Fiona Donnelly is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast, and has been admitted as a solicitor since 1987.
The Institute is the primary training organisation for solicitors and barristers in Northern Ireland. Fiona designs, teaches and examines courses in litigation and advocacy. She has held a number of positions within the Institute including Associate Director and Head of Teaching Quality.
Fiona is an SRA-approved assessor for Higher Court advocacy in England & Wales. She has been assessing solicitors' Higher Rights of Audience for CPD Training (UK) since 2012. She is also an approved assessor in Northern Ireland.
For CPD Training (UK), Fiona has taught arbitration advocacy twice for CMS in Vienna and twice for Bär and Karrer in Zurich. She is a faculty member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy in the United States, and has taught many times in Boston, New York, San Francisco and San Diego. She is the only non-US team leader on the annual San Francisco programme.
Fiona was jointly responsible for the creation of the Law Society of Northern Ireland Advanced Advocacy Course, which has gained statutory recognition as the basis of qualification for Solicitor Advocates in Northern Ireland. The course has now been running for 18 years and Fiona is the Course Director. She is also responsible for the training of the faculty (judges and senior practitioners) and quality on this course.
She is a regular advocacy trainer for the Law Society of Ireland in Dublin and teaches Scottish Higher Courts advocacy for the Law Society of Scotland. Fiona has also taught advocacy for the Public Prosecution Service in Dublin.
Fiona is a member of faculty for the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Strathclyde. She is also a member of the International Society of Barristers, for which membership is by invitation only following inquiry into a nominee's skill and professionalism.
In 2007, Fiona was appointed by the Lord Chancellor to be a Commissioner on the Legal Services Commission for Northern Ireland, which is responsible for the oversight of the administration of publicly-funded legal services in Northern Ireland.
Fiona was appointed as a Facilitator for Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training by the Law Society of England & Wales in 2016. She has also trained public bodies including the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and is the course director for evidence courses for the Offices of the Public Services Ombudsman in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.