When given the task of discussing the sources of law in modern Ireland, two sub-categories always spring to mind. Firstly, the persuasive sources of law which do not always have to be followed. Contrasting with these are the binding sources of law, which are always enforceable. I will focus on and discuss the latter throughout this paper. I will compare and contrast the binding sources of law in the following categories; Common law, European law, Constitutional law, Legislation, Jurisprudence, Custom.
“Sources of law are the legal origins of rules”, in my opinion, the most influential source of law in Ireland today is Common law. Although Brehon law preceded it, Common law is more apparent in our legal system today. Common law originated in England, is based on past judicial decisions and “by the virtue of the doctrine of precedent, enjoy binding force of law”. Parts of this law are still binding in Ireland today unless re-addressed in for example, the Constitution.
European law precedents Irish law, in this way the Irish Constitution is overruled by the Treaties passed in the European Court of Justice, Luxembourg. However, these Treaties must be voted in by the Irish public via referendum. Most recently in Ireland, controversy surrounded the Treaty of Lisbon. In this case, Irish citizens decided that they did not agree with the Treaty and certainly didn’t want it to be binding in Ireland, and hence voted “No to Lisbon”. In another recent case, a Nigerian woman was set to be deported by the Irish government until the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) stepped in and sent a letter declaring she is not to be deported until the ECHR consider her application. In this example, this woman and her children would have been sent back to the danger of genital mutilation in Nigeria if it had not been for the intervention of the ECHR. Therefore it is clear that it is very important for the European Courts to have power over Irish court decisions today....
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