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Dr. David Kenny

Associate Professor (Law)

Dr David Kenny is an Associate Professor of Law in the Law School, teaching Irish and comparative constitutional law, conflict of laws, critical legal theory and law and literature. He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Harvard Law School, and the Honourable Society of the King's Inns, and is an alumnus of the US State Department's Fulbright programme. He was elected a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in 2021. Dr Kenny's research specialises in Irish and comparative constitutional law. He is co-author of the 5th edition of Kelly: the Irish Constitution, the leading text on Irish Constitutional Law, as well as many peer-reviewed articles in leading national and international journals on topics such as proportionality, constitutional culture, referendums, and executive branch legal advisors, and the constitutional implications of Brexit for Ireland. He also researches widely in the field of law and literature. He is currently writing a book drawing together law, literature, and philosophical pragmatism entitled 'Pragmatism in Law and Literature', to be published by Routledge in 2024. Dr Kenny has given expert evidence on constitutional issues to the Citizen's Assembly, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Defence, and the Oireachtas Special Covid-19 Committee. He was a member of the Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland which reported in 2021, convened by the Constitution Unit of University College London and supported by funding from the British Academy and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. He served as coordinator of the State Governance section of the Trinity College Dublin Covid-19 Legal Observatory and co-authored a major report on the human rights impact of COVID-19 response measures for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in 2021. He served as a facilitator for the Northern Ireland Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. He also worked with the Centre of Constitutional Democracy at IU Bloomington and the US National Committee on North Korea in 2021 to compile a report on constitutionalism on the Korean Peninsula. He is currently a co-ordinator of NSLMap, a project funded by the Shared Island United to map the convergences and divergences in various areas of law between Ireland and Northern Ireland. He has also, since 2020, worked with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to develop a policy on constitutional change in respect of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Dr Kenny currently teaches Constitutional Law; Critical Perspectives on Law; Conflict of Laws; and Law and Literature. He was a recipient of the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2015. Dr Kenny regularly contributed to media discussion of constitutional issues, referendums, and Brexit, having written articles in the Irish Times, the Irish Independent and, and appearing on Morning Ireland, the Six One News, Prime Time, Sky News and the BBC, amongst others. He is open to media queries on matters of Irish or international constitutional law.
  Comparative Constitutional Law   Conflict of Laws   Constitutional Law   Irish Politics   Referendums
Details Date From Date To
Board Member and Supervising Lawyer, Irish Innocence Project 2014 Present
Ireland in, editor(s)Jaakko Husa, Jan Smits, Catherine Valcke , Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law (forthcoming), Edward Elgar, 2023, [David Kenny], Book Chapter, IN_PRESS
Are the people the masters? Constitutional Referendums in Ireland in, editor(s)Richard Albert and Richard Stacey , The Legality and Legitimacy of Referendums., Oxford University Press, 2022, pp264 - 292, [David Kenny and Aileen Kavanagh], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Interpretation in law and literature in, editor(s)Adam Hanna and Eugene McNulty , Law and Literature: The Irish Case (forthcoming), Manchester University Press, 2022, [Tom Hickey and David Kenny ], Book Chapter, IN_PRESS
Sovereignty and Federalism in, editor(s)Guerino D'Ignazio , The Constitutional System of the United States of America (forthcoming), Wolters Kluwer, 2022, pp133 - 153, [David Kenny and Andrea Pin], Book Chapter, IN_PRESS
Jurisdiction, Choice of law, and enforcement of judgments in, editor(s)Christopher McCrudden , The Law and Practice of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Cambridge , Cambridge University Press, 2022, pp296 - 307, [David Kenny], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Religion and Law in Ireland and Northern Ireland in, editor(s)Andrew Holmes and Gladys Ganiel , Oxford Handbook of Religion in Modern Ireland (FORTHCOMING), Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2022, [Christopher McCrudden, Oran Doyle, and David Kenny], Book Chapter, ACCEPTED
David Kenny and Lauryn Musgrove McCann, Directive Principles, Political Constitutionalism, and Constitutional Culture: the case of Ireland's failed Directive Principles of Social Policy, European Constitutional Law Review (forthcoming), 2022, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
David Kenny, Examining Constitutional Culture: Assisted Suicide In Ireland And Canada, Journal of Comparative Law, 17, (1), 2022, p85 - 115, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
David Kenny, The Human Pared Away: Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell as an Archetype of Legal Pragmatism , Law and Literature, 43, (1), 2022, p109 - 139, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Conor Casey and David Kenny, The Gatekeepers: Executive Lawyers and the Executive Power in Comparative Constitutional Law, International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON) FORTHCOMING, 2022, Journal Article, IN_PRESS

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Conor Casey, Oran Doyle, David Kenny, Donna Lyons, Ireland's Emergency Powers During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dublin, Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission , February, 2021, p1 - 104, Report, PUBLISHED
David Kenny, Conor Casey, Andrea Mulligan, Public Health Law During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ireland, Chapter 1: Public Health Governance: The Role of NPHET , Dublin, COVID 19 Law and Human Rights Observatory, 2021, p11 - 28, Report, PUBLISHED
David Kenny, Technical Report for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission-Protecting Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Irish Legal Order, August, 2020, 1-40, Notes: [Commissioned by Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to inform policy on inserting Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Irish Constitution], Report, COMPLETED
Renwick, Whysall et al, Interim Report of Working Group on Unification Referendums on the Island of Ireland (forthcoming), Constitution Unit, UCL, October , 2020, Notes: [Designed to inform policy in UK and Ireland on calling and conduct of unification referendums in Ireland], Report, INPROGRESS
David Kenny and Eoin Daly, Report on the Constitutional Limits of the "Money Message" Procedure under Article 17.2 of the Constitution of Ireland, May, 2019, 1-20, Notes: [Report commissioned by Senator Collette Kelleher on use of money message procedure in the Oireachtas. Cited in the Oireachtas and by the High Court.], Report, PUBLISHED
Frank Clarke, David Kenny, Aine Ryall, How Courts Decide: adjudicative process of Supreme Administrative Courts, ACA (association of Supreme Administrative Courts) Europe, 2019, Report, PUBLISHED
David Kenny and Rosemary Hennigan, In Two Minds: Atticus Finch and the Limits of Law, Dublin Review of Books, (5), 2016, Review Article, PUBLISHED
David Kenny, Goshawk Dedicated Ltd v Life Receivables Ireland Ltd - Jurisdiction, Lis Alibi Pendens and Problematic Use of the Brussels Regime, Trinity College Law Review, 12, 2009, p1-, Journal Article, PUBLISHED


Award Date
Elected Fellow of Trinity College Dublin 2021
Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching 2015
Ussher Fellowship, Trinity College Dublin 2009-2012
Fulbright Scholar 2008-2009