Professor Gerard Quinn

Professor Emeritus



Gerard Quinn is Professor Emeritus in law at the National University of Ireland (Galway).  He holds degrees in political science (B.A.) and law (LL.B.) from the National University, is a qualified barrister-at-law (B.L., Kings’ Inns) and a graduate of Harvard Law School (LL.M., S.J.D.). 

He has had a varied career in public service.  He was a former Director of Research at the Irish Government’s Law Reform Commission and has served two terms on the Irish Human Rights Commission.  He has served on other Government bodies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Joint Committee on human rights and the Government’s Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.  He is currently a Presidential appointee to the Council of State which provides constitutional law advice to the President of Ireland. 

He currently sits on the scientific committee (advisory board) of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (EU FRA, Vienna).  He has worked as a temporary civil servant in the European Commission (EU) on equality policy and also rose to be First Vice President of the Council of Europe’s Social Rights Committee (a treaty monitoring body on economic and social rights in Europe).  He has directed large studies for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and led the delegation of Rehabilitation International during the drafting of the new UN treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities.  

Because he has led several large scale EU-funded research projects and PhD networks he has been declared a ‘Champion of EU Research’ by the Irish Government (Dept. of Enterprise, 2011).  He has been a joint honoree with Senator Tom Harkin of the United States International Council on Disability (2014) and received a Presidential Award from Rehabilitation International in 2009 for his work in drafting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  He sits, and has sat, on many advisory boards including those of the Soros-Open Society Foundations Human Rights Initiative (Washington DC) and Human Rights Watch disability programme (NYC).  

He directs a Centre on International Disability Law & Policy at the Law School of the National University of Ireland, Galway which is one of the first of its kind in the world with a dedicated masters (LLM) and PhD programme in international disability law.  He holds an adjunct chair in the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad, India, is a former Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School, is a former Visiting Professor at the University of Haifa, Israel, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.