Sunday 16 June 2019

'Ireland has lost a colossus of the legal world following the death of Supreme Court judge Adrian Hardiman'

Tim Healy

The State has lost a "colossus of the legal world" following the death of Supreme Court judge Adrian Hardiman, the Chief Justice has said.

At a special sitting of the Supreme Court on Monday afternoon, Ms Justice Susan Denham told the packed court she and her colleagues on the court had lost a "a good and true friend".

The Presidents of the Court of Appeal and High Court, Mr Justice Sean Ryan and Mr Justice Peter Kelly, joined the Chief Justice and the other Supreme Court judges to sit in memory of the late judge whose chair was left empty for the brief special sitting, which was televised.

Former Tanaiste and Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, a good friend of the late judge, was among the many senior lawyers and former judges who attended the sitting.

In the statement raed on behalf of the Supreme Court by the Chief Justice, she said the court had learned with great sadness of the death of Mr Justice Hardiman.

"The State has lost a coloussus of the legal world: a good and true friend has been lost by his colleagues on the court."

The statement said Mr Justice Hardiman had "a most successful career as a barrister, he was a leader at the Bar, was renowed for his extensive practice and great skill, including in cross-examination.

After 26 years of practice, the judge was appointed directly to the Supreme Court in 2000, it noted.

"Since that time, he has added greatly to the jurisprudence of Ireland in many important judgments. He has written expressing the view of a majority of the court and he has written trenchant dissents."

While this was not the time to analyse the great store of his judgments, two of those, DPP V Gormley and DPP v White, personified his concern for the "protection of persons and their dignity".

"His profound knowldge of the law, and his fluency in expressing his views, have added immensely to the legal jurisprudence of this state."

Mr Justice Hardiman, the statement said, was "a Renaissance man", a historian who spoke and wrote on many topics, including the trial of Rovbert Emmet and the 1916 Rising. He was due to give a lecture this Easter Monday on The 1916 Proclamation.

He was also "a remarkable and engaging Joycean scholar" who has written on many aspects of James Joyce and lectured at home and abroad, in riveting lectures, on "this great Irishman", the statement said.

"However, it is as a colleague and a friend that the members of the Court will miss him. His eloquence in conference, his depth of knowledge, his humour, but most of all his frtiendship, will be sorely missed by each member of the court."

The court also conveyed its "deep regret" to the judge's wife Yvonne and sons, Eoin, Hugh and Daniel.

Earlier on Monday, the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Kelly, led the court in a minute's silence to mark the death of Mr Justice Hardiman and also extended condolences, on behalf of his colleagues, to the late judge's wife and family.

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