The student-led initiative at University College Cork (UCC) will provide free legal information and advice to individuals, volunteers, sports clubs and organisations on sports law-related queries, while at the same time providing the students involved with real-life experience in the specialist area as part of their studies.
UCC’s new sports law clinic is one of only three such clinics in the world — the others are based at Valparaiso University in Indiana, and at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the USA.
The UCC clinic was originally established as a pilot project in 2015 by Aisling Parkes and Seán Ó Conaill, lecturers based at UCC’s school of law, on foot of a successful application for the Irish Research Council’s New Foundations Award 2014. It operates under the direct supervision of Ms Parkes and Mr Ó Conaill, and is also supported by an experienced advisory board of experts.
The full details of its services will be launched at an event in UCC this evening.
A spokesperson for the clinic said it will offer a pro-bono (free) and confidential service to the university’s sporting sector, and to the wider community.
Students running the clinic will have the opportunity to work on legal issues specifically related to sports, such as child protection in a club context, doping, governance and disciplinary proceedings in sports including rugby, athletics, soccer, GAA and boxing. The Sports Law Clinic will also host information sessions to raise awareness about minimum standards of regulation in various areas of sport.
Guest speakers at tonight’s launch event will include the dean of UCC’s law Department, Prof Ursula Kilkelly; and chairman of Cork City FC, Pat Lyons. Ireland international hockey player, Cliodhna Sargent, the first woman from Munster to win 200 caps, will be among the keynote speakers.