About us
We’re very proud of the relationship we have with our clients and of the trust and confidence we instill in them. Trust must be earned. We believe we earn our clients’ trust through being true to our core beliefs: hard work, doing things the right way, being open to new ideas and going the extra mile.

These principles have guided the firm since its establishment by Brian Gallagher and Alan Shatter in 1976. They are part of our heritage and now part of our DNA.

In Gallagher Shatter LLP you’ll discover a dedicated, courageous and creative firm, one you can trust to resolve what matters to you.



What we do
Whether we work with you as a private client or as one of our commercial or institutional clients, you are assured of exemplary service and of the benefit of our wise counsel and experience, honed over forty years.  



How we work
The ambition and principles of our founding partners, Brian Gallagher and Alan Shatter, still guide how we work and look after our clients.
Our mission is to provide expert legal advice and steadfast, discreet support to our clients as we work with them to resolve the issues that matter to them and achieve the outcomes they need.  In doing so, we seek to contribute to best practice in law and to advance new thinking within our profession for the good of our clients and of the society we serve.



Our values
We have a depth of knowledge and expertise built up over years of practice.  We have a genuine interest in the law and a track record of contributing to it.  We share what we know with others and keep learning ourselves.  Our knowledge, insight and experience help us resolve even the most complex cases and achieve the best outcomes for our clients.

For us integrity is simple. It’s about rewarding the trust our clients place in us by working hard, thinking smartly and behaving ethically on their behalf.  It’s also about knowing when it’s important to stand up for what’s right and having the courage to do so.

We work hard to achieve the outcomes our clients need to move on in their lives, progress their business or secure their future. We are ambitious for ourselves and for our profession too.  That’s why we are open to new ideas and seek to advance the issues the law must respond to, for the good of society at large.

Steadfast may be an old-fashioned word, but the qualities of absolute reliability, decency, trustworthiness and staunch determination are true to who we are and never go out of date.  We are unfailing in the support we give our clients and we are tenacious in the pursuit of our clients’ best interests.


Company timeline


  • 1966 Richard F Gallagher founded as sole practitioner

  • 1970 Alan Shatter and Brian Gallagher meet, both members of Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), a group of law students using their legal knowledge to provide advice and information to those who could not afford the fees.  They also became involved in the organisation known as CARE, the campaign for the care of deprived children

  • 1972 Brian Gallagher joins the firm of Richard F Gallagher

  • 1976 Gallagher Shatter represented the plaintiff in the State (Gleeson) v Minister for Defence ([1976] IR 280) an important fair procedures dismissal case

  • 1977 Brian Gallagher and Alan Shatter form the partnership of Gallagher Shatter, undertaking many cases on a pro bono basis, in the absence of the availability of free legal aid

  • 1974 FLAC nominated Brian Gallagher as its representative on the Pringle Committee on Civil Legal Aid and Advice, a government committee appointed by the Minister for Justice to address the issue of civil legal aid in Ireland

  • 1977 1st Edition of Shatter Family Law published

  • 1980 Legal Aid Board established

  • 1982 Gallagher Shatter represented the Plaintiffs in the leading case of Murphy v. Attorney General (1982 I.R.) in the Supreme Court in which it was held to be unconstitutional to impose a greater income tax burden on a married couple than on unmarried couples residing together

  • 1981 2nd Edition of Shatter Family Law published

  • 1986 3rd Edition of Shatter Family Law published

  • 1989 Alan Shatter introduces a private members bill resulting in the enactment of the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989, revolutionising the area of family law

  • 1989 Alan Shatter sits on a Dail Committee processing the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989

  • 1999/2000 Gallagher Shatter represent the 1st claimant in Ireland to be paid compensation for alleged child sexual abuse by a member of a religious order.  Gallagher Shatter go on to represent many such victims in claims before the Residential Institutions Redress Board and in civil actions

  • 1991 Gallagher Shatter take a case to the European Courts of Justice (Cotter and McDermott), successfully arguing that the Irish social welfare code violated European Law resulting in thousands of women in Ireland being held entitled to  Social welfare payments previously denied to them

  • 1991 Alan Shatter sits on a Dail Committee processing the Child Care Bill (subsequently enacted as the Child Care Act, 1991), addressing the needs of vulnerable children requiring State intervention for their care and protection

  • 1991 Alan Shatter sits on a Dail Committee processing the Adoption Act 1991, a private members bill he introduced, providing for the first statutory recognition of certain foreign adoptions.  The Act gave prospective adopters a statutory entitlement to assessment

  • 1994 Alan Shatter introduces a private member’s bill subsequently enacted as the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1994 which, for the first time, allowed office tenants to contractually renounce their statutory renewal rights giving tenants and landlords an ability to enter into leases for more than five years allowing for more certainty from a business perspective, whilst also changing the duration of leases available to a tenant on a statutory lease renewal

  • November 1995 Divorce Referendum takes place and is passed by the narrowest of majorities.  Brian Gallagher and Alan Shatter campaign for a “Yes” vote

  • June 1996 Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 come into operation, legislating for Divorce in Ireland

  • December 1997 Gallagher Shatter represent a client before the Supreme Court  and successfully argue that a Deed of Separation prohibits a separated spouse from applying for a Decree of a Judicial Separation under the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act 1989

  • 1997 4th Edition of Shatter Family Law published and remains the leading authority in Ireland

  • 1998 Brian Gallagher publishes an Annotation of the Powers of Attorney Act, 1996 with Roundhall Sweet and Maxwell

  • 1998 Alan Shatter introduces a private member’s bill which later passes into law as the Protections for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act 1998

  • 2000 Gallagher Shatter act in first Divorce case to consider whether part of the requisite period spouses must live separate and apart to qualify for a divorce can include time living under the same roof.  The decision leads to an expansion of the availability of divorce to a greater number of separated spouses

  • 2002-2007 Gallagher Shatter represents a major witness to the Morris Tribunal

  • 2007-2014 Continuing their expertise in representing clients before Commissions of Investigation, Gallagher Shatter represented a Prison Officers in the inquiry into the death of Gary Douch

  • 2006-2007 Brian Gallagher is President of the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association.  During his tenure, he set up a committee to identify the most common documents and forms generated when handling Requisitions on Title in conveyancing transactions from which CORTDocs was developed to automatically generate those documents and speed up the conveyancing process

  • 2007 Brian Gallagher is appointed Chairman of the Conveyancing Committee of the Law Society of Ireland

  • 2009 Ciara Matthews publishes Family Law Precedent Service with Roundhall 

  • 2009 The firm acts on behalf of a parent wishing to relocate with children out of the jurisdiction culminating in the High Court enunciating the exercise to be undertaken by the Courts in such cases and the factors to be considered (B v. O’R [2009] unreported)

  • 2010 Adoption Act 2010 is enacted, giving effect to the Hague
    Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption

  • Brian Gallagher and Cathy Maguire BL publish the legal textbook: Civil Service Regulation 

  • November 2012 The Children's Referendum is passed (and later signed into law in April 2015 following unsuccessful legal challenges) inserting Article 42A into the Irish Constitution which ensures that in the resolution of proceedings concerning the safety and welfare, adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration and further providing that as far as practicable in all proceedings in respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child. Catherine Ghent campaigned in favour of a “Yes” vote in favour of the Referendum

  • 2013 The firm settles a claim brought to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of an unmarried mother, entering into a friendly settlement with the Irish State whereby the State acknowledges that aspects of the Irish Court’s decision in the case breached the Plaintiff’s rights under Articles 8 (private life) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights and commits to modern and update outdate aspects of Irish family law to treat children equally regardless of the status of the marital status of their parents (subsequently addressed in the Children and Family Relationships Act, 2015)

  • 2013 The firm represents a client before the European Courts of Justice (HSE v S.C.), questioning the legal basis on which vulnerable minors were being sent abroad, resulting in a reference from the High Court to the ECJ. The subsequent decision of that Court has brought about change at a European level which has provided a properly structured framework for such applications, thereby ensuring proper legal protections for such minors

  • 2015 The firm successfully appealed a particular Order made by a District Court Judge in child care proceedings, on the basis of the new constitutional framework and Article 42A, post the passing of the Children’s Referendum. This was the first such appeal in the country and represents the firm’s commitment to devising courageous and creative solutions to vindicate the rights of vulnerable minors

  • December 2015 Government removes the defence of reasonable chastisement of children, prohibiting parents from slapping their children, strengthening the State’s commitment to protect children.