Frank Clarke (judge)

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Frank Clarke
12th Chief Justice of Ireland
Assumed office
28 July 2017
Nominated byGovernment of Ireland
Appointed byMichael D. Higgins
Preceded bySusan Denham
Judge of the Supreme Court
Assumed office
9 February 2012
Nominated byGovernment of Ireland
Appointed byMichael D. Higgins
Judge of the High Court
In office
23 November 2004 – 7 February 2012
Nominated byGovernment of Ireland
Appointed byMary McAleese
Personal details
Born (1951-10-10) 10 October 1951 (age 67)
Walkinstown, Dublin, Ireland
Spouse(s)Jacqueline Hayden (m. 1977)
EducationDrimnagh Castle
Alma mater
WebsiteOfficial website

Frank Clarke (born 10 October 1951) is the 12th and current Chief Justice of Ireland. He took his seat on 28 July 2017, having been appointed by Michael D. Higgins. He has served as a Judge of the Supreme Court since February 2012. He previously served as a Judge of the High Court from 2004 to 2012.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Clarke was born on 10 October 1951 in Walkinstown, Dublin, Ireland.[2] He was educated at Drimnagh Castle Secondary School, a Christian Brothers secondary school in Dublin.[2] He later studied Economics and Maths at undergraduate level in University College Dublin and subsequently he studied to become a barrister at King's Inns.

Legal career[edit]

He was called to the Bar in 1973 and to the Inner Bar in 1985.[3] He was Chairman of the Bar Council from 1993 to 1995. He had a practice in commercial, constitutional and family law. He was external counsel to the Laffoy inquiry on child abuse, the Ryan Inquiry, and represented the Flood Tribunal in its case against Liam Lawlor.[4]

He was appointed a Judge of the High Court in 2004. He was chairman of the Referendum Commission for the second Lisbon Treaty referendum in 2009.[5] As a High Court judge he gave a ruling, on the Leas Cross nursing home case against RTÉ, that the public interest justified the broadcasting of material that otherwise would have been protected by the right to privacy.[4]

He was appointed to the Supreme Court on the 9 February 2012.[3] On 26 July 2017, it was announced that the Cabinet had agreed to nominate Clarke for appointment by the President of Ireland as the next Chief Justice of Ireland, to succeed Susan Denham on the expiry of her term of office.[2][6] He is due to retire in 2021.

Clarke is particularly noted for the clarity of his judgments and highly proficient style of writing.

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Dr. Jacqueline Hayden since 1977 and they have a son and a daughter.[4]


  1. ^ "President Higgins appoints Chief Justice". 28 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Supreme Court judge Frank Clarke chosen as new chief justice". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Appointments to the Supreme Court". 29 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "Two new Supreme Court judges chosen". The Irish Times. 29 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Referendum Commission". Citizens Information. 16 October 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  6. ^ "Appointment of Chief Justice". 26 July 2017.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Susan Denham
Chief Justice of Ireland

External links[edit]