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“Although the phrase 'from humble beginnings' might have been expected to get a run out, it would be most inappropriate to refer to the COLR in such terms. This is because when a few daring and ambitious students chose to establish Ireland’s first student run law review in 2002 they very much dove in at the deep end. The idea had been in the pipeline for years and they now decided it was time to go and get it done.


They began their work in earnest, following more or less the same schedule as the current Committee follows today. First up was the appeal for submissions. Next each essay was read and the best were then forwarded to the faculty. Those deemed to be of a publishable quality then had to be edited and sources checked. All the while there were other responsibilities such as the question of sponsorship, not to mention a guest speaker! Fortunately, both were solved. When the Chief Justice himself accepted they knew they were onto something a bit special.


Being the first, they had to learn on their feet. Thus, the shape of the publication was to evolve constantly, including the name. It could so easily have been The Honan Online Law Review (after the beautiful on campus chapel), but the Cork Online Law Review was eventually preferred due to the recognisability factor for those outside the university.

The Faculty were behind the project from the get go and provided reams of invaluable advice. By far and away the best of these was the proposal that the Review should be published online to supplement the hard copy. It made the Review truly cutting edge and unique. It also made it available on a global basis. This has proved to be no mere idle aspiration. The Review today has links on the websites of institutions such as St Louis University, New York University and the Library of Congress in the United States.


That first launch went off without a blemish and each successive launch has continued to do so since. The nine ensuing editions have all maintained the dizzying heights achieved by the first. There have been some developments along the way such as a decision to standardise editions according to the Oxford Style Guide and the availability of the editions in a condensed PDF. Recent years have seen an explosion in the number of submissions, with the last two years seeing well in excess of two hundred.


I may have refused to begin with a cliché but I will finish on one. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Thus, it is with an element of symmetry that it seems appropriate that just as one Chief Justice ushered in one decade of excellence, we hope another will do the same.”

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2002 Chief Justice Mr Ronan Keane

2003 Mr Frederick Morris of the Morris Tribunal

2004 Ms Emily Reilly, Ombudsman and Information Commissioner

2005 Mrs Justice Susan Denham

2006 Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness

2007 Ms Carol Coulter of the Irish Times

2008 Professor Gerry Whyte of Trinity College Dublin

2009 Mr James McGuill, Former President of the Law Society

2010 Mr David O’ Hagan, Chief State Solicitor

2011 Chief Justice Mr John Murray

2012 Ms Fionnula Mulcahy, Letters Editor of The Irish Times

2013 Chief Justice, Mrs Susan Denham

2014 Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman

2015 Ms Claire Loftus, Director of Public Prosecutions

2016 Mr William Binchy, Emeritus Professor of Law

2017 Mr Justice Gerard Hogan

2018 Mr Justice William McKechnie

2019 Ms Justice Marie Baker

2020. Chief Justice, Mr Frank Clarke



past speakers
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