Justice Mary Laffoy retires from the Supreme Court

She will continue as chair of the Citizens’ Assembly

Justice Mary Laffoy retires from the Supreme Court

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy at the Citizens' Assembly in the Grand Hotel, Malahide | Image: RollingNews.ie

The chairperson of the Citizens’ Assembly, Ms. Justice Mary Laffoy, has retired from the Supreme Court.

Ms Justice Laffoy went to an Irish-speaking secondary school in Mayo and graduated from University College Dublin with a BA degree in 1968.

She then studied law from 1968 and 1971 at University College Dublin and at the of King's Inns in Dublin.

She was called to the Bar in July 1971.

She practised as a barrister until her appointment to the High Court in April 1995.

She was then appointed to the Supreme Court in October 2013.

Ms Justice Laffoy has delivered judgments on several high profile cases, including Fitzpatrick v F.K in 2009 - in which she set out principles to be applied in determining whether a person is deprived of the capacity to make a decision to refuse medical treatment.

Supreme Court Justices Mary Laffoy (left) and Elizabeth Dunne in 2013 | Image: RollingNews.ie

In praising Ms Justice Laffoy, Chief Justice Susan Denham said: "Mary joined the Bar at a time when it was almost exclusively male, when she had no obvious source of work.

"She made her career not through flamboyance or family connections, but through her sheer ability as a lawyer.

"Mary became a Senior Counsel in 1987, on the same day as did Mr. Justice McKechnie and myself. 

"One of the first issues Mary and I had to consider was our court outfits as Senior Counsel.

"As women we could not buy off the peg Senior Counsel outfits from a renowned tailor.

"So we ventured forth and bought similar black suits, and then asked a distinguished tailor to embellish them with the braid which was on the suits of the men.

"This made the newspapers", she said, referring to the Irish Times headline: Two women among four called to the Inner Bar on October 6th, 1987.

Ms Justice Laffoy will continue in her role as chair of the Citizens’ Assembly.