Course Description

Diploma in Criminal Law & Practice

Programme objectives

On successful completion of this training programme, participants will be able to:

  • Advocate on behalf of clients in court;
  • Advise clients effectively in Garda custody;
  • Demonstrate the ethical awareness required of practitioners when dealing with victims of crime and vulnerable witnesses;
  • Summarise and outline the practical implications of evidential and procedural rules;
  • Recognise a potential judicial review and manage a judicial review application;
  • Analyse the essential proofs in road traffic offences;
  • Appraise the role of the children’s court in the juvenile justice system;
  • Critically analyse the principles of sentencing law and practice; and
  • Critically analyse the criminal justice process in regulatory crime.

Programme structure and approach to learning

This diploma offers students in-depth exposure to and practical insight into key practice areas of criminal law in Ireland from both the prosecution and defence perspectives. A core component of the course is the goal of developing the advocacy skills of those attending, through interactive workshop sessions that mirror situations faced in the criminal justice process. The ethical and professional considerations of advising an arrested person in custody, dealing with vulnerable witnesses, and victims’ rights in a criminal trial process will be considered in detail.

The course also includes an in-depth look at sentencing law and practice. We discuss the role of the prosecution and certain State agencies in the criminal justice system, and other areas of practice will be reviewed, with a practical focus on evidential and procedural updates and coverage of emerging areas of practice such as white-collar crime and the increased impact of EU law on criminal practice.


The programme is based on the following module scheme and covers key themes as listed below:

Module 1: Arrest and detention

  • Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act 2014,
  • Advising clients in Garda custody.

Module 2: Evidence and criminal law updates

  • Rules of evidence,
  • Beyond JC – the impact of the new exclusionary rule,
  • Recent legislative and procedural updates,
  • The European Arrest Warrant,
  • Criminal evidence and the European Convention on Human Rights,
  • Data protection and criminal trials,
  • Dwyer v Commissioner of An Garda Síochána (2018),
  • The role and function of the Children’s Court,
  • Sentencing – recent developments and emerging trends.

Module 3: The District Court and advocacy skills

  • Initial applications in the District Court,
  • District Court advocacy skills,
  • Running a District Court case – the role of the practitioner,
  • Bail applications,
  • Aspects of higher courts criminal advocacy,
  • Legal aid.

Module 4: Dealing with victims and vulnerable witnesses

  • Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017,
  • Prosecutorial challenges – vulnerable victims and witnesses,
  • Sexual offences – Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017,
  • Domestic Violence Act 2018.

Discrete areas of practice

Module 5: Judicial review

  • Practice and procedure in judicial review applications,
  • Identifying a judicial review,
  • Advocacy skills.

Module 6: Road traffic offences

  • Basic proofs in a drink-driving case,
  • Recent case law developments,
  • Advocacy skills: running a District Court case and Circuit Court appeal.

Module 7: Sentencing Law and Practice

  • General principles,
  • Mitigating factors and aggravating factors,
  • Relevant legislation and case law,
  • Sentencing – custodial, suspended sentence, fines, community service, probation and poor box, binding over, compensation orders,
  • Sentencing hearing.

Module 8: Regulatory crime

  • Regulatory crime – practice and procedure,
  • Criminal offences and the Companies Act 2014,
  • The role of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.


Workshops are a key feature of this course. These are designed to be interactive and involve working in groups on selected case-study problems and analysis, with an emphasis on the application of the law to common scenarios encountered in practice.

Workshop Title Date Time
1 Skills session – Advising clients in Garda custody 09 October 2021 10:00am – 12:30pm
2 Skills session – Interview and Consultation 20 November 2021 10:00am – 3:00pm
3 Panel Discussion and workshop 04 December 2021 10:00am – 3:00pm
4 Advocacy workshop 08 January 2022 10:00am – 2:00pm
5 Assessment Day 05 February 2022 10:00am – 4:00pm

Saturday sessions will focus on interactive teaching methods – utilising role plays, panel discussions, mock court, case studies, and problem-based scenarios – with the aim of developing the practice skills of students.


Continuous assessment through online activities (15%), advocacy skills assessment (25%), written assignment (60%).

Who should attend?

This course is suitable for the following:

  • Solicitors, trainees, and barristers,
  • Members of An Garda Síochána and employees of statutory agencies and offices that have a criminal justice function,
  • Other suitably qualified professionals.

We welcome applications for this course from suitably qualified non-members Please explain your interest and set out any relevant experience in a cover letter and a brief CV. Such applications are subject to a supplemental fee of €300.


The teaching faculty for this diploma comprises experts in criminal law and practitioners with both prosecution and defence expertise, together with academic experts.

Previous lecturers have included:

  • Noeline Blackwell, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre,
  • Shalom Binchy, Shalom Binchy & Co. Solicitors,
  • Dr. Yvonne Daly, School of Law and Government, DCU,
  • Damien Coffey, Sheehan & Partners,
  • Evan O’ Dwyer, O’Dwyer Solicitors,
  • Tony McGillicuddy BL,
  • John D Fitzgerald SC,
  • Rory Staines, Michael Staines & Co. Solicitors,
  • Katherine McGillicuddy BL,
  • Kenneth Ruane, An Garda Síochána,
  • Caroline Counihan, Rape Crisis Network Ireland,
  • Michael Delaney SC,
  • Damien Coffey, Sheehan & Partners,
  • Gareth Noble, KOD Lyons Solicitors,
  • Brian Coveney, Sheehan & Partners,
  • Elayne Fitzmaurice, Director of Public Prosecutions,
  • Andrew McKeown BL,
  • Ciarán Doherty BL,
  • Claire Cummins BL,
  • Lily Casey BL.


We have designed our courses to enable you to satisfy as much of your CPD requirement as possible. Time spent attending lectures and workshops in person or completing these via e-learning as part of your course can be claimed towards your annual CPD requirement. The number of hours of CPD that you may claim in relation to your diploma/certificate course will depend on the way in which you access each of the individual sessions. Please note that the limit for e-learning has been removed for the 2021 CPD cycle. For further information, visit the CPD scheme  and download the CPD booklet.

The Diploma Centre team will host our annual CPD conference in November 2021. This complimentary event is a dedicated management and professional development skills and regulatory matters session. We will post an invitation on your Diploma Hub page later in the year.

CollegeLaw Society of Ireland - Diploma Centre
Course LocationDublin
Location PostcodeDublin 7
Course CategoryCriminal Law, Law
Course TypeOnline Learning
Course QualificationAward / Certificate
Awarding BodyLaw Society of Ireland
Awarding Body DetailsDiploma in Criminal Law & Practice
Course Start Date8th October 2021
Course End Date5th February 2022
Course TimeOnline lectures on Wednesdays, with online workshops on Saturdays. Also available to view on-demand.
Course Fee2600
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Course Provider

Law Society of Ireland - Diploma Centre

The Education Centre, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 (DX 79 Dublin), Ireland D07 VW24, Dublin, Ireland

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Law Society of Ireland - Diploma Centre
The Education Centre, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 (DX 79 Dublin), Ireland D07 VW24
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