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 to Parliament, its Members and staff.

Our services

We advise Members of the Oireachtas, Oireachtas Office holders, the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission and the Houses of the Oireachtas Service on a broad range of parliamentary and corporate legal issues.

We also conduct litigation as provided for in the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Acts.

Learn more about typical areas of law that the OPLA advises on.

Parliamentary legal advice for Members

Legal advice

Parliamentary legal advice for Members

Members of the Oireachtas can contact us for parliamentary and corporate legal advice and support regarding:

  • legal issues arising from membership of the Oireachtas
  • legal issues arising in Oireachtas Committees
  • examining and testing Government supported policy matters
Legal advice and Private Members' Bills drafting

PMB services

Legal advice and Private Members' Bills drafting

Members of the Oireachtas can contact us for discrete legal advice and drafting of Private Members' Bills (PMBs). We will assist with:

  • initial research
  • development of the policy proposal
  • drafting the Bill and amendments to it
  • pre-Committee Stage scrutiny

For full details, read this step-by-step guide to our PMB service.

Chief Parliamentary Legal Adviser

Mellissa English

Chief Parliamentary Legal Adviser

The OPLA is headed by the Chief Parliamentary Legal Adviser, Mellissa English BL, Assistant Secretary, who also sits as a member of the management board of the Houses of the Oireachtas Service.

Mellissa leads a team of 17 lawyers, each of whom is experienced and professionally qualified as a solicitor or barrister in the State.

The OPLA team

Ramona Quinn, Mellissa English, Kieran Mooney and Sinéad O’Brien

The OPLA team

The OPLA has three constituent parts, each headed by a principal officer:

  • Ramona Quinn, solicitor - Parliamentary and Corporate Legal Adviser
  • Sinéad O’Brien, solicitor - Private Members’ Bills Legal Adviser
  • Kieran Mooney BL - Parliamentary Legislative Drafter

Our lawyers are supported in their work by legal researchers and administrative staff.

Typical areas of law that the OPLA advises upon include:

  • constitutional law queries, committee remit, the rights of witnesses, the application of natural justice and fair procedure
  • the interpretation of Standing Orders and application of parliamentary rules and procedures
  • corporate law issues such as drafting and advising on procurement processes, requests for tender (RFTs), commercial contracts, freedom of information (FOI), general data protection regulations (GDPR), employment law issues, Members’ allowances and facilities, the interpretation and the application of legislative provisions of particular relevance in a parliamentary context
  • electoral and statutory legal obligations vesting in the roles of Clerk of Dáil Éireann and Clerk of Seanad Éireann

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 2018. An unofficial consolidation of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Acts 2003 to 2018 is provided here.

Contact details

The Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
D02 XR20

 

(01) 618 3657

opla@oireachtas.ie