New judge appointed to the High Court

Mícheál P O’Higgins, a former chairman of the Bar Council, recently represented former Irish Nationwide chief Michael Fingleton

The Government has decided to nominate senior counsel Mícheál P O’Higgins as a judge of the High Court. Mr O’Higgins, a former chairman of the Bar Council, has a busy practice in administrative law, crime and constitutional law.

Recently, he represented the former Irish Nationwide chief executive Michael Fingleton in a long-running action taken against the latter by the liquidators of the former building society.

He was called to the Bar in 1990 and appointed senior counsel in 2008, having graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) in 1988.

Also on Tuesday, the Government nominated senior counsel Elizabeth Maguire and solicitor Simon McAleese as judges of the Circuit Court.


Mr McAleese is a well-known media lawyer who initiated High Court proceedings in 2020 against Independent News & Media (now Mediahus) and its former chairman, Leslie Buckley, arising from the alleged data hacking at the media organisation.

He also represented a number of others who took cases against the same two defendants arising from the same alleged hacking in 2014. The alleged hacking at the media organisation is also the subject of an ongoing High Court inspectors’ investigation.

A number of the parties involved in the litigation are understood to have settled their cases in recent months. It is not known if Mr McAleese has settled his case and High Court records indicate the proceedings are still extant. Mr Buckley as denied any wrongdoing.

Ms Maguire is a native of Claremorris, Co Mayo, who practiced on the Dublin and Western Circuits. An accredited mediator and a member of the Bar of England & Wales, she has been a senior counsel since 2021.

All three nominees for positions as judges will now go forward to be formally appointed by President Michael D Higgins.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent