Government nominates barrister for appointment at European court

Anthony M Collins to take up Luxembourg role later this year

The Government has nominated barrister Anthony M Collins for appointment as a judge of the European General Court.

He will replace the current Irish member, Mr Justice Kevin O'Higgins, when his term at the Luxembourg institution – a division of the European Court of Justice – expires in August.

Mr Collins is a senior counsel and longtime Labour Party member who served as référendaire , or legal secretary, to two Irish judges on the European court.

He is a specialist in administrative and European law, and has regularly pleaded before the High and Supreme Courts of Ireland, as well as the EU court, on behalf of the State and private entities.


State bodies he has represented include the Revenue Commissioners, the Director of Public Prosecutions, ComReg and the Competition Authority.

His work on EU law has included cases related to competition, public contracts, taxation, telecoms and environmental law.

His nomination for a six-year term at the general court, formerly known as the European Court of First Instance, was confirmed at Cabinet yesterday.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter also paid tribute to the "exemplary service and dedication" of Judge O'Higgins and thanked him on behalf of the Government.

Although appointments to the court are renewable, Judge O’Higgins – now in his sixth year in Luxembourg – was told recently the Government would not renominate him.

Born in 1960, Mr Collins qualified as a barrister in 1986 and became a senior counsel in 2003.

Practised widely
He worked as référendaire to two Irish judges at the Court of Justice, Tom O'Higgins and John Murray, between 1990 and 1997.

He has practised widely and been briefed by all attorneys general since returning to the law library in 1997.

He also served as director of the Irish Centre for European Law, where he remains a member of the board.

Mr Collins was active in student politics and has been a Labour member since he was a teenager.

He was general secretary of the Irish Union of School Students in the late 1970s and international vice-president of the Union of Students in Ireland from 1982-1983.

He has written a number of books on Irish and European law.

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic is the Editor of The Irish Times