The Legal Services Regulatory Authority is an independent body established under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. The Authority’s members are appointed by the government following a nomination process designed to ensure the independence of the Authority.
The Authority is comprised of eleven members who are appointed by the Government following nomination by ten bodies. The nomination process is designed to ensure the independence of the Authority. It also ensures a balance of interests between legal practitioners and consumers who avail of their services.
The Authority is required by law to be independent in the performance of its functions. Authority members are required to protect and promote the public interest. They are nominees and not representatives of the nominating bodies.
In total, six members of the Authority are lay people – that is they are not practicing as solicitors or barristers. This includes the Authority’s chairperson.
The six lay members are nominated by the following bodies:
- the Citizens Information Board;
- the Higher Education Authority;
- the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission;
- the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission;
- the Institute of Legal Costs Accountants; and
- the Consumers’ Association of Ireland.
Of the five non-lay members one is nominated by the Bar of Ireland, one is a solicitor nominated by the Legal Aid Board, one member is nominated by the Honorable Society of King’s Inns and two are nominated by the Law Society.
Dr Don Thornhill – Chair
Higher Education Authority
Dr Don Thornhill currently chairs the Legal Services Regulatory Authority. He also chairs the Standing Committee of Dublin Maternity Hospitals and is a consultant and adviser on strategy and policy. His previous board memberships have included the National Competitiveness Council, Hibernia College, the Chartered Accountants’ Regulatory Board, the Irish Payments Services Organisation, the Irish Management Institute, Forfás, the Digital Hub, the Fulbright Commission and Science Foundation Ireland. Between 1993 and 2005 he was successively Secretary General of the Department of Education and Science and Executive Chair of the Higher Education Authority.
Eileen Barrington SC
Honorable Society of King’s Inns
Eileen Barrington is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, the King’s Inns and the College of Europe, Bruges. Eileen commenced practice as a barrister in 1994 and became a senior counsel in 2011. She practises mainly in the areas of European, commercial, administrative and regulatory law.
Citizens Information Board
Angela Black is the Chief Executive of the Citizens Information Board. Qualified in ICT as well as banking risk, Angela’s experience includes consumer financial services in the Department of Finance and Ireland’s EU Commission negotiations. She worked on financial services in the European Commission in Brussels from 2007-2011 and chaired the European Parliament mortgage credit directive negotiations.
Law Society of Ireland
Geraldine Clarke is a Partner in Gleeson McGrath Baldwin Solicitors in Dublin, where she practises in the area of litigation. She is a past President of the Law Society of Ireland. She is a former Chair of the Professional Ethics Committee of the International Bar Association and has served as a Board member of the Irish Financial Services Appeal Tribunal.
Legal Aid Board
Joan Crawford is Regional Manager for the Legal Aid Board, having worked as a solicitor and subsequently as a Managing Solicitor in various Law Centres in the Dublin region. In her current role Joan is also involved in developing policy, governance and strategy for the Board. She has experience in general practice and local government, as well as extensive experience in Family Law and Mediation, Child Abduction and Child Care cases in all courts. Joan has a Masters in Public Management and Diplomas in European Law, Child Care Law and Mental Health and Capacity Law. She is a member of the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association and Family Lawyers’ Association.
Institute of Legal Costs Accountants
Stephen Fitzpatrick is the managing partner of Peter Fitzpatrick & Co Legal Costs Accountants. He is also a Mediator and Costs Lawyer. Stephen is a past Secretary of the Institute of Legal Costs Accountants and has been a member of the board of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority since 2016 and currently is Chair of the Finance Audit and Risk Committee of the Authority.
Dermott Jewell is Policy and Council Advisor to the Consumers’ Association of Ireland. He was elected President of ANEC – The European Consumer Voice in Standardisation in June 2019. Mr Jewell is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration (Irish Branch) CIArb with accreditations in Employment Investigation and Mediation. He is a Member of the Irish Institute of Mediation and the Institute of Directors. He was recently awarded the IPA-UCD Professional Certificate in Governance.
Law Society of Ireland
James MacGuill qualified as a solicitor in 1986 having first obtained his BCL in UCC. He has practised continuously ever since mainly in the field of public law. He has served as President of the Law Society of Ireland (2007/2008) and is currently Second Vice President of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe.
Deirdre Mc Hugh
Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
Deirdre McHugh is Head of International Affairs in the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). She was previously Head of Advocacy at the CCPC and has extensive experience in the area of competition and consumer policy. Deirdre holds a Postgraduate Diploma in EU Competition Law from King’s College London. She has an MSc (Competition and Regulation) from NUI Maynooth and an M.A. (Economics) from University College Dublin.
Sara Moorhead SC
Bar of Ireland
Sara Moorhead is a Senior Counsel and a Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) Accredited Mediator. She is primarily a trial lawyer/courtroom advocate. She has extensive expertise in the areas of Judicial Review, Personal Injuries, Administrative and Contract Law, Medical Negligence, Professional Negligence, Insurance Law, non-Jury, Asylum and Immigration law. She has represented the Government in proceedings before the European Court of Justice. She has also advised the Office of the Parliamentary Legal Adviser and acted as Legal Counsel in a number of Tribunals of Inquiry.
Prof Gerry Whyte
Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
Gerry Whyte is a Professor in Trinity Law School, Trinity College Dublin. The author and co-author of books on public interest law, constitutional law and trade union law, he has also edited books on aspects of law and religion and Irish social welfare law. He is also active in a number of social justice and legal aid organisations.