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Ms Judy Walsh


Judy Walsh

Lecturer/Assistant Professor
School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice
716 8339
University College Dublin, School of Social Policy Social Work and Social Justice, Sheehy-Skeffington Building Belfield Dublin 4


Judy Walsh is the Head of Subject for Social Justice and the Director of the UCD Equality Studies Centre at the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. Her publications adopt an interdisciplinary approach to interrogating the field of equality and human rights law. She is the national expert on discrimination law for the European Equality Law Network, Vice-Chair of the Participation and Practice of Rights Project and collaborates with numerous human rights and social justice organisations. Scholarship and research: Judy's book on the Equal Status Acts has been cited by the Irish Supreme Court and is regularly referenced by the Workplace Relations Commission. A second edition will be published in 2019, with the support of a grant from the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. Her work has influenced domestic legislation, as acknowledged by Minister Zappone in the Oireachtas debates on the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. In 2016, she was appointed as the Irish expert (non-discrimination law) on the European Equality Law Network, which is overseen by the European Commission and entails comprehensive analysis of the national discrimination law and policy framework in light of EU law. She is the co-author of an influential text on egalitarianism, Equality: From Theory to Action (Palgrave 2009), which sets out an accessible conceptual framework for addressing equality issues and applies that framework to multiple social contexts. Judy has also published in the fields of human rights, feminist and socio-legal theory. She has undertaken commissioned research for a range of domestic and international bodies including the Irish Human Rights Commission (2006), the Equality Authority with the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (2007), the Combat Poverty Agency (2008), and the Danish Institute for Human Rights under contract to the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (2009). Contribution to teaching and learning: Judy played a major role in developing the globally-unique undergraduate programmes in Social Justice at UCD. She was centrally involved in the establishment of the Structured Elective in Social Justice in 2011, the introduction of a Minor in Social Justice on the BCL programme in 2013, and the formal recognition of Social Justice as a university subject in 2016. Judy was School Head of Teaching and Learning from 2007 to 2011, and again in 2013-2014. She coordinated several major innovations in how Social Justice is taught and assessed, and oversaw the mapping and management of assessment and pedagogical strategies across the programme. She worked with the Head of School to establish the Structured Elective and acted as its coordinator during her tenure as Head of Teaching and Learning. She co-designed the structure of the Minor in Social Justice, led the development of the seminar modules, and has been academic coordinator of the Minor since its inception. She was appointed as Head of Subject for Social Justice in 2018. Civil society activities: Judy has extensive experience of the community and voluntary sector. Having qualified as a barrister, she worked as Assistant Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties for a period of two years, and continued on with ICCL as a member of the Executive Committee (2000-2002), and then as Co-Chairperson (2003-2007). In that capacity, she edited and wrote several research papers including submissions to Oireachtas committees and United Nations treaty monitoring bodies. As a board member of Marriage Equality (2010-2014), Judy played an instrumental role in formulating the legal arguments which culminated in the removal of Ireland's ban on marriage between people of the same gender. From 2010-2016, Judy was a board member of Healthy Food for All, an all-island non-governmental organisation that piloted an array of innovative projects that tackled food poverty. Currently, Judy is the Vice Chair of the Participation and Practice of Rights Project (PPR). Over the past decade she has been the sole academic on the PPR’s board and has played a pivotal role in shaping its human rights based approach to social justice issues. The organisation’s work has been recognised as a model of best practice by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Judy is a member of the International Law Association’s Committee on Feminism and International Law and acted as its rapporteur for four years. She has also engaged in training and policy work with numerous human rights organisations including, the Equality and Rights Alliance, the Children’s Rights Alliance, and the Irish Travellers Movement. Contribution to university's equality agenda: Judy contributes to the formulation and implementation of UCD's equality policies across a range of fields. She has been a member of UCD's Gender Equality Action Group since its establishment in January 2014, and has helped to advance the position of LGBT+ staff and students for over a decade. She has been co-chair of the UCD LGBTI Staff Network for the past eight years, is a member of the EDI LGBTI Sub-Group, and has been Senior Treasurer of the Student UCD LGBTQ+ society since 2008. Judy was an active member of the University Management Team Working Group that drafted the UCD Gender Identity Policy and supporting Guidelines over the course of 2016-17. She liaised with students and staff on disability-related issues while a member of the UCD Access for All Committee (2008-2010), and has since contributed to several UCD initiatives on the rights of disabled students and staff. Judy is a UCD PPI Ignite Champion. PPI Ignite aims to embed Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) in health-related research, education and training, professional practice and administration in UCDs institutional structures and procedures.


  • Director of Research Centre
    UCD Equality Studies Centre, Ireland1 Sep 2011
  • Head of Subject, Social Justice
    University College Dublin, Ireland1 Aug 2018


  • BCL
  • LLB
  • LLM
  • BL
    Hon Society of Kings Inns IRL