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European University Institute - Department of Law

Alumna Síofra O’Leary elected President of the European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has appointed Judge Síofra O’Leary, EUI alumna in the Law Department, as its new President. O’Leary will be the first woman to hold the position.

22 September 2022

Siofra O'Leary

Síofra O’Leary, who has been serving as ECHR Vice-President since January, will succeed Robert Spano as the Court's next President. She will take office on 1 November 2022, becoming the first female President in the history of the institution.

An alumna from the EUI Law Department, O’Leary received her PhD in 1993, with the thesis The evolving concept of Community citizenship: from the free movement of persons to union citizenship. In 1996, a book based on her doctoral thesis was published by Kluwer Law International.

O’Leary also holds a Bachelor of Civil Law from the University College of Dublin and is an Honorary Bencher of the Honorable Society of the King’s Inns, Ireland. 

Her vibrant academic career includes fellowships at the University of Cádiz, the Institute for Public Policy and Research in London, the University of Cambridge, and University College Dublin. Before being sworn in as a judge at the European Court of Human Rights in July 2015, she served as a référendaire and Chef de cabinet at the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg, and taught LLM courses at the College of Europe in Bruges.

She is the author of two books and has published extensively in academic journals and monographs on the protection of fundamental rights, the free movement of persons and services, EU employment law, and EU citizenship.

Photo: Síofra O’Leary, Council of Europe Credits

Last update: 22 September 2022

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