Professor Dermot Walsh

Professor of Law


Professor Walsh graduated with an LLB from Queen’s University Belfast in 1980. He was the first holder of the Cobden Trust Studentship on emergency law in Northern Ireland. He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1983 and took up a Lectureship in Law in University College Cork in the same year. He was appointed to a Senior Lectureship in Law in the University of Ulster in 1992 and Chair in Law at the University of Limerick in 1996. He was awarded a Government of Ireland Senior Research Fellowship in 2007 and was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2011. He took up his current position of Professor of Law at the University of Kent in 2013. He is a former President of the Irish Association of Law Teachers.

Research interests

Professor Walsh specialises in policing, criminal procedure and EU criminal law, with a particular emphasis on due process, accountability, transparency and human rights. He has published extensively in these areas, including the leading texts: Walsh on Criminal Procedure 2nd ed (2016) and The Irish Police (1998). 



  • Walsh, D. (2020). The European Arrest Warrant in the Prosecution of Extraterritorial Offences: the strange case of the Irish murder, the French victim and the English suspect. European Law Review.
    Surprising as it may seem, the European arrest warrant (EAW) can be used by one State to take over a domestic prosecution from another State, even though the crime, the accused, the victim and all the primary evidence were located in the latter State and the competent authorities of that State have already decided that there is no basis for prosecution. Focusing on the remarkable facts of the Bailey case, this article critically examines how that bizarre situation is facilitated by the EAW Framework Decision and Ireland’s implementing legislation. It finds that that the punitive criminal law enforcement demands of the EU’s area of freedom, security and justice are prioritised over the due process norms, human rights standards and internal checks and balances of domestic criminal process. The result is that the EAW can be used by prosecutors to expose the accused to a punitive, hybridised, criminal procedure lacking in normative coherence and democratic legitimacy. The article concludes that there is an urgent need to rethink the mutual responsibilities of Member States in the EAW regime.
  • Walsh, D. (2018). Adapting the Police Authority Concept to a Centralised National Police Service: Appearance over Substance in the Republic of Ireland?. Modern Law Review [Online] 81:622-645. Available at:
    The Republic of Ireland has been convulsed by a series of police corruption scandals over the past fifteen years and they show no sign of abating. In 2015, in an attempt to stem the drain in public confidence in the Garda and the administration of justice generally, the government established a Policing Authority which it presented as “the most important single change in the governance of the Garda Síochána in its history”. This article critically examines whether the new Irish Policing Authority can be interpreted as a successful adaptation of the traditional police authority concept to a parliamentary democracy policed by a single, national body. In particular, it considers whether it is equipped to shield the Garda and policing from the influence of partisan political and institutional interests, while at the same time deliver transparent democratic scrutiny of the Garda and policing on behalf of all sections of the community. It concludes that, contrary to the superficial impression generated by the government at the time, the Authority does not represent a fundamentally new departure in the democratic scrutiny of the policing in Ireland. While it opens up a useful channel for input from outside the central executive and parliament, it will do little to change the established democratic power relations in policing, or to deliver greater transparency in respect of policing policies, practices and accountability. Nor can it be interpreted as a successful adaptation of the police authority concept to a parliamentary democracy policed by a single national body under central government control.
  • Walsh, D. (2016). Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility in the Republic of Ireland: A Legacy of Vested Interests and Political Expediency. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 67:373-386.
    Throughout much of its history, juvenile justice in the Republic of Ireland has been oriented towards a justice as distinct from a welfare model. In the twenty-first century this was heavily amended pursuant to a justice agenda that emphasised criminalisation and punishment for offenders as young as 10 years of age. The treatment of the age of criminal responsibility has been an integral part of this trajectory. Raising the age of criminal responsibility from the common law low of 7 years in the Republic of Ireland has proved a surprisingly difficult endeavour. This article examines why the age of criminal responsibility in the
    Republic of Ireland was maintained at the common law age of 7 years, why there should have been such dithering over the reform when it eventually did come, and why the current law still criminalises children of
    a very young age. It argues that answers to these questions can be found in a volatile combination of religious values and interests, economic and social constraints, public intolerance of childhood offending, a lack of principled political leadership at the heart of the state, and the relative neglect of expert knowledge from the behavioural and neuro-sciences.
  • Walsh, D. (2016). Police Complaints Procedures in the United Kingdom and Ireland: Why are the reforms not working?. European Police Science and Research Bulletin:48-57.
  • Walsh, D. (2013). Liability for Garda Negligence in the Prevention and Investigation of Crime. Irish Jurist [Online] XLIX:1-28. Available at:
  • Walsh, D. (2011). Police Cooperation across the Irish Border: Familiarity Breeding Contempt for Transparency and Accountability. Journal of Law and Society [Online] 38:301-330. Available at:
    This article critically examines the practice, methods, and regulation of cross-border police cooperation between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Despite legal and political divisions, police cooperation has survived and flourished in recent years especially among police officers on the ground. By comparison, the development of transparent regulatory and accountability structures and processes has been disappointing. While there have been domestic initiatives at the intergovernmental and legislative levels, these have tended to emphasize the centrality of direct engagement between the police chiefs and senior civil servants at the expense of formal transparent procedures. EU instruments have been marginalized as the police forces and their administrations prefer informal networks and force-to-force agreements which, it is argued, shield cross-border police cooperation from standards of transparency, oversight, and accountability which are essential to its legitimacy. They also highlight the limitations of the current EU legislative approach to cross-border police cooperation.
  • Walsh, D. and Conway, V. (2011). Police Governance and Accountability: Overview of Current Issues. Crime, Law and Social Change [Online] 55:61-86. Available at:
  • Walsh, D. and Conway, V. (2011). Current Developments in Police Governance and Accountability in Ireland. Crime, Law and Social Change [Online] 55:241-257. Available at:
    2005 saw the passing of landmark legislation for policing in Ireland—the Garda Síochána Act—which made substantial changes to the structures and operation of governance and accountability. It came on the heels of the greatest scandal ever faced by the Irish police. This paper sets out to assess critically the impact of that legislation. We begin by considering the nature of police reform and the various conditions necessary for successful change. We then contextualise the reforms in Ireland, considering the existing structures of governance and accountability and highlighting the numerous concerns which existed in relation to them. The focus then turns to the Morris Tribunal, which documented gross misconduct and corruption in one Garda division. We examine how this served as a major catalyst for reform in Ireland. The paper then turns to consider the reforms themselves providing an overview of the legislation and critiquing in depth a number of features: the clear centralisation of government control over the police, the limited independence of the new independent police complaints body and the failure to fully embed the reforms in a human rights agenda. We conclude by arguing that insufficient steps have been taken to address police governance and accountability in Ireland and that the best opportunity for such reform may have been missed.
  • Walsh, D. (2011). Police Liability for a Negligent Failure to Prevent Crime: Enhancing Accountability by Clearing the Public Policy Fog. King’s Law Journal [Online] 22:27-55. Available at:
    The issue of police liability for a negligent failure to prevent crime is discussed. It is argued that the public policy exclusion is based on a weak premise and that resort to it reveals a serious gap in police accountability as well as grave injustice for the victim. The issue is discussed in the context of the U.K. House of Lords' decision in 'Smith v Chief Constable of Sussex'.
  • Walsh, D. (2009). Twenty years of handling police complaints in Ireland: a critical assessment of the supervisory board model. Legal Studies [Online] 29:305-337. Available at:
    Twenty years after Ireland adopted an external supervisory board model to promote public confidence in the handling of complaints against the police (the Garda Síochána), it had to replace it with a cross between the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and the Independent Police Complaints Commission in England and Wales. This paper examines the nature and scale of the board's failure and offers a critique of the internal and external factors responsible. It focuses, in particular, on how the police and the government, acting separately and in combination, managed to smother the potential of the supervisory board model. It also offers insights into how the board contributed to its own failure. The paper concludes by drawing attention to the fact that several of these negative forces can also be active in the new complaints procedure that commenced operations in 2007.
  • Walsh, D. and Mulqueen, M. (2009). Framing the Crime Prevention Discourse in Ireland: Borrowing the Appearance while Avoiding the Substance of the UN Guidelines. Irish Jurist XLIV:152-181.
  • Walsh, D. (2009). Tightening the Noose of Central Government Control over Policing in Ireland: Innovations in the Garda Siochana Act 2005. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly 60:163-180.
  • Walsh, D. (2008). Balancing Due Process Values with Welfare Objectives in Juvenile Justice Procedure: Some Strengths and Weaknesses in the Irish Approach. Youth Studies Ireland [Online] 3:3-17. Available at:
    This article is based on a paper delivered at the Irish Youth Justice Service Conference, ‘Best Practice for Youth Justice, Best Practice for All’, in March 2008. It examines how the tensions between welfare values and due process protections are being moderated in the context of a significant injection of welfare based reforms in the Irish juvenile justice system.The two examples used are the Garda Diversion Programme and the family conference facility in the Children Court as provided for by the Children Act 2001, as amended by Part 12 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006.The broad conclusion is that the benefits to be gained from these welfare reforms are being purchased at the cost of a dilution of judicial norms and processes.
  • Walsh, D. (2006). Parliamentary scrutiny of EU criminal law in Ireland. European Law Review 31:48-68.
  • Walsh, D. (2005). Irish Parliamentary Scrutiny of EU Measures on Free Movement of Persons: Going through the Motions. Irish Jurist XL:261-292.


  • Walsh, D. (2016). Walsh on Criminal Procedure. Dublin: Round Hall.
    Walsh on Criminal Procedure is a comprehensive treatment of all aspects of criminal procedure from police powers of investigation right through to post-sentencing processes. The second edition responds to recent developments by offering a comprehensive, expert and accessible analysis of all aspects of Irish criminal procedure. A consistent theme throughout is an emphasis on comprehensive detail and clarity with the needs of both prosecution and defence in mind. New to this Edition * Nine new chapters, including: Basic principles and values; Criminal justice institutions; Jurisdiction; Surveillance; Initiation of criminal proceedings; and District Court proceedings and trial. * Major expansion of the chapter on Sentencing to incorporate the increase in range of: direct sentencing options and requirements; ancillary sentencing options; post-sentencing orders; and forfeiture and confiscation * Major expansion of the chapter on 'Appeals' to include the range of options for the DPP to challenge acquittals * Major expansion of chapters on Garda powers and procedures to include increase in range and substance of Garda powers on: detention; encroaching on right to silence; accessing evidence; retaining print and DNA evidence; and stop and search * Expansion of bail chapter to include: further restrictions; disclosure obligations, and monitoring * Expansion of trial evidence chapter to include developments on: admissibility of witness statements; admissibility of Garda opinion evidence; presumptions; admissibility of electronically recorded evidence; advance disclosure of expert evidence; and disposal of property to be used as evidence * Coverage of investigative and law enforcement powers of a wider range of agencies, including: Revenue Commissioners, Immigration officers, social welfare officers and fisheries officers. * More substantive treatment of relevant jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights
  • Walsh, D. (2009). Human Rights and Policing in Ireland: Law, Policy and Practice. Dublin: Clarus Press.
  • Walsh, D. and Schweppe, J. (2008). Combating Racism and Xenophobia through the Criminal Law: A Report Commissioned by the National Action Plan Against Racism. Dublin: National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (Ireland).
  • Walsh, D. (2005). Juvenile Justice. Dublin: Thomson Round Hall.
  • Walsh, D. (2002). Criminal Procedure. Dublin: Thomson Round Hall.
  • Walsh, D. (2000). Bloody Sunday and the Rule of Law in Northern Ireland. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Walsh, D. and Sexton, P. (2000). An Empirical Study of Community Service Orders in Ireland. Dublin: Stationery Office.
  • Walsh, D. (1998). The Irish Police: A Legal and Constitutional Perspective. Dublin: Round Hall Ltd.
  • Walsh, D. (1983). The Use and Abuse of Emergency Legislation in Northern Ireland. London: Civil Liberties Trust.

Book section

  • Walsh, D. (2018). Beyond the Ordinary: Criminal Law and Terrorism. In: Lennon, G., King, C. and McCartney, C. eds. Counter-Terrorism, Constitutionalism and Miscarriages of Justice: A Festschrift for Clive Walker. Bloomsbury. Available at:
  • Walsh, D. (2013). Erasing the Distinction between Anti-terrorist and Criminal Justice Measures in Ireland: Past and Present. In: Masferrer, A. and Walker, C. eds. Counter-Terrorism, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: Crossing Legal Boundaries in Defence of the State. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 212-237.
  • Walsh, D. (2012). The Emergence of an EU Criminal Process. In: Bacik, I. and Heffernan, L. eds. Criminal Law and Procedure Review. Dublin: First Law.
  • Walsh, D. (2011). The European Arrest Warrant and the Development of a European Criminal Space. In: Bacik, I. and Heffernan, L. eds. Criminal Law and Procedure Review. Dublin: First Law, pp. 1-21.
  • Walsh, D. (2010). Foreword. In: Conway, V. ed. The Blue Wall of Silence: The Morris Tribunal and Police Accountability in Ireland. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, p. ix-xiii.
  • Walsh, D. (2010). Ireland. In: Dunkel, F., Gryzwa, F. and Pruin, I. eds. Juvenile Justice Systems in Europe: Current Situations, Reform Developments and Good Practices. Monchengladbach: Forum Verlag Godesburg, pp. 721-764.
  • Walsh, D. (2009). The European Arrest Warrant in Ireland: Surrendering our Standards to a European Criminal Law Area. In: Bacik, I. and Heffernan, L. eds. Criminal Law and Procedure: Current Issues and Emerging Trends. Dublin: First Law, pp. 5-34.
  • Walsh, D. (2008). The Constitutional Silence on Policing. In: Carolan, E. and Doyle, O. eds. The Irish Constitution: Governance and Values. Dublin: Thomson Round Hall, pp. 231-239.

Edited book

  • Walsh, D.P.J. and McCutcheon, P. eds. (1999). The Confiscation of Criminal Assets: Law and Procedure. Dublin: Round Hall Sweet & Maxwell.


  • McDaniel, J. (2015). Rethinking Police Accountability and Transparency Within the EU: Reconciling National and Supranational Approaches.
    The new terrain of increasing interaction between national and supranational legal systems within the European Union presents new challenges for conventional approaches to police accountability and transparency. Each EU Member State is responsible for policing within its jurisdiction, and the EU institutions are increasingly responsible for enhancing the conduct of police cooperation between the Member States. The thesis explores the challenges of reconciling national approaches in the international sphere by conducting a critical analysis of ‘how and to what extent national legal and administrative norms on police accountability and transparency are informing the concept, design and operation of EU cross-border policing instruments’.

    Building on the work of Peter K. Manning, Geoffrey Marshall and David Bayley amongst others, the thesis develops a pragmatic typology of police accountability through which to view the evolution and adequacy of national and supranational approaches. The typology contains three key dimensions, namely codes, co-option and complaint. Using the typology to critique conventional approaches in the UK, Ireland and Denmark, the thesis identifies legal and procedural anomalies and challenges at both the national and supranational level since the traditional elements of police accountability were originally formulated within the confines of national legal, political, historical and cultural constraints.

    Employing the typology to both elucidate problems and suggest methods of internalisation, the thesis argues that the EU should follow the lead of the Member States’ legislatures by seeking to regulate a wider range of policing processes through more expansive procedural ‘codes’ which facilitate police discretion and co-option. The thesis shows that it is not sufficient for the EU to prioritise its post-Lisbon policy of ‘co-decision’ in order to remedy its democratic deficits but that it must oversee the establishment and enhancement of parliamentary committees, inspectorates and other oversight bodies in the interest of police accountability. A number of recommendations are made for police reform at both the national and supranational levels to this end. More particularly, the research indicates that additional treaty changes are needed beyond the Lisbon Treaty in order to adequately reconcile national and supranational approaches to police accountability.

    I am grateful to the Irish Research Council for supporting this research by the award of a Government of Ireland Research Scholarship.
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