Copies of the book Criminal Defence Representation at Garda Stations laid out on a table at the book's launch

Criminal Defence Representation at Garda Stations book launched

Bloomsbury Professional has just published Criminal Defence Representation at Garda Stations, co-authored by Prof Yvonne Daly and the late Dr Vicky Conway of the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University. A launch event was held on Thursday May 18th to mark the publication of the book, which has been described as “monumental and ground-breaking”. 

Drawing on qualitative interviews with 44 solicitors working in criminal defence practice throughout Ireland, the authors’ experience of delivering training for solicitors working in garda stations, and domestic and international research, this book shines a light on what happens in the early stages of criminal investigations in Ireland, and provides guidance to lawyers who advise clients detained in garda detention. 

Prof Yvonne Daly said that

"It was wonderful to mark the publication of the book that Vicky and I wrote together with a launch event, attended by many of those we engaged with through our work on this issue over a long number of years. Vicky and I were both fascinated by the dynamics of police station interviews, and the safeguards provided to those being detained in garda custody. We poured all of our research and expertise on this issue into this book, and it is great to be able to share it with others in this publication."

Prof Daire Keogh, President of Dublin City University, welcomed the many attendees at the launch event, which was held in the Morrison Hotel. Those present included members of the judiciary, the Policing Authority and the Garda Inspectorate, members of An Garda Síochána, practising barristers and solicitors, and academic colleagues, along with the families and friends of the co-authors. Prof Keogh highlighted DCU’s mission to transform lives and societies and the fact that, in line with that mission, this book will have a real world impact on criminal practice in Ireland.


DCU President Prof Daire Keogh speaking at the book launch
DCU President Prof Daire Keogh speaking at the launch of Criminal Defence Representation at Garda Stations.

The keynote speaker for the evening, the Honorable Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh, highlighted the importance of fairness within the criminal process in the broader context of upholding the rule of law. She noted the authors’ observation that the centre of gravity of the criminal process has moved backwards from the courtroom, into the police station, and the impact of this shift on the system as a whole. She reflected on the manner in which the book blends both theoretical and practical information, including useful checklists and guidance for lawyers who carry out this work. Beyond those who work in this area though, Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh considered that this book will be of interest to a wide audience, and highlighted the use of direct quotations from lawyers which are employed throughout the book to give a very clear picture of their experiences and views. She referenced in particular the second chapter of the book, which examines the practice of lawyering in garda stations, exploring, amongst other things, the motivations of criminal defence lawyers, their fears, their coping mechanisms, and the practical challenges of providing legal advice and representation to those under suspicion of criminal offending.

Shalom Binchy also addressed those present at the launch. Shalom, who has recently been nominated for appointment to the District Court bench, has worked as a solicitor in criminal practice for twenty years and was recently a member of the Policing Authority. She discussed the value of the book to practitioners and reflected also on the SUPRALAT training programme, which Vicky and Yvonne began delivering to solicitors in Ireland in 2017. She remembered that through the training she and other colleagues came to value their own work in garda stations more highly than they had before, and the acknowledgement, both in the training and in this book, that this sort of work is challenging, but important, is a valuable one.

Prof Ed Cape, Emeritus Professor of Criminal Law and Practice at the University of the West of England, Bristol, who wrote the Foreword to the book, also spoke, and placed the book in a European and International context. He reflected on the increased acknowledgement of the importance of access to legal advice from the first point of the criminal process onwards, in both the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, and certain EU Directives, as well as in international policy and legislative instruments. He noted that while the establishment of a right or entitlement to legal advice is important, the practicalities of giving effect to this right are even more so, and can be slow to be established in a satisfactory way, across many jurisdictions.

Prof Yvonne Daly then thanked all of those who have supported and encouraged both her and Vicky throughout their work in this area. All speakers on the night spoke warmly about Vicky, her work, and her significant impact on policing and criminal justice in Ireland. She was remembered as a wonderful academic, a courageous public commentator, and a kind friend. The late Robert Purcell, who was a central member of the SUPRALAT training team, was also remembered by all speakers, and his loss was felt strongly by all present. 

Further information on Criminal Defence Representation at Garda Stations can be found by following the link here.