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Dr. Lydia Bracken


Dr Lydia Bracken is Assistant Dean, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Faculty of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) and a lecturer at the School of Law, University of Limerick (UL). She is a graduate of UCC (BCL, 2010; LLM, 2011; PhD, 2015) and the Honorable Society of King's Inns (Barrister-at-Law, 2012). Lydia also completed a Masters in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship at UL in 2020. Lydia researches in the areas of child and family law, with a particular focus on the legal recognition of 'non-traditional' and 'new' families. She is the author of two books, Same-Sex Parenting and the Best Interests Principle (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and Child Law in Ireland (Clarus Press, 2018), and has published her research in high-ranking national and international journals. Lydia's research has been influential in guiding national debates on law reform in Ireland and abroad: for example, Lydia has presented her research to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and her research has been cited by the Law Commission for England and Wales and the Law Commission for Scotland.

Lydia chairs the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team and led the faculty's successful Bronze Athena SWAN award application in 2020. Lydia is also course director for the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Policing and Criminal Justice programme at UL. She was Director of Clinical Legal Education at the School of Law, UL from 2016 -2019.

Research Interests

My research interests are in the areas of child and family law and European human rights. In particular, I am interested in examining the legal recognition of 'non-traditional' and "new" families and exploring how such recognition can be provided in a manner that respects the rights and interests of children. Topics within my research include issues pertaining to parentage, parental responsibilities and guardianship, adoption, and the legal regulation of assisted reproduction including surrogacy.

Professional Activities


  • 2020 - Local Enhancement Project
  • 2019 - National Forum Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (Collaborator)
  • 2019 - National Forum Seminar Series 2018/19
  • 2019 - National Forum Seminar Series 2019/20
  • 2019 - Erasmus+ Mobility Grant
  • 2016 - Irish Research Council New Foundations 2016
  • 2014 - Aidan Synnott Travel Bursary
  • 2013 - Department of Children and Youth Affairs Research Scholarship
  • 2012 - School of Law Research Scholarship


  • Ordinary Member , Society of Legal Scholars
  • Council Member , Irish Association of Law Teachers
  • Member , Health Research Institute


  • Street Law: Experiential practicum where final year law students taught law at a local DEIS secondary school. Organised in collaboration with the UL Access Office and the secondary school.




Child Law in Ireland
Lydia Bracken

Book Chapter


The Child's Right to Family Life: Shifting Sands and Social Science
Lydia Bracken and Conor O'Mahony
European Yearbook on Human Rights


Bracken L.
The Routledge Companion to Health Humanities


Decision-making on Behalf of Children in Ireland
Lydia Bracken and John Lombard
Parental Rights, Best Interests and Significant Harms


Gas and Dubois v France
Rewriting Children's Rights Judgments From Academic Vision to New Practice
Rewriting Children's Rights Judgments From Academic Vision to New Practice

Conference Contribution


Other Journal


Policing just got serious
Lydia Bracken
Garda Review


Pioneering Policing Training
Spain, E., Bracken, L. and Kilcommins, S.
Garda Review

Other Publication


Peer Reviewed Journal


Surrogacy and the Genetic Link
Lydia Bracken
Child and Family Law Quarterly


Challenging normative constructions of parentage in Ireland
Bracken, L
Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law DOI: 10.1080/09649069.2016.1272224


Strasbourg's Response to Gay and Lesbian Parenting: Progress, then Plateau?
Lydia Bracken
International Journal of Children's Rights


In the Best Interests of the Child? The Regulation of DAHR in Ireland
Lydia Bracken
European Journal of Health Law


Is there a case for Same-Sex Adoption in Ireland
Lydia Bracken
Irish Journal Of Family Law

Published Report


Pathways to Parenting: Proposals for Reform
Lydia Bracken and LGBT Ireland