Advanced Diploma in Quasi–Judicial Decision–Making

Page last updated: Monday, September 26, 2022

Introduction

The range of entities making independent decisions over a multiplicity of complaints, disputes and entitlements is ever–increasing. Tribunals, adjudicators, disciplinary panels, ombudsmen and a gamut of appeals bodies are keystones of both public and, to a growing extent, private administration in Ireland. These quasi–judicial decision–makers walk an often tricky line between procedures adapted to their area of dispute resolution, the need for efficiency and speed, and the dominant requirement of due process. 

As well as the law of due process, these decision–makers require a mastery of judgecraft. This course teaches both.

Programme Aims and Learning Outcomes

This course aims to equip participants with the practical skills required to discharge the quasi–judicial decision–making processes. In particular, participants will: 

  1. Develop strategies to ensure fair hearings in a range of malleable and often unpredictable contexts;
  2. Develop principled approaches to ensure that all parties are properly heard through the eliciting, parsing, probing and evaluating of relevant evidence;
  3. Hone skills to bolster the decision–maker’s actual and perceived independence and to instil confidence in the process over which they preside;
  4. Develop a thorough understanding of the extent and limits of their role and powers;
  5. Develop strategies to manage the dynamics of a hearing, including where vulnerable witnesses or an imbalance of legal representation arises;
  6. Acquire the ability to judge when adjournments (and other procedural requests) should and should not be granted;
  7. Hone analytical and writing skills to ensure robust, adequately reasoned decisions;
  8. Critically evaluate and implement due process requirements in diverse and dynamic hearing contexts, allowing participants to implement ongoing organisational and personal improvements in practice.

WHO IS THE COURSE FOR?

This course is suitable for people responsible for making quasi–judicial decisions, who are involved in the administrative structures around such decisions, or who are seeking training to enhance their applications for quasi–judicial or judicial roles in the future. The course is also suitable for lawyers and people working in a regulatory context with familiarity with a rules–based approach to rights and entitlements. 

Having a diverse group of professionals studying this course together allows participants to learn from each other, especially during tutorials and Q&A sessions.

“Simply an essential course for those practicing in the area of Quasi–Judicial Decision–Making or desire to understand the essential role such bodies play in the every day life of citizens seeking fair process and natural justice in the pursuance of disputes directly impacting on their lives.”

2022 Graduate

COURSE DESIGNER AND LEAD LECTURER

The designer and lead lecturer of the course is barrister Tricia Sheehy Skeffington BL

An accredited mediator, Tricia is an experienced decision–maker, having sat on Tenancy Tribunals, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal and Mental Health Tribunals among others. Tricia’s practice at the Bar spans administrative law, landlord and tenant, intellectual property and environmental law.

Course Content and Delivery 2022–2023

This course takes place in a primarily online format, live via Zoom. Recordings of most lectures will be available after class is over but seminars and workshops will be once–off and are not recorded. A small number of these interactive sessions may take place at King’s Inns (dates to be notified).

The course takes place over six weekends from October to March, with live tutorials and lectures on Friday evenings (5.45 pm to 9 pm) and on Saturdays (9 am to approx. 5 pm)

Lectures from high calibre experts in judicial and quasi–judicial decision–making will be complemented by tutorials which will enable participants’ close focus and honing of skills most relevant to their own decision–making context. A panel event on managing challenging or vulnerable witnesses will be held also.

Course Start Date: Friday, October 14, 2022

Most lectures are recorded using eLearning software and made available to students for streaming via our Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). This means that, while all students are welcome to attend classes live via Zoom, those sessions will be recorded so that students who are unable to attend can catch up on the material by streaming the video in their own time.

Tutorials, workshops and some lectures delivered by the judiciary will not be recorded and thus attendance online will be required for these sessions. 

All class notes and supplementary online learning materials will be made available to read or work through on our Virtual Learning Environment. Online tutorials and IT support are available to help students navigate their way through our library and legal resource databases.

King’s Inns is built on networking and engagement. Over the year, we invite students to attend and participate in various social events, fireside chats and talks. Events take place either online or in–person. All of this contributes to the learning experience that is King’s Inns.

Course Content 

Module 1: Friday 14 to Saturday 15 October 2022

Principles of due process:

  1. Course overview and introduction (live session, recorded)
  2. Overview of quasi–judicial landscape in Ireland (live session, recorded)
  3. Ensuring Due Process pre–hearing (live session, recorded)
  4. Ensuring Due Process during the hearing (live session, recorded)
  5. Source of decision–maker’s powers (live session, not recorded)
  6. Tutorial: Presenting and critiquing procedural rules of a variety of quasi–judicial bodies (live session, not recorded)
  7. Tutorial: Workshop on creating fair procedural rules (live session, not recorded)

Module 2: Friday 11 to Saturday 12 November 2022

The Decision Maker–impartiality, ethics and independence from appointing body:

  1. Ensuring decision–maker’s impartiality (live session, not recorded)
  2. Decision–maker’s independence from and relationship with appointing body (live session, recorded)
  3. Addressing unconscious bias (live session, not recorded)
  4. Tutorial: Ethics – Acting judiciously inside and outside the decision–making process (live session, not recorded)

Module 3: Friday 9 to Saturday 10 December 2022

Evidence–its purpose, admissibility and weight:

  1. Evidence: burden and standard of proof (live session, recorded)
  2. Admissibility and status of evidence (live session, recorded)
  3. Tutorial: Making decisions on evidence before and at the hearing (live session, not recorded)
  4. Tutorial: Preparing for a hearing (live session, not recorded)

Module 4: Friday 13 to Saturday 14 January 2023

Managing the dynamic of the hearing:

  1. Moderated panel discussion on managing vulnerable and challenging witnesses (live session, not recorded)
  2. Working with interpreters (live session, recorded)
  3. Tutorial: Opening hearing and setting the tone (live session, not recorded)
  4. Tutorial: Reacting to unforeseen circumstances (live session, not recorded)

Module 5. Friday 24 to Saturday 25 February 2023

Hearing Dynamics II and Mock hearings:

  1. Online and paper–based decision–making processes (live session, recorded)
  2. Adjournments and due process (live session, not recorded)
  3. Tutorial / small group work: Mock hearings (live session, not recorded)

Module 6. Friday 24 to Saturday 25 March 2023

Making and recording the decision:

  1. Analysis and decision–making (live session, recorded)
  2. The anatomy of a good written decision (live session, not recorded)
  3. Impact of EU Law on quasi–judicial decision–makers (live session, not recorded)
  4. Tutorial: The decision–making process (live session, not recorded)
  5. Tutorial: Analysis and feedback on written decisions (live session, not recorded)

Please note the course content is subject to change in accordance with new developments in this area.  

Previous Speakers

  • The Hon. Justice Mary Irvine, Former President of the High Court
  • The Hon. Justice Aileen Donnelly, Judge of the Court of Appeal
  • The Hon. Justice Mary Faherty, Judge of the Court of Appeal
  • The Hon. Justice Niamh Hyland, Judge of the High Court
  • The Hon. Justice Mary Rose Gearty, Judge of the High Court
  • The Hon. Justice Siobhán Phelan, Judge of the High Court
  • Frank Clarke SC, former Chief Justice of Ireland
  • Judge Ann Ryan, Judge of the District Court
  • Kevin Duffy BL, former Chair of the Labour Court
  • Niall Nolan BL
  • Bindi Dholakia, Psychologist, Fairway Group
  • Sunniva McDonagh SC
  • Barry Magee, Legal Costs Adjudicator and former Chair of IPAT
  • Gary Lee, Solicitor, Ballymun Community Law Centre
  • Hilkka Becker, Chair, IPAT
  • Dr Mary Phelan, Dublin City University

Assessment and Accreditation 

This is a professional development course and it is accredited independently by The Honorable Society of King’s Inns. The skills and competence gained in studying at King’s Inns are transferable, portable and recognised internationally. It is a valuable qualification delivered by distinguished lawyers, members of the judiciary, legal and other practitioners specialising in legal education.

To be awarded the Advanced Diploma, a participant is required to successfully complete two written assignments and an oral presentation, comprising:

  1. An individual take–home assignment on an aspect of quasi–judicial decision–making of no more than 2,000 words to be set at the end of Weekend Two (30%);
  2. An oral assessment of a communication or a decision a QJDM may have to make during the course of a hearing (35%);
  3. An individual take–home assignment in the form of a written decision to be drafted after the conclusion of the taught aspect of the course (35%).

Course Fee

  • Course fee: €4,750. 
  • You should view the fee structure, payment terms, and other charges here.

Barrister–at–Law graduates who are subscribing members to King’s Inns receive a 10% discount on this course. You must receive your discount code before applying. View more information here.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Places on this course are limited, and it is often over–subscribed. We have a selection criterion in place, and you are required to submit certain documentation to support your application.

  • Personal Statement addressing how the candidate’s qualifications and/or previous or current work experience are relevant to the course OR setting out some evidence that the candidate intends to work in the field of quasi–judicial decision–making e.g. applicant may specify which quasi–judicial decision–making body and which role is of interest to the applicant.
  • Optional: A certified copy of your academic and professional achievements. If you are a barrister it is not necessary to supply this information.
  • Optional: Additional Supporting Information – formal verification from your employer / appointing body of current or previous appointment(s), where applicable.
  • Documents may be submitted in the following formats: pdf, png, gif, jpg, jpeg. The maximum allowed size for each document is 20MB.

Download the Personal Statement template

HOW DO I APPLY?

Application Deadline: Extended to midnight on Sunday, October 2, 2022

  • In order to verify your personal details, you must first create an account on the Application Portal through the ‘register and apply here’ button below. Once you verify your email address in the Portal, you can then proceed with your application.
  • Acceptance on this course will be notified on an ongoing basis. If you have been accepted, your place on the course will not be secured until payment is received in full. It is advised to pay as soon as you get accepted.
  • Payment can be made through the Application Portal using your credit or debit card (please make sure your bank allows you to process the full payment in one go), or
  • If your employer is paying for your studies, you will require a valid PO number in advance of making the application, the name and email address for the person responsible for payment in your organisation.
  • The invoice will issue directly to the person whose details you enter. The participant will also be able to download a copy of the invoice through the Application Portal. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure their employer has paid in full within the timeframe required in order to secure a place. King’s Inns cannot contact your employer for payment, we can only liaise with the applicant.
  • An automated payment receipt will be generated confirming your place on the course.
  • Subscribing members: You must apply your discount code upon application. It cannot be applied after the application is made.

Register and apply here

Receive notification when more information is available 

 

WHAT DO PREVIOUS STUDENTS SAY?

Quasi–Judicial Decision–Making Graduate 2021

“This course is really, really excellent – from the course materials to the course moderators, to the incredible depth and breadth of the experience of the judges and practitioners who delivered lectures and tutorials. It is by far the best course (of many) I have done in my 15 years of practice. As well as being incredibly well organised, delivered and so informative, it was thoroughly enjoyable, and the time flew by. I would most certainly recommend it.”

Class of 2020–2021

Quasi–Judicial Decision–Making Graduate 2021

“Regardless of your future aspirations, anybody from any walk of life could learn a huge amount by doing this course. The content of this course covers every angle of QJDM, and the variety of guest lecturers is an unbelievable treat! I would highly recommend this fantastic course.”

Class of 2020–2021