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40th Anniversary

The Legal Aid Board is currently celebrating our 40th Anniversary.   Our 40th Anniversary trifold outlines key milestones over the past 40 years.

Mr John McDaid, CEO, addressing the 40th Anniversary event held recently

A message from our CEO Mr John McDaid.

"The growth of legal aid during the 20th Century reflected an acceptance that access to justice was a basic human right and that State intervention was necessary to secure that right. The introduction of the Scheme of Civil Legal Aid and Advice at the end of 1979 was a significant step towards the aim of facilitating justice for all in Irish society.

The four decades since the first Board was appointed have seen an extensive change in Irish social thinking, values and the expectations of citizens. The Legal Aid Board, through enhancing participation and giving voice to citizens seeking to assert their rights, has played an active part as one component of a broader framework in assisting in modifying laws, policies and practices to better achieve substantive equality.


Our Chairperson, Mr Philip O'Leary, addressing our 40th anniversary conference recently

A message from our Chairperson Mr Philip O' Leary.

"Over the past 40 years, the Legal Aid Board has played a substantial role in redressing disadvantage by providing access to justice to people who could otherwise not afford to participate fully in the legal process. This 40 year milestone presents us with an opportunity to recognise and appreciate our achievements and to learn from the past and identify areas for renewal.

When then justice minister Gerry Collins appointed the first Legal Aid Board on December 21, 1979, he stressed the importance of the Scheme of Civil Legal Aid and Advice as an instrument by which the concept of equality before the law could be brought substantially nearer to realisation in practice.

Equality may always remain an aspiration rather than a reality, however the right to equality should be responsive to those who are disadvantaged, demeaned, excluded, or ignored."

L-R. Mr John McDaid CEO, The Hon Frank Clarke, Chief Justice, Mr Philip O' Leary, Chairperson


Below you will find links to media coverage around our 40th Anniversary event:

Chief Justice to speak on civil legal aid at Legal Aid Board's 40th Anniversary event irishlegal.com

Chief Justice calls for significant improvement in legal aid system Irishtimes.com

Legal Aid Board calls for 'rethink' as it sees increase in waiting times breakingnews.ie

Legal Aid Board celebrates 40th Anniversary RTE.ie

Properly funded legal aid system is litmus test of democracy Irishexaminer.com