Adrian Hardiman

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The Hon. Mr. Justice
Adrian Hardiman
Adrian Hardiman - 20090224.jpg
Judge of the Supreme Court
Assumed office
7 February 2000
Nominated by Government of Ireland
Appointed by Mary McAleese
Personal details
Born 1951
Nationality Irish
Spouse(s) Yvonne Murphy
Alma mater Belvedere College, UCD, King's Inns
Occupation Barrister

Adrian Hardiman (born 1951) has been a justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland since 7 February 2000. He received the rare honour of being appointed directly from the Bar to Ireland's highest court. Many commentators were surprised by his appointment as he was (by judicial standards) a relatively young man making it likely he would serve on the court for an unusually long time. Hardiman was also a noted bon viveur whilst a barrister and by tradition was required post appointment to not socialise in the same manner that he had done before. Prior to his elevation to the Supreme Court, he was one of the leading and best paid members of the Irish bar.


Educated by the Jesuits at Belvedere College, Dublin and University College Dublin (where he studied history) and Kings Inns. He was president of the Student Union at UCD and Auditor of the Literary and Historical Society (University College Dublin) and won The Irish Times National Debating Championship in 1973.


His wife, Yvonne Murphy, from County Donegal, is a judge of the Circuit Court and was appointed on 28 March 2006 to chair the Commission of Investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy from, or attached to, the Archdiocese of Dublin between 1 January 1975 and 1 May 2004. They have three sons, one of whom, Eoin, is a barrister (and a member of the Mountjoy Prison Visiting Committee); another, Hugh, was a personal assistant to Michael McDowell, when he was Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, and Daniel (Medical Student).

Political career[edit]

He joined Fianna Fáil in college and stood (unsuccessfully) for the party in the local elections in 1979. Despite his Fianna Fáil activism he became a founder member of the Progressive Democrats and left the party when appointed to the Supreme Court. He is still considered to be very close to the former party leader and ex-Tánaiste, Michael McDowell and up to his appointment to the Supreme Court was reported to be donating £10,000 to the parties finances. Politically, he was pro-choice, being active in the "anti-amendment" campaign during the 1982 Abortion Referendum and later represented the Well Woman Centre in the early 1990s.[1]

Key judgments[edit]

Hardiman has written a number of important judgments since joining the Court. He has also presided (as does each Supreme Court judge on a rotating basis) over the Court of Criminal Appeal. The following is a selection of judgments delivered by Mr Justice Hardiman, in reverse chronological order:

  • O'Callaghan -v- Judge Mahon:[2] dissent; holding that Tribunal of Inquiry should be prevented from further inquiring into the applicants; cites R -v- Lynch (1829) – the Doneraile Conspiracy case – in which by skilful cross-examination Daniel O'Connell secured acquittals on capital charges; concluded that the contrary approach "would represent a very marked coarsening of our standards of procedural fairness."
  • Shortt -v- The Commissioner of An Garda Síochána:[3] one of two judgments, in which the Court more than doubled (€1.9m to €4.7m) the damages granted to a man wrongfully imprisoned for over two years after two members of the Garda Síochána concocted evidence against him
  • P.H. -v- D.P.P.[4][5]
  • D.P.P. -v- Anthony Barnes:[6] discusses and restates the criminal law of self-defence in the case of burglary
  • McK. -v- Homan[7][8]
  • N -v- Health Service Executive:[9][10] one of five judgments given by the Court; this case concerned the circumstances in which a parent may exercise the right provided for in Irish law to rescind initial consent to adoption.
  • A. -v- The Governor of Arbour Hill Prison:[11] one of five judgments; the case concerned a "collateral" challenge by a prisoner to the lawfulness of his detention following the judgment in C.C. -v- Ireland (see immediately below).
  • C.C. -v- Ireland:[12] striking down as unconstitutional part of the law on statutory rape, due to the absence in any circumstances of a defence of honest mistake as to age.
  • O'Callaghan -v- The Hon. Mr. Justice Mahon[13]
  • Gough -v- Neary[14]
  • Lobe -v- Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform:[15] one of seven judgments in a case concerning whether the State could deport the parents of Irish citizens who were still minors; the Court by a majority (5–2) dismissed the appeal and allowed the deportation of the family.
  • Dunne -v- D.P.P.:[16] one of a series of cases, beginning with Braddish v D.P.P., in which the Court considered the contours of the Garda Síochána's duty to seek out and preserve evidence relevant to a criminal trial.
  • Ardagh -v-. Maguire:[17] this case concerned the procedures to be applied by a parliamentary inquiry into an incident in which members of the Garda Síochána shot dead a civilian, John Carthy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The judges matter more than the ministers". Irish Independent. 30 January 2000. 
  2. ^ O'Callaghan v Judge Mahon [2007] IESC S17 (30 March 2007)
  3. ^ Shortt v The Commissioner of An Garda Síochána [2007] IESC S9 (21 March 2007)
  4. ^ P.H. v D.P.P. [2007] IESC S3 (29 January 2007), Supreme Court (Ireland)
  5. ^ "P.H. -v- D.P.P.". Supreme Court of Ireland. 
  6. ^ "D.P.P. v Anthony Barnes [2006] IE CCA 165". Supreme Court of Ireland. 21 December 2006. 
  7. ^ McK. v Homan [2006] IESC S63 (28 November 2006), Supreme Court (Ireland)
  8. ^ "McK. v Homan [2006] IESC 63". Supreme Court of Ireland. 
  9. ^ N. & another -v- Health Service Executive & others [2006] IESC S60 (13 November 2006)
  10. ^ "N v Health Service Executive [2006] IESC 60". Supreme Court of Ireland. 13 November 2006. 
  11. ^ A. v The Governor of Arbour Hill Prison [2006] IESC S45 (10 July 2006), Supreme Court (Ireland)
  12. ^ C.C. v Ireland [2006] IESC S33 (23 May 2006), Supreme Court (Ireland)
  13. ^ O'Callaghan v The Hon. Mr. Justice Mahon [2005] IESC 9 (9 March 2005), Supreme Court (Ireland)
  14. ^ Gough v Neary [2003] IESC 39 (3 July 2003), Supreme Court (Ireland)
  15. ^ Lobe v. Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2003] IESC 3 (23 January 2003), Supreme Court (Ireland)
  16. ^ Dunne v. D.P.P. [2002] IESC 27 (25 April 2002)
  17. ^ Ardagh v. Maguire [2002] IESC 21 (11 April 2002), Supreme Court (Ireland)

External links[edit]