Maeve O’Rourke

22nd August 2013

We are delighted to announce that Maeve O’Rourke has won the Pro Bono Lawyer of the year in the Jordans Family Law Awards 2013

Maeve will collect her award at the Family Law Awards ceremony on Wednesday 9 October 2013 at the London Hilton hotel on Park Lane, Mayfair.

Jordan Publishing invited the trustees of the National Pro Bono Centre to judge the award to highlight the importance of pro bono work, especially at a time when legal aid funding is being cut.

Maeve represented the victims of Ireland’s church-run Magdalene Laundries, where girls and women were incarcerated and forced into unpaid labour in their thousands from 1922 to 1996.

While still a law student, and as the only lawyer of the voluntary advocacy group ‘Justice for Magdalenes’, Maeve brought the case before the Irish Human Rights Commission in 2010 and UN Committee against Torture and UN Human Rights Council in 2011. Her submissions to the UN on the international and domestic legal obligations of the Irish state to investigate and provide reparation included anonymised testimonies of women she had interviewed in the UK.

Each of these bodies issued formal recommendations to the Irish government to investigate and provide reparations, and it was in the immediate aftermath of the UN Committee against Torture’s recommendation in June 2011 that the government established an Inter-departmental Committee to inquire into state interaction with the laundries. In February 2013, the Irish Taoiseach issued a formal apology to the victims two weeks after that Committee published its report.

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