The Law School of University College Dublin

A history


W.N. Osborough

Hardback €45.00
Catalogue Price: €50.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-542-2
October 2014. 330pp; ills.

‘As with all of his publications, [this book] is much more than the title would lead the reader to expect an he begins his thoughts on the teaching of law as far back as the law schools in the Italian, twelfth-century universities. He deals very thoroughly with the early years of the UCD law school using extensive records from the college archive and the reports of the governing body meetings. As historian for the earlier period of the school, he presents a colourful picture of the early history and the critical years before and after independence. This volume is at its most interesting when dealing with the period since 1950. The author’s choice of emphasis and his personal perspective, meticulously supported by documentary research, makes this both a history and a commentary on that period … there is much in this book that will be of interest to a wider readership than the UCD community … [this is] a refreshingly thoughtful history of the law school … Osborough has once again opened a fascinating chapter in our history in his own inimitable style’, Timothy P. O'Neill, Irish Economic and Social History (2016).

‘[UCD has] a dynamic law school, the gradual development of which, from about 1967 onwards, is well described in this book … the author has launched into fascinating biographical sketches of several of the significant professors, not just relating to their work in the college, but to their public lives in general. The author has largely concentrated on four professors who had long spells in office in the early period, namely J.G. Swift MacNeill, Arthur Clery, M.J. Ryan and Daniel Binchy … The overall impression, well reflected in this book, is that the UCD Law School has escaped from its distinctly chequered history in the early years and has now gone from strength to strength … Professor Osborough is to be congratulated for a multifaceted and highly engaging book’, Hugh Geoghegan, Irish Jurist (2015).

‘The author of this remarkable book, Prof. Nial Osborough, is uniquely qualified to write this history … One of the many delightful features of this book is the biographical “essay” and sketch on the leading professor and deans of the Law School since its foundation. Some of the assessments quoted by the author, together with the author’s own comments on the professoriate and others associated with the Law School of UCD, are literary gems … In his informative and highly readable book, Prof. Osborough has made a profound contribution of permanent value’, Eamonn G. Hall, Law Society Gazette (March 2015). 

‘One of the great successes of the book is the manner in which it deals with both the courses and other academic elements of the School of Law, which it marries with an account of the individuals who populated its walls, both student and academic … This book is an invaluable addition to the corpus of legal history in Ireland. It should also prove of interest to those concerned with tertiary education … The publication of this volume is to be welcomed’, Donal Coffey, Dublin University Law Journal (2015).

‘Published histories of university law schools make up only a very small and select library, principal amongst these being the histories of the Harvard (1908) and Oxford (1968) schools. The present volume is a worthy addition to those distinguished studies … no author of a history of the law school  of University College Dublin (UCD) could be better placed than Professor Nial Osborough, a former Dean who joined the law school as a college lecturer in 1968. His decades of service to the school and his affection for it shine through every page … a scholarly and entertaining volume [and] overall a very worthwhile volume, setting out a detailed and engaging account of a century of growth from an authoritative and scholarly standpoint’, Christopher McNall, Law Quarterly Review (2015).

‘A very interesting exploration of the historical context of legal education in Ireland before independence … This is a wonderful history of the School of Law', Michael Merrigan, Ireland’s Genealogical Gazette (December 2014)