The Binding Sources of Law in Modern Ireland.

960 Words Oct 23rd, 2010 4 Pages
When given the task of discussing the sources of law in modern Ireland, two sub-categories always spring to mind. Firstly, the persuasive sources of law which do not always have to be followed. Contrasting with these are the binding sources of law, which are always enforceable. I will focus on and discuss the latter throughout this paper. I will compare and contrast the binding sources of law in the following categories; Common law, European law, Constitutional law, Legislation, Jurisprudence, Custom.

“Sources of law are the legal origins of rules”, in my opinion, the most influential source of law in Ireland today is Common law. Although Brehon law preceded it, Common law is more apparent in our legal system today. Common law
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Ireland’s third Constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann, “takes precedence over other, inferior, sources of law”. A basic example to demonstrate this in action today is that under Common law, English was Ireland’s first language. It states however in Bunreacht na hÉireann that Irish, not English is technically our first language and therefore the previous Common law is no longer binding. As I discussed earlier, the Treaty of Lisbon was rejected by the Irish people. This rejection was the result of a referendum, which has to take place if our Constitution is to be amended. I, as a 19 year old took part in voting in this referendum. Experiencing our Constitutional law in action made me realise that our progression from Common law to Constitutional law is more democratic.

Legislation is law that is made in Ireland today by the Oireachtas. It is known as Statute Law. In theory there would be a scope for the legislators (the Oireachtas) to take advantage of this and enact any law they liked. In Ireland today, the legislators cannot enact a law that conflicts with our Constitution. The most recent example of Statute law in Ireland is the Intoxicating Liquor Act, where the legislators enacted a new legislation that restricts the times that liquor can be sold in supermarkets etc. Therefore, this law is binding on the Irish people today as it does not interfere with our Constitutional rights.

Jurisprudence is “the theoretical analysis of legal issues at the
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