Associate Professor, Department of Law

Email: fergus.ryan@mu.ie


DR. FERGUS RYAN LLB (Hons) PhD is an associate professor in law at the Department of Law, Maynooth University. A native of Firhouse, Co. Dublin, he is a graduate and former scholar of Trinity College, Dublin.  Fergus previously served as Lecturer and Head of the Department of Law at TU Dublin. He has also been a visiting lecturer at TCD, UCD, and at the Law Society of Ireland, and internship director for the University of Tulsa College of Law Summer Abroad programme in Dublin. Fergus has many years’ experience teaching and researching law, with a particular focus on family law, constitutional law, and human rights (especially LGBTQ rights). He has published widely, has regularly appeared in the media, and has advised various state agencies and members of the Oireachtas on legal and legislative matters. He is a former President of the Irish Association of Law Teachers and former Chairperson of One Family


In applying for the DISCs project, I wanted to make some contribution, however modest, to improving awareness of social justice at a local level, with a view to helping address wider examples of inequality, injustice, discrimination, and unfairness at a national and global level. I have a strong interest in social and economic justice generally, particularly in how law reform and policy can be an agent for change. 

On a university level, I am anxious to embed social justice concerns in my teaching and assessment, with a view to prompting students to think critically about the role of law in achieving or frustrating the achievement of socially just goals. I am looking forward also to learning from colleagues across the three universities, and gaining new insights into teaching and learning about social justice from a variety of diverse disciplinary perspectives.  I believe there is great scope, in particular, for collaboration and shared learning.

In terms of my own teaching, I am acutely conscious of my own privileged position, and curious to learn more about how I can make the learning experience more empowering for students, particularly those from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds. I have come to realize in recent years that being genuinely inclusive requires thoughtful reflection on teaching techniques, care with the words I use, and consciousness around the diverse experiences and backgrounds of students.  I hope to explore these themes in depth during the DISCs project.

  • To conduct one assessment focussing on issues of social justice with students in LW256 Constitutional Law
  • To run a workshop as part of social justice week on the global position of people who are LGBTQ, with a particular emphasis on the experience of LGBTQ asylum-seekers and those living under socially conservative regimes
  • Generally, to explore teaching and learning techniques that enhance awareness of issues of social justice and that respect and empower students from minorities and marginalized groups attending my classes


To learn more about Fergus’s course development and planning for the Spring 2020 semester, please choose from one of the links below.


To learn more about Fergus’s pedagogical orientation and approach as well as his experiences of participating in the DISCs Project, please click on one of the links below.

What is the purpose of Higher Education?

What does it mean to incorporate social justice principles into my teaching?

Reflections on the DISCs Project