The Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers (OPLA) is the in-house legal team of the Houses of the Oireachtas.
As Parliament's lawyers, we are completely independent of Government, and provide specialist, non-partisan legal advice on a broad range of parliamentary, constitutional and corporate legal issues to Parliament, its Members and its staff.
- Parliamentary legal advice for Members
Members of the Oireachtas can contact us for legal advice and support regarding:
- legal issues arising from membership of the Oireachtas
- legal issues arising in Oireachtas Committees
- examining and challenging Government-supported policy matters and Bills
- Private Members' Bills legal advice and drafting services
Non-Government Members of the Oireachtas can contact us for assistance with the development of their Private Members' Bills (PMBs). We provide both legal policy advisory services and legislative drafting services. We can assist with:
- initial research
- development of the policy proposal
- drafting the Bill and amendments to it
- pre-Committee Stage scrutiny.
We conduct litigation on behalf of Members, the Houses or Committees thereof, as provided for in the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Acts.
- Areas of law the OPLA advises on
Typical areas of law that the OPLA advises upon include:
- Parliamentary privilege and other constitutional law queries
- Committee remit, the rights of witnesses, the application of natural justice and fair procedures in the parliamentary context
- Interpretation of Standing Orders and the application of parliamentary rules and procedures
- Administrative law
- Employment law
- Ethics in public office legislation
- Electoral law and statutory obligations vesting in the roles of Clerk of Dáil Éireann and Clerk of Seanad Éireann
- Corporate law issues such as procurement, contracts, copyright, freedom of information (FOI) and data protection
- Members’ allowances and facilities
- Interpretation and application of legislative provisions of particular relevance in a parliamentary context
Guides to our services
These guides will give you more details about our services. Members of the Oireachtas may contact us to avail of our services.
Chief Parliamentary Legal Adviser
The OPLA is headed by the Chief Parliamentary Legal Adviser, Mellissa English BL, Assistant Secretary. As an Assistant Secretary, Mellissa sits as a member of the Management Board of the Houses of the Oireachtas Service.
Mellissa leads a team of 22 lawyers, each of whom is experienced and professionally qualified as a solicitor or barrister in the State, along with legal researchers and administrative support staff.
The OPLA team
Comprising a total staff of 33, the OPLA team consists of Advisory Counsel, Assistant Parliamentary Counsel, legal researchers and administrative staff. They provide services across four constituent parts, each headed by a Principal Officer:
- Ramona Quinn, solicitor - Parliamentary Services Legal Adviser
- Sinéad O’Brien, solicitor - Corporate Legal Adviser
- Cathy Egan BL - Private Members’ Bills Legal Adviser
- Kieran Mooney BL - Parliamentary Legislative Drafter
What is the OPLA's remit?
The OPLA and the Chief Parliamentary Legal Adviser’s functions are provided for in the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Acts 2003 to 2021. An unofficial consolidation of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Acts 2003 to 2021 is provided here.
The Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers
(01) 618 3657