In 2015, the Children's Rights Alliance established a prestigious one-year Fellowship Programme for newly-qualified barristers to work as part of our Legal and Policy Team on law and policy reform for children in the area of children's rights and child law. The Fellowship is entitled the Catherine McGuinness Fellowship in honour of one of Ireland's greatest children's champions. This programme has been developed in partnership with The Bar of Ireland and with the support of the Family Lawyers' Association of Ireland. The Fellowship has been hugely successful, providing us with the dedicated in-house expertise of a barrister as well as providing the Fellow with a unique developmental opportunity, enhancing their reputation and future employability. Fellows can become champions for children's rights and become better able to advocate to protect, promote and fulfil children's rights in their work.
Beatrice Vance, BL joined the Legal and Policy Team as our second Catherine McGuinness Fellow in July 2016. She is a practising barrister at the Bar of Ireland, having been called in 2013. Beatrice has a general practice, working predominantly in criminal law. She is a member of the Case Processing Panel in the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner where she is responsible for assessing applications for asylum in Ireland including applications made by those entering Ireland under the EU Relocation Programme. She is also Secretary of the Irish Criminal Bar Association.
Beatrice graduated with a BCL degree from University College Dublin in 2011 having spent a year at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre where she completed a Diploma in French Legal Studies. She then obtained an LL.M at Trinity College Dublin, where her final thesis examined the religious content of the Constitution and its impact on Ireland's legal development.
Beatrice volunteered with Foróige during her post-graduate studies, running a youth club in the inner city. She currently volunteers with FLAC, giving pro bono legal advice in their clinics.
Beatrice is committed to equality and to protecting and advocating for the rights of society's most vulnerable persons.