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Welcoming Mr Justice Peter Charleton, Judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland

On Monday 8th February, Bangor Law School will have the pleasure and privilege of welcoming Mr Justice Peter Charleton, Judge of the Supreme Court of Ireland, for two guest lectures.

The first lecture, ‘Passing Off: Elasticity and Limits of a Common Law Remedy’ will focus on the international aspects of the tort of ‘passing off’. The second, ‘Homicide and Hatred: Some Reflections’, will reflect on his earlier career as a barrister specialising in criminal law, before being elevated to the bench.

Venue: Pontio, PL2


Passing Off: Elasticity and Limits of a Common Law Remedy (11.30am): the remedy of passing off descends from the tort of deceit. However, unlike copyright, patents and trademarks, this remedy is not dependent on legislation but is a creature of the common law. The advantage of this is that the remedy has been applied to such diverse issues as domain names on the internet and apparent endorsements of products by pop stars. The downside is that in terms of litigation, predicting a result for a client has become next to impossible. Hence, it is an uncertain remedy.

Homicide and Hatred: Some Reflections (10,00am): from 1980 to 2006, Mr Justice Charleton practised as a Senior Counsel (barrister) and was heavily involved in criminal court work. He poses the following questions “Do people in that line of work get dispirited?” Yes; “Can writing about the darkness of the human character have cathartic effect?” Yes. Drawing on his criminal law experience, Judge Charleton wrote the book 'Lies in a Mirror: An Essay on Evil and Deceit' (2006). “Are there patterns to human conduct?” Yes, but people are not predictable. Surrounded by various pressures and driven by instincts which remain powerful despite our reasoning factor, human beings can be driven to cruelty and can rationalise plain evil by resorting to justifications, to group support, to distancing and to bizarre notions of just deserts. The patterns in homicide on an individual scale are not so different to the patterns in mass homicide. Ideology plays a part, as do ignorance and revenge. Mr Justice Charleton’s lecture will reflect his thoughts on the foregoing elements and the larger themes of homicide and hatred.

Biography (taken from the Irish Supreme Court website)

Mr. Justice Peter Charleton commenced practice at the Bar in 1979 and graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1980. He took silk in 1995. From 2002 to his appointment to the High Court in 2006 he was counsel to the Morris Tribunal; a statutory enquiry which looked into corruption in the Garda Síochána. In the High Court he was assigned principally to the commercial list.

Judge Charleton was appointed to the Supreme Court in July 2014. A Dubliner, he is married with children. He has published articles in journals including the International Journal of Law and the Family, the Yearbook of the International Commission of Jurists, Intellectual Property Law and Policy, the Journal of Criminal Law, the Bar Review, the Journal of the Judicial Studies Institute of Ireland, the Irish Law Times, the Gazette of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland and the Irish Criminal Law Journal.

He has written extensively on criminal law, including Irish Criminal Law (1999, Butterworths, with McDermott and Bolger), and a book analysing human destructiveness, Lies in a Mirror: An Essay on Evil and Deceit (Blackhall Publishing, 2006). He lectured from 1986 to 1988 in Trinity College Dublin. He has given papers at conferences, including the Colloque Franco Brittanique Irlandais, in Trinity College Dublin, King's Inns Dublin, Fordham University New York, and Beijing University of Political Science and Law and, externally, for Fordham Law School, Chicago-Kent School of Law, the University of Washington and L'Institut national des hautes études de la sécurité et de la justice.

Judge Charleton was a founder member of the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir, is supervisor of the Judicial Researchers' Office and is chairman of the National Archives Advisory Council.

Publication date: 29 January 2016

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