial risk to the woman's life. The Court granted the health board's order permitting C. to travel outside the State to obtain an abortion. The Court based its decision on the fact that the girl's risk of suicide presented a real and substantial risk to her life, entitling her to an abortion within Ireland as well.  
  • Attorney General v. X. and Others, Ireland, Supreme Court, 1992.
    X was a 14 year-old girl who became pregnant and suicidal after being raped.  Her parents tried to take her to England in order to obtain a first-trimester abortion that was illegal in Ireland but the Attorney General obtained an interim injunction from the High Court restraining the girl and her parents from leaving the country for a period of nine months or from arranging an abortion for her. The family appealed.  The Supreme Court held that the Constitution's prohibition on abortion did not prevent a suicidal 14 year-old, pregnant as the result of rape, from obtaining an abortion in Ireland, because the suicide was a substantial risk to the life of the pregnant girl. The Court also struck down the injunction prohibiting the girl from leaving the country.
  • Case of Airey v. Ireland, Ireland, European Court of Human Rights, 1979.
    Family law, domestic violence and the right of access to court.  Petitioner, a domestic violence survivor, could not find legal assistance to appear before a court.  The Court ruled that member states must guarantee effective access to the courts.
  • De Burca and Anderson v. Attorney General, Ireland, Supreme Court, 1975.
    The plaintiffs were two female criminal defendants who chose to be tried by a jury and objected to the Juries Act of 1927 which excluded all women from jury pools except those who opted to be part of the potential jurors list.  The Supreme Court ruled the Juries Act unconstitutional because it constituted invidious discrimination on the basis of sex.