Court of Appeal judge nominated to European Court of Justice

Former TCD professor Gerard Hogan is leading authority on Irish Constitution

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan: Has been put forward to be an advocate general to the EU Court of Justice. Photograph: Collins Courts

The Government has nominated a Court of Appeal judge who is a leading authority on the Irish Constitution for appointment as an advocate general to the European Court of Justice.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, formerly a law professor at Trinity College Dublin, was selected by the Government at its weekly meeting on Tuesday.

Mr Justice Hogan’s name emerged from an expert panel which identified persons interested in the nomination, which also assessed their suitability.

Advocates general are responsible for presenting a legal opinion on the cases assigned to them to the judges of the European Court of Justice.


The appointment arises, as the terms of office of five of the 11 advocates general will end on October 6th this year. Ireland is eligible to nominate a candidate for a six-year period.


Before the appointment can be made by the member states, Mr Justice Hogan will be assessed by a panel to confirm his suitability for the post.

Mr Hogan has been in the Superior Courts for almost eight years, having been appointed to the High Court in 2010 and to the newly-established Court of Appeal in October 2014.

During Christmas 2010, he held an emergency High Court hearing at his home to order that a very ill child be given a blood transfusion, despite the parents’ objections on religious grounds.

He was also one of three judges who heard the “right to die” case of multiple sclerosis patient Marie Fleming.

Prior to that he was a practising barrister and a legal academic, having lectured in law in TCD from 1982 to 2007.


During that time he established a reputation as an authority on constitutional law. He and his TCD colleague Gerry Whyte wrote the second edition of the standard text on the Irish Constitution, the first edition of which was written by Prof John Kelly.

Dr Hogan was educated at UCD, the University of Pennsylvania and the Honourable Society of King’s Inns. He was awarded a PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Among his other specialities as an academic were administrative law, public law and EU law.

Specifically, the role of the advocate general includes the right to question the parties in a case. The advocates can then give a legal opinion on the case, to assist the deliberation of the judges.

The intention behind the role is that independent advice can be given to the court. While the opinions are not binding on the court, they tend to be influential and, more often than not, are followed by the court.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times