Former Chair of the Advocacy Working Party at the Law Society of Northern Ireland
Fiona Donnelly is a solicitor and senior lecturer at IPLS Queens University Belfast. She designed and delivered the Law Society of Northern Ireland’s Advanced Advocacy course and chaired the Advocacy Working Party of the Society. She has been a trainer on the Advocacy and the Vulnerable course since 2017.
Fiona is an SRA approved examiner for Higher Rights of Audience. In addition to being responsible for all advocacy training for trainee solicitors, Fiona is a faculty member of National Institute for Trial Advocates USA. She teaches in USA regularly and is the only non-US team leader on USA NITA programmes.
Fiona provides all tutor training for members of the judiciary and experienced practitioners in this jurisdiction and for DPP Ireland in the NITA method of training in practical advocacy. She is considered the primary advocacy trainer on this island.
As a member of the National Cremation Investigation Scotland team she has taken evidence from a range of vulnerable people.
In addition, Fiona has provided training to the DPP Ireland, the PPS Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Law Centre, Victim Support Northern Ireland, The Law Society of Scotland and the Law Society of Ireland and the Law Society of Northern Ireland.
She has been retained by the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman, the Irish Public Services Ombudsman, the Financial services Ombudsman Ireland, the Military Defence Ombudsman Ireland and the Children’s Ombudsman Ireland to provide investigation and evidence training.
Fiona obtained a distinction in her LLM (Advocacy) and completed a dissertation on the vulnerable witness and the impact of registered intermediaries on cross-examination. She works closely with the Department of Justice in relation to vulnerable witnesses and the registered intermediary scheme in Northern Ireland. Fiona organised and addressed the Vulnerable Witness conference, a multi-disciplinary conference opened by the Minister for Justice and addressed by members of the judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice and Mental Health, Learning Difficulty, Autism, Young Persons and Registered Intermediary representatives.