Legal world divided on legacy of retiring High Court president

Mary Irvine angered barristers with guidelines slashing minor personal injury awards

Ms Justice Mary Irvine, the first woman president of the High Court, will retire in July.  Photograph: Tom Honan

Ms Justice Mary Irvine, the first woman president of the High Court, will retire in July. Photograph: Tom Honan

Mary Irvine, who retires in July as the first woman president of the High Court, endured a baptism of fire, steering the court through Covid-19, fast-tracked remote hearings, and leading a successful campaign for more judges.

In addition, Ms Justice Irvine championed controversial new guidelines to slash minor personal injury awards – a deeply, deeply unpopular move in the eyes of many barristers: “Treason, as far as I’m concerned, what she has done amounts to treason to the Bar,” one senior counsel fumed to The Irish Times this week, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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