Clíodhna Kelleher

Call: 2020 | 2022 (Ireland)

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    BCL (UCD); LLM (Harvard); BPTC (City)

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    Clíodhna has a busy practice in Chambers’ core areas, including administrative and public law, competition law, and procurement and State aid.

    Highlights of Clíodhna’s practice include:

    • R (IMA) v Secretary of State for the Home Department: Acting for the Independent Monitoring Authority, the post-Brexit citizens’ rights watchdog, in its successful challenge of the UK Government’s implementation of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement and UK-EEA EFTA Separation Agreement.
    • Royal Mail Group Ltd v DAF Trucks Ltd: Acting for Royal Mail and British Telecom, lead claimants in the Trucks cartel litigation in their successful claim against DAF arising from the European Commission “Trucks” settlement decision, in which truck manufacturers were collectively fined €2.93bn for breaches of EU competition law.

    She is a graduate of University College Dublin and of Harvard Law School, where she specialised in public and comparative constitutional law. Prior to qualifying as a barrister Clíodhna worked as a legal fellow at a non-profit organisation and as a paralegal at a leading full-service Irish law firm. She was the recipient of Lincolns Inn’s top scholarship for Bar school.

    • News
    • Administrative & public

      Clíodhna accepts instructions in all areas of public law and is regularly instructed in judicial review proceedings, both as sole and junior counsel.

      Recent instructions include:

      • Acting for the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements in a challenge to the lawfulness of the European Union Settlement Scheme (with Robert Palmer KC).
      • Acting for the claimant in a challenge to a local authority’s failure to ensure the provision of suitable education to a child under the Education Act 1996 and A2P1 ECHR (with Ian Wise KC)
      • Acting for the claimant in a judicial review of a coronial decision to discontinue an investigation into a death induced by medical intervention (as sole counsel).
      • Acting for the claimants in an Article 8 ECHR damages claim concerning the failure of a local authority to provide suitable accommodation and related support services.

      Prior to joining the bar, Clíodhna worked as a legal fellow in the public affairs department of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a charity which provides and advocates for reproductive healthcare. She regularly publishes on the topic of abortion and reproductive healthcare.

      She is a trustee of Feed UK, a charity which advocates for the food needs of infants and of their families.


    • Housing and social care law

      Clíodhna specialises in cases spanning all aspects of housing and social care law. Recent instructions include:

      • Acting for the claimants in a challenge to a local authority’s failure to reaccommodate a family, where the existing accommodation posed a risk to life, involving claims under the Housing Act 1996 and Article 2 ECHR;
      • Acting for the claimant in a challenge to the lawfulness of a decision by a local authority to withdraw accommodation from a “former relevant child”, involving claims under the Housing Act 1996 and Children Act 1989 (as sole counsel);
      • Acting for the claimant in judicial review proceedings concerning the lawfulness of a local authority’s housing allocation scheme involving claims under the Housing Act 1996 and gender discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 (as sole counsel);
      • Acting for the claimant in a challenge to a local authority and CCG’s compliance with its duties under the MHA 1983;
      • Acting for the claimants in a challenge to an Integrated Care Board’s decision refusal to fund a “continuing care” package of healthcare services for a disabled child with healthcare needs;
      • Acting for claimants in various challenges to the discharge of local authority homelessness duties, including:
        • A JR challenge to a local authority’s interpretation of the review duties in section 202 HA96;
        • A challenge to a local authority’s failure to comply with section 193 HA96;
        • A challenge to a local authority’s use of B&B accommodation in purported discharge of section 193 HA96.
    • Competition law

      Clíodhna acts across the spectrum of Chambers’ competition litigation work including bringing and defending damages actions and collective proceedings.


      Recent instructions include:

      • Euronet v Visa and Mastercard: acting for Euronet, a provider of payment services, in its standalone damages claim against Visa and Mastercard under Article 101 and/or relevant provisions of Czech, Polish and Greek law.
      • Royal Mail and BT v DAF Trucks Limited: acting for Royal Mail and BT in its damages claim against DAF arising from the European Commission’s 2016 “Trucks” settlement decision.
      • Justin Gutmann v London & South Eastern Railway Limited: acting for a defendant in the proposed standalone “Boundary Fares” claims brought by Mr Justin Gutmann against the operators of the South Eastern and Southwestern rail franchises (with Paul Harris QC, Anneliese Blackwood and Michael Armitage).
      • Vermeer and Boyle v Govia Thameslink Railway Limited, the Go-Ahead Group Plc and Keolis (UK) Ltd: acting for the defendant in a proposed standalone collective action against the operators of the London-Brighton mainline in the fares set for the Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express brands (with Paul Harris QC, Anneliese Blackwood and Michael Armitage).
      • Dawsongroup v DAF, Daimler and ors: acting for Dawsongroup in its follow-on damages claim arising from the European Commission’s 2016 “Trucks” settlement decision.
    • European and retained EU law

      Clíodhna regularly advises on questions of interpretation of European law and of retained EU law across the breadth of her practice.


      • Clíodhna has advised widely on the interpretation of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement (“WA”) and the European law that underlies it, including in relation to the compatibility of deportation decisions with the “conduct” provisions of the WA; the effect of the non-discrimination provisions; the proper calculation of time periods under the WA; the extent of the right of permanent residence conferred under the WA; rights of appeal, and restrictions on the rights of residence and entry conferred by the WA.
      • Clíodhna regularly provides advice on the impact of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (as amended) and the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 on accrued causes of action under European law prior to Brexit.
      • Testbiotech eV v EU Commission: acting for Testbiotech in European judicial review proceedings under the Aarhus Regulation to the European Commission’s decision to grant market authorisation to Monsanto to import genetically engineered maize and soybeans into the internal market (with Kassie Smith KC and Will Perry).
    • Information law

      Clíodhna is regularly instructed in matters under the DPA, GDPR, PECR, EIR and FOIA:

      • Colourcoat Limited v IC: Clíodhna successfully defended the imposition of an MPN in the amount of £130,000 in respect of the making of unsolicited direct marketing calls in breach of the PECR (as sole counsel).
      • Department for Education v IC: Clíodhna successfully defended the Commissioner’s determination that details of decision-making by the appellant concerning faith schools could not lawfully be withheld on the basis of section 36 FOIA (prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs).
      • Clíodhna has acted for appellants and for the Commissioner in a range of challenges against and to Decision Notices, including challenges to reliance on the exemptions in sections 31, 36, 40, 42, and 43 FOIA.

      Clíodhna regularly advises public authorities on compliance with obligations under FOIA and EIR.

    • Public procurement and State aid

      Clíodhna has been instructed in a number of high-profile procurement and State aid matters by economic operators and contracting authorities, including:

      • R (Good Law Project) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Abingdon Health Ltd: Clíodhna acted for the interested party in a procurement and State aid challenge to the grant of contracts for lateral flow antibody tests during the Covid-19 pandemic (with Ligia Osepciu).
      • IGT v the Gambling Commission: acting for the claimant to a challenge to the award of the Fourth National Lottery licence.

      Clíodhna regularly advises economic operators and contracting authorities on procurement matters. Recent advisory work includes:

      • Advising claimants and defendants on the merits of proposed scoring challenges to concluded procurement exercises;
      • Advising on compliance with the procurement rules;
      • Advising on post-Brexit arrangements and the effect of the EU-UK TCA for contracting authorities.


    • Education and awards

      Education and awards

        • BPTC, City Law School, 2019 – 20.
        • LLM, Harvard Law School, 2017 – 18.
        • BCL (Law with Philosophy), University College Dublin, 2012 – 16 (first class).

      Scholarships and Prizes


        • Lord Mansfield scholarship (top scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn).
        • City Law School scholarship.

      Harvard Law School:

        • Dean’s Scholar Prize in Comparative Constitutional Law.
        • Irving R. Kaufman Public Interest Fellowship upon graduation to fund one year’s salary to work at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
        • Student Fellow, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law, Bioethics and Biotechnology at HLS.

      University College Dublin:

        • University Scholarship, 2016.
        • Stage 4 Law Degree Programmes Scholarship, 2016.
        • President’s Award for Excellence in Student Activities, 2016.
        • Gold Medal for Oratory, 2015.
        • UCD Law Contribution to University Life Award, 2014.
        • Academic Entrance Scholar, 2012.

      At university, Clíodhna was a champion competitive debater, winning the John Smith Memorial Mace (formerly the Observer Mace), the Irish Mace, the Irish Times Debate Championship and over 10 other intervarsity competitions in Ireland and the UK, Europe, and the USA.

    • Languages

      Clíodhna speaks Irish (bilingual) and German (conversational).

    • Publications
      • “The Constitutional Personality of the ‘Unborn’, 1973 2018” Irish Jurist 2021, 65(1), 119 – 137.
      • “Adolescent Abortion under the Eighth Amendment and the Post-Repeal Legal Landscape” 8 KILR [I] [2019], 88.