Iseult O'Malley

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Iseult O'Malley
Judge of the Supreme Court
Assumed office
6 October 2015
Nominated byGovernment of Ireland
Appointed byMichael D. Higgins
Judge of the High Court
In office
21 July 2012 – 6 October 2015
Nominated byGovernment of Ireland
Appointed byMichael D. Higgins
Personal details
Iseult Pauline Mary O'Malley

(1964-06-30) 30 June 1964 (age 56)
Dalkey, Dublin, Ireland
Alma mater

Iseult Pauline Mary O'Malley (born 30 June 1964) is an Irish judge who has served as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland since October 2015. She previously served as a Judge of the High Court from 2012 to 2015.

Early life[edit]

O'Malley was born in 1964 to Una O'Higgins O'Malley, a writer, and Eoin O'Malley, a heart surgeon.[1][2][3] She is a granddaughter of Kevin O'Higgins, the Minister for Justice who was assassinated in 1927.[4] She has five brothers, including Chris O'Malley.[3][5]

She was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and King's Inns.[6] She was the individual runner-up of the Irish Times Debate in 1982 and debated in the final of the Observer Mace in 1985 with David Keane.[7][8]

Legal career[edit]

She was called to the Bar in 1987, and became a Senior Counsel in 2007.[6] She practised mainly in criminal law.[9]

She was Director and Chair of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) from 1985 to 2012.[9] During her time as chairperson, the organisation campaigned for the introduction of civil legal aid.[10] She won a Person of the Year Award in 2004 for her work with FLAC.[6] She also chaired the Refugee Agency between 1993 and 1996.[11]

She was a member of the Employment Appeals Tribunal between 1995 and 1998 and concurrently served on the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal.[12]

She was appointed a Bencher of the King's Inns in 2012.[9]

Judicial career[edit]

She was appointed as a Judge of the High Court in 2012.[4]

She was nominated to the Supreme Court in July 2015[13] and was appointed by the President of Ireland on 1 October 2015.[14] She made the Declaration required by the Constitution of a Justice of the Supreme Court on 6 October 2015.[15] She has delivered opinions for the court in final appeals involving criminal law,[16] contract law,[17] EU law,[18] ward of court,[19] and judicial review.[20]


  1. ^ "Births, Marriages and Deaths". Irish Press. 9 July 1964. p. 2.
  2. ^ "Remembering Kevin O'Higgins and his three IRA killers". 10 July 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Pioneering heart surgeon dies at 88". Irish Independent. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Top barrister at tribunal appointed High Court judge". Irish Examiner. 9 May 2012.
  5. ^ Brennock, Mark (31 August 1983). "Shattering Garret". Magill. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Appointments to the Supreme Court, High Court and District Court". 23 July 2015.
  7. ^ "TCD team takes debating award". The Irish Times. 25 February 1982. p. 6.
  8. ^ "Two TCD teams for debating final". The Irish Times. 4 March 1985.
  9. ^ a b c "2018 Supreme Court Annual Report" (PDF). Supreme Court. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  10. ^ Donaghy, Kathy (23 March 1995). "FLAC says need for free legal aid service growing". The Irish Times. p. 2.
  11. ^ "Appointments to State Boards. – Wednesday, 27 Oct 2004 – Parliamentary Questions (29th Dáil) – Houses of the Oireachtas". 27 October 2004. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  12. ^ Coulter, Carol. "New High Court judges nominated". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  13. ^ "Iseult O'Malley to be appointed as Supreme Court judge". The Irish Times. 22 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Appointment of Judge of the Supreme Court and Judges of the High Court". Áras an Uachtaráin website 1 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Supreme Court: 6th October 2015". Supreme Court Legal Diary. 6 October 2015.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ DPP v. Gruchacz, [2019 IESC 45] (Supreme Court of Ireland 10 May 2019).
  17. ^ JLT Financial Services Ltd v. Gannon, [2017 IESC 70] (Supreme Court of Ireland 21 November 2017).
  18. ^ Ogieriakhi v. Minister for Justice & Equality and ors, [2017 IESC 52] (Supreme Court of Ireland 13 July 2017).
  19. ^ A.C. & Ors v. Cork University Hospital, [2019 IESC 73] (Supreme Court of Ireland 17 October 2019).
  20. ^ Grace and anor v. An Bórd Pleanála & ors, [2017 IESC 10] (Supreme Court of Ireland 24 February 2017).