The Commissioners

The role of the Parole Commissioners is defined by the legislation under which they operate. Chapter 7 of the Criminal Justice (NI) Order 2008 states that in discharging their functions, including those defined in the Life Sentences (Northern Ireland) Order 2001, the Parole Commissioners shall –

(a) have due regard to the need to protect the public from serious harm; and

(b) have regard to the desirability of –

     (i) securing the rehabilitation of prisoners; and

     (ii) preventing the commission of further offences by prisoners.

The Parole Commissioners are required to advise the Department of Justice in regard to any matter connected with the release or recall of prisoners referred to them under the Order or under the Life Sentences (NI) Order 2001.

There are currently 39 Commissioners who all work on a part-time basis. The Chief Commissioner is Mr Paul Mageean.

There are 16 legally qualified Commissioners; 12 from a psychology/psychiatry background; and 11 who have relevant backgrounds in criminology, probation, etc. Please find below short biopics on each of the Commissioners.

Chief Commissioner

Mr Paul Mageean

Mr Paul Mageean qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and was originally in private practice. In 1995 he joined the Committee on the Administration of Justice as their Legal Officer during which time he successfully brought a number of cases to the European Court of Human Rights.  Subsequently he worked for Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland from 2005 until 2008 when he was appointed as the first Director of the Graduate School for Professional Legal Education at the University of Ulster. From 2013 until 2018 he was the Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University Belfast. He served as a member of the NI Human Rights Commission from 2017 until 2020 and the Parole Board in the Republic of Ireland from 2017 to 2021.  He also sits as a member of the Policing Authority in the Republic of Ireland.  In the summer of 2021 he was appointed as a non-executive Board member with the Legal Services Agency.  In November 2022 he was appointed as a Chair of the Mental Health Tribunals in the Republic of Ireland.  He was appointed as Chief Commissioner of PCNI in September 2019 and re-appointed in 2022.

Commissioners from a Legal Background

Mrs Anne Fenton MBE

Mrs Anne Fenton MBE has been a qualified solicitor since 1978.  She was Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast from 1998 to 2013.  She is currently a part-time legal member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal and has previously held appointments as part-time Chairperson to both the Child Support and Disability Appeal Tribunals.  In January 2014 she was appointed Under-Treasurer of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland.

Mr Noel Phoenix

Mr Noel Phoenix qualified as a solicitor in Northern Ireland in 1983 and has practised for many years in criminal law across the entire range of court tiers in the jurisdiction. He was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in England and Wales in 2005 and is a qualified Advanced Advocate. He holds a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Criminal Justice and serves as a member of the Human Rights and Equality Committee of the Law Society of Northern Ireland.  Noel was appointed as a Notary Public in 2006 and he served on the Solicitor’s Disciplinary Committee between 2008 and 2019.  Noel has served as a part time trainer at The Institute of Professional Legal Studies since 1998 and was appointed as a Training Principal for LPC trainees in 2007. He was appointed a Parole Commissioner in 2014 and a legal chair of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel in 2017. Noel was elected as chairman of the Solicitors Criminal Bar Association in 2018. He was appointed as legal chair of the Review Tribunal in 2023.  Noel continues in private practice as a senior partner in a leading law firm.

Professor John Jackson

Professor John Jackson is a professor of Law at the University of Nottingham and a qualified barrister.  He was previously Dean of the School of Law at University College Dublin and has taught at several other universities including Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Sheffield, the City University, London and University College Cardiff.  He has held visiting professorships at Hastings College of the Law, University of California and the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales and was a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in 2007 – 2008. From 1998 to 2000 he was an Independent Assessor for the Northern Ireland Criminal Justice Review and he has been a Sentence Review Commissioner since 2012.

Mr Jeremy Mills

Mr Jeremy Mills qualified as a solicitor in 1990.  He spent 15 years with a firm of corporate solicitors in Belfast and was a partner for 10 years.  Between 2007 and 2012 Jeremy served as a part time Legal Chairman of the Northern Ireland Valuation Tribunal. From 2008 to 2012 he was also a member of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Independent Review of Decisions Panel.  He was a member of the Board of Bryson Charitable Group from 2008 until 2018. In 2009 he was appointed to Transport Northern Ireland’s panel of independent Public Inquiry Inspectors. He is also a non-executive Director of the Odyssey Trust Company and its subsidiary, W5. He has been a Parole Commissioner since 2009.

Mr John F Gibbons

Mr John F. Gibbons qualified as a solicitor in 1991, and manages his own law firm, which he established in 1995.  He was recently sworn in as a Legal Member of the Victims Payment Board, dealing with claims around pensions for victims of the Troubles.  He was sworn in as a Legal Member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Northern Ireland, in January 2015, and then became its Deputy Chairman in 2019. He chaired the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal between 2009 and 2020 and was a trustee board member and treasurer of Citizens Advice, Belfast, between 2008 and 2014. In 2010 he was appointed a Legal Chairman of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Independent Appeals panel and between 2012 and 2020 he was the Legal Chair to the Pharmaceutical Society for Northern Ireland’s Fitness to Practice scrutiny committee. 

Ms Maura Hutchinson

Ms Maura Hutchinson qualified as a solicitor in 1996 and worked for a number of years in a City of London legal practice.  She set up and managed a grant-giving programme in the charity and voluntary sector and was a solicitor at Law Centre (NI) until 2010.  Maura currently sits as a Judge of the First Tier Tribunal - Immigration and Asylum Chamber and as a Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal. She is also a legal member of the Social Security Appeal Tribunals and a legal member of the Review Tribunal and is appointed to hear Restricted Cases within that Tribunal.   Maura was appointed to the Victims Payment Board, as a legal member, in 2021.

Mrs Marian Killen

Mrs Marian Killen was admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland in 1978 and in England and Wales in 2016. She held a number of legal positions in the Northern Ireland Office, Court Service and Northern Ireland Civil Service before being appointed to the post of Assistant Crown Solicitor in 2007 which she held until 2017. She is a trained Mediator and Solicitor Advocate and served for many years on a number of Law Society and other Committees.  In addition to her role as a Commissioner, Marian was appointed as a Deputy District Judge (civil) in the County Court and a Deputy Master in the High Court in 2009. She was appointed as a Legal Assessor to the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Fitness to Practise Tribunal in 2017 and as a Chair of the Health Care Professional Council’s Fitness to Practise Tribunal in 2017.  In 2018 she was appointed as a Legal Assessor to the Northern Ireland Social Care Council’s Fitness to Practise Tribunal and was appointed as Legal Advisor to Social Work England’s Fitness to Practise Tribunal in 2018.

Mr Niall Small

Mr Niall Small qualified as a Solicitor in 1992.  He worked in private practice for 10 years before becoming a founding partner in the firm of Small & Marken Solicitors in Antrim.  He has been reappointed to the Guardian Ad Litem Solicitor Panel in Northern Ireland and has recently been appointed as a legal chair of the HSCB Disciplinary Committee for Dental, Optometry and Pharmaceutical services. He is a trained mediator and has qualified as a Solicitor Advocate.  He has held several positions with a number of voluntary organisations throughout Northern Ireland. He was sworn in as a Legal Member of the Review Tribunal for Northern Ireland, on 7 September 2020.

Mr Timothy Thorne

Mr Timothy Thorne qualified as a barrister in 1987. He practiced mainly in the fields of criminal defence and prosecution. He was a Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General sitting in Courts Martial and is a fee-paid judge in the First Tier Tribunal, in the Immigration & Asylum Chamber and the Care Standards Tribunal. He was also a Deputy Chairperson of the National Health Service Tribunal and a consultant trainer to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. He is also presently a non-Executive Director of a legal training company.

Mr Mark Finegan

Mr Mark Finegan was admitted as a solicitor in 1993. He spent ten years as a solicitor in private practice before joining the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2003 as a Senior Public Prosecutor. He has also worked as a Senior Principal Legal Officer in the Office of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland for nine years. He is a qualified Solicitor Advocate and has previously been a member of the Crown Court Rules Committee and the Criminal Justice Issues Group.

Mr Martin O’Brien

Mr Martin O’Brien has been a practising barrister at the Bar of Northern Ireland for 33 years, specialising in employment and discrimination law. He has a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Emergency Law, and for 18 years was an academic lecturer at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University Belfast. Martin was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1998 and served as a part time Judge of Employment Tribunals from 1998-2009. He is also a part-time Judge of Appeals Tribunals, and an Adjudicator of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel. Martin is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. In addition to sitting on a number of boards and committees, Martin is also the Chairman of a children’s Safeguarding Advisory Panel.

Mr Ciaran McQuillan

Mr Ciaran McQuillan qualified as a Solicitor in 1994. He worked in private practice for 12 years specialising in Personal Injury litigation and Criminal Law. In 2006 he joined the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland. He has served as an Assistant Director for the last 10 years and is presently head of the Serious Crime Unit. He was a member of the Law Society’s Advocacy Working Party for 12 years

Ms Diane Nixon

Ms Diane Nixon is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Education at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Queen’s University Belfast. She is a Fellow of Advance Higher Education Academy and is a member of the Cambridge Assessment Network. She was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1997. She practised full-time as a barrister until she returned to Northern Ireland in 2008 when she combined teaching with professional practice at the Bar.  She was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2008. In 2013 Diane qualified as a police station representative under the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Legal Aid Agency scheme regulations for England and Wales.  She is also “duty-qualified” for England and Wales. Her full-time professional legal practice was focused on criminal and regulatory matters. Diane was appointed Chief Examiner (Professional Ethics) to the Bar Standards Board Centralised Examinations Board in 2019, having held the post of Assistant Chief Examiner since 2014 and has been involved in Curriculum and Assessment Review. Diane provides Continuing Professional Development programmes and podcasts and is an approved trainer for the Middle Temple Advocacy pupillage programmes.

Mr. Matthew Corkey

Mr. Matthew Corkey was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2008. He has represented clients in all tiers of the court system including the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He was appointed to the Government Legal Services Civil Panel of Counsel in 2012 and is currently on their ‘A’ Panel. He is currently appointed to the Directorate of Legal Services Clinical Negligence; General Litigation, Property, Commercial, Procurement, Administrative Law and Employment Panels. He was called to the Bar of Ireland in 2019. He was also appointed to the Coroners Service for Northern Ireland ‘A’ Panel of Counsel in 2020. He has been involved in the provision of continuing professional development programs to solicitors in this jurisdiction via the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

Mr. John O’Neill

Mr. John O’Neill qualified as a solicitor in 2004.  He joined the Public Prosecution Service in 2006 working in a court-based role as a Public Prosecutor and in 2009 was awarded a Certificate in Advanced Advocacy by the Law Society.  In 2011 he was appointed a Senior Public Prosecutor (Higher Court Advocate), appearing for the prosecution in Crown Court trials for a number of years before adopting a role as a prosecution decision-maker in cases of particular complexity and profile.John authored a textbook on criminal law in Northern Ireland which was published in 2013 and he regularly tutors at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in the field of Solicitor Advocacy.  In 2019 he was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland.In 2017 John was appointed to fee-paid judicial office as a Legal Member of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal and in 2021 was appointed Deputy President of that Tribunal.He currently serves on the Magistrates’ Court Rules Committee, the Crown Court Rules Committee and the Council of Law Reporting.

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Commissioners from a Psychiatry and Psychology Background

Dr Adrian Grounds

Dr Adrian Grounds was a University Senior Lecturer in forensic psychiatry at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, and an honorary consultant forensic psychiatrist in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, until retiring in 2010. He is now an honorary research fellow at the Institute of Criminology, and a medical member of the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health) in England. He has also been a Sentence Review Commissioner since 1998.

Professor Peter Hepper

Professor Peter Hepper is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the Queen’s University of Belfast. He was Head of School of Psychology for 13 years and has served as Chair of the Irish Football Association Appeals Committee, Non-Executive Director Ulster Hospitals Trust. He is a Chartered Psychologist, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a member of the European Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.  He has been a Visiting Professor at Kyushu University, Japan, University New South Wales, Australia, and Vanderbilt University, USA. Professor Hepper is a qualified hostage negotiator and forensic interviewer of children. He trains individuals and organisations in interview and interrogation techniques. He is trained in linguistic threat analysis, behavioural indictors of violence and violent attacks, risk and threat assessment, including, assessment and management of espionage threats, and transnational organised crime.  He has taught and trained students and professionals on The Psychology of Serial Killers, “profiling” and sex crimes.

Dr Damien McCullagh

Dr Damien McCullagh is a Chartered & Consultant Clinical & Forensic Psychologist in private practice having formerly been Lead Clinical Psychologist within the Learning Disability Directorate of the Southern Trust (2000-2017). He is a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society & a Registered Forensic and Clinical Psychologist with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC). Additionally, Dr McCullagh is a Judicial Office holder with the Review Tribunal (NI) as an Experienced Member since 2020 and also as a member of the Victim’s Payments Board (NI). Dr McCullagh previously worked as a Principal Clinical Psychologist with the Northern Ireland Prison Service where he had primary responsibility for providing psychological risk assessments on Life Sentence Prisoners to the Life Sentence Review Board (1997-2000). Clinically, he has held posts in Adult and Child Psychology Services in the Republic of Ireland and with the Sperrin Lakeland Health and Social Services Trust in Omagh (1989-1997). Dr McCullagh has been an Honorary Lecturer in Forensic Risk Assessment at Queen’s University, Belfast.  He was also an Association of Chief Police Officers UK (ACPO) accredited Behavioural Investigative Advisor and assisted in many major murder investigations and missing person enquiries throughout the UK. He was the Founding Chair   of the Board of Governors of Drumragh Integrated College in Omagh from 1995-2005 which he helped establish as one of the first Integrated Education Colleges at Secondary level in the North of Ireland.

Dr Micaela Greenwood

Dr Micaela Greenwood is an independent business psychologist and management consultant. Her previous positions include Principal Occupational Psychologist at the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Associate Director of the MSc in Occupational Psychology at Queen's University of Belfast. Micaela was appointed as a Sentence Review Commissioner in 2015.

Mrs Deborah McQueirns

Mrs Deborah McQueirns is an independent Registered and Chartered Forensic Psychologist, Chartered Scientist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS).  Her previous positions include Principal (Lead) Forensic Psychologist in female and high secure prisons, Consultant Psychologist in private healthcare specialising in forensic learning disability and acquired brain injury, and specialist forensic psychologist in forensic mental health and in HMPPS Close Supervision Unit.  She is currently working as an independent consultant practitioner psychologist and has provided expert testimony in criminal courts for over ten years.  Her particular areas of expertise include personality disorder, acquired brain injury, forensic learning disability, ASD and mental health.

Mr Emmet Murray

Mr Emmet Murray is a Health and Care Professions Council registered and British Psychology Society Chartered Forensic Clinical Psychologist, currently working in the area of Adult Mental Health and Child Protection. He was previously a Principal Psychologist with the Northern Ireland Prison Service and is currently an Expert Advisor with the National Policing Improvement Agency.

Ms Claire Hunt

Ms Claire Hunt is an HCPC registered Practitioner Psychologist, Chartered Forensic Psychologist and an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. She has worked as a Forensic Psychologist for 27 years. She has been a psychologist member of the Parole Board for England and Wales since 2011. Ms Hunt has been working as an expert witness in criminal and family law proceedings for 19 years and regularly attends court to provide expert testimony. Previously she worked in HM Prison Service for 11 years, working with high risk offenders, both male and female.

Mrs Siobhan Keating

Mrs Siobhan Keating is a Registered Psychologist (HCPC) and Chartered Forensic and Clinical Psychologist (BPS). She currently works as a Consultant Psychologist in Belfast Health & Social Care Trust in the Community Forensic Mental Health Service. Previously she was a Principal Psychologist with the Northern Ireland Prison Service and a Senior Occupational Psychologist with the Dept. of Employment (NW England). She is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

Dr Andrea Higgins

Dr Andrea Higgins is an HCPC registered Practitioner Psychologist. She is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the Ministry of Justice, UK and has worked in a variety of clinical and forensic settings, providing specialist services including the assessment of risk of reoffending, which is an area of special interest for her. She is the former Clinical Director of “Aware”, an organisation providing services for persons with Depression and Bipolar disorder across the Republic of Ireland. She is experienced in the identification and management of risk of reoffending in both community and prison populations. Dr Higgins is the former chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology within the Psychological Society of Ireland and Vice-Chair of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland. She has a special interest in offending behaviour in the context of neurological conditions and mental health.

Dr Kate Anya Geraghty

Dr Kate Anya Geraghty is a HCPC registered Practitioner Psychologist, a BPS Chartered Forensic Psychologist and an associate fellow of the BPS.  Kate has extensive experience working in numerous forensic and clinical settings including prisons, the community, and secure hospitals. She has held clinical lead roles in a prison based Therapeutic Community (TC), as well as within a HMP Young Offender Institute (YOI). Kate has acted as an Expert Witness for the Parole Board and Court proceedings in England, and for the Scottish Prison Service. Her areas of expertise includes assessing the risk of violent and sexual offending, assessing and managing personality and mental health difficulties, and managing and treating complex trauma. Kate has undertaken significant research in risk assessment and female offending, and published research on Therapeutic Communities, gangs and delivering trauma therapy in prison. Kate is also a university guest lecturer on Forensic and Clinical Psychology Doctoral programmes. She has a particular interest in working with young adults.

Mr Deepak Anand

Mr Dee Anand has been a practising forensic psychologist for over 22 years. His career has included roles as Senior and Principal Lecturer/ Programme Director for a number of postgraduate programmes in forensic psychology in England. He has worked as a consultant forensic psychologist in the UK and Ireland and currently sits as a specialist member of the Parole Board of England and Wales. Dee has held every senior role in Forensic Psychology in the UK - including as Chair of the National Division of Forensic Psychology for two separate terms, Chair of the Training Committee for Forensic Psychology overseeing standards of education provision and accreditation for University Courses in forensic psychology in the UK, Chair of the Qualification Board for Forensic Psychology and is the current Head of Qualification in Forensic Psychology for the British Psychological Society. He has worked as COO for a national mental health charity and has delivered a number of keynote speeches, invited talks and conference presentations nationally and internationally. His particular areas of interest include mental health, personality functioning and psychopathy, sexual and violent offending. He remains a practising forensic psychologist preparing specialist reports in civil and criminal cases across the United Kingdom.

Dr. Jeremy Kenney-Herbert

Dr Jeremy Kenney-Herbert trained as a psychiatrist in Sydney, Australia before undertaking a placement at Reaside Clinic forensic mental health, in Birmingham in 1995.  He specialised in forensic psychiatry in the United Kingdom and in 1997 became a consultant forensic psychiatrist.  He has worked extensively in secure mental health hospitals in Birmingham; provided care in a community forensic mental health team; been a visiting psychiatrist to Elliott House Approved Premises (Probation) in Birmingham for over 10 years; worked for over 25 years in a maximum security prison as a visiting forensic psychiatrist and for the last 5 years in a busy remand prison.  He has extensive medico-legal experience in criminal courts in the United Kingdom and including many homicide trials.  He has been a past member of the advisory board to the Quality Network for Forensic Mental Health Services for the Royal College of Psychiatrists; he has been a selected member of the NHS England Secure Care Clinical Reference Group for the last 10 years and a member of the Forensic Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in various roles over the last 10 years and is currently the Vice Chair.  He has been in senior clinical leadership roles as a Clinical Director for the last 17 years in the West Midlands. He has a particular interest in the role of mental disorder in offending behaviours, the provision of community mental health services, and prison mental health services.  He is an enthusiastic practising clinician for those involved in the criminal justice system.

Dr. Michael Utterson

Dr. Michael Utterson is a consultant psychiatrist currently working within a Category A status prison in England. He has experience across community and inpatient psychiatric settings, as well as with experience of writing reports for the courts and the parole board. Dr Utterson is a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and holds an honorary teaching position with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London.

Dr. Christine Kennedy

Dr. Christine Kennedy has worked as a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist from 2001. She is dually registered on the Specialist Register of the GMC in General Adult and Forensic Psychiatry. She was previously employed between the Shannon Clinic Medium Secure Unit and the Northern Health & Social Care Trust Forensic Mental Health Team between 2005 and 2021 and is a fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Currently she works independently providing medicolegal reports on a range of forensic mental health issues.

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Commissioners from a Criminal Justice Background

Mr Stephen Murphy CBE

Mr Stephen Murphy CBE is a former Director General of the National Probation Service for England and Wales, prior to which he was Chief Probation Officer first in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and then in Northumbria.  He is a former member of the Parole Board for England and Wales on which he served from 1995 to 2005 and 2010 to 2020.

Mrs Elaine Peel

Mrs Elaine Peel is currently a Company Director.  She was formerly an Assistant Chief Probation Officer with 24 years’ experience of working with offenders.  During her time with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland she was instrumental in setting up a wide range of multi-agency services for prisoners and their families and the implementation of the first programmes to deal with domestic violence in Northern Ireland.  She was a Director of the National Community Justice Training Organisation. She was recently appointed as a lay member to the Victim `s Payment Board which deals with payments to victims of the troubles in NI.

Mrs Alexandra Delimata

Mrs Alexandra Delimata is a self-employed consultant who works primarily with community groups, enterprises and small businesses in North West Ireland. Prior to relocating to Ireland in 2001, she was Assistant Director, Corporate Development, for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Geneva. She holds a Master’s degree in Criminology from Technological University Dublin and is currently undertaking research into issues relating to the recall into custody of prisoners on supervised licence.   

Mrs Ruth Laird CBE

Mrs Ruth Laird CBE is a human resource professional with particular experience in organisational development, equality and diversity.  She was formerly Director of the National Trust, Director of HR, BBC, and a Fair Employment Commissioner.  Ruth has held appointments as a Judicial Appointments Commissioner, Civil Service Commissioner and Independent Assessor for Public Appointments. She has served as a non-executive Director of the Northern Ireland Prison Service and Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, and as a member of the Legal Services Civil Appeal Panels. She was a Board member of Business in the Community, a founder member of the Employers’ Forum on Disability and a Council member of Ulster University.  Ruth is currently a panel member for Police Misconduct Hearings, an experienced member of the Review Tribunal, a non-executive Director of the Western Health and Social Care Trust and a member of the Victims’ Payments Board for Northern Ireland.

Mrs Elsbeth Rea OBE

Mrs Elsbeth Rea OBE is a retired social worker. She has worked as both a Senior Probation Officer with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland, as a lecturer in Social Work at Queen’s University Belfast and for various social work and social care bodies and agencies on a sessional basis.  She is currently a Lay Magistrate and a Lay Member of the Bar Disciplinary Committee.  She has held public appointments with the Northern Ireland Committee of Ofqual, the Ulster Community and Hospitals Trust, the Police Authority for Northern Ireland and the Eastern Health and Social Services Council. Elsbeth served as Deputy Chief Commissioner of PCNI between 2009 and 2012.

Mrs Debbie Hill

Mrs Debbie Hill is a barrister (non-practising).  She began career in Youth Justice before working in the Probation Service as a District Manager responsible for courts and as the District Sex Offender Specialist. She re-trained as a barrister.  Mrs Hill  was previously Chair for Parole Board England and Wales for 12 years, Lay member for Mental Health Review Tribunal and Chair for General Chiropractic Council. Currently a specialist lay member for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, Disability Qualified member for Social Security, Chair for MPTS, HCPC, NMC and Social Work England.

Mrs Louisa Fee

Mrs Louisa Fee qualified as a Solicitor in September 2004.  She worked in General Private Practice until October 2017 specialising in Family and Criminal law.  She was appointed to the Guardian Ad Litem panel in 2012.  In November 2017 she was appointed legal advisor for the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, and thereafter became the Director of Legal Services in October 2018.  She was appointed to the Civil Legal Services Appeals Panel in April 2019.  She was sworn in as a Legal Member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Northern Ireland in August 2019.  She has been appointed to the Board of Governors at Park Education Centre, Aquinas Grammar School and St Bride's Primary School Belfast.

Mr Mike Fowkes

Mr Mike Fowkes is a former police officer who served in Devon and Cornwall Police for thirty years. As a Senior Investigating Officer he led numerous murder and major crime investigations. Following retirement from the police, one of his roles involved investigatory work for a specialist criminal law practice, who represented clients facing serious criminal allegations. He currently works as a chair and panel member on Fitness to Practise Hearings for the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service and the General Pharmaceutical Council. He is also a specialist lay member of the Mental Health Review Tribunal for England. His voluntary work included helping 14 to 17 year olds to successfully complete Referral Order sentences issued to them by the Youth Courts. He is also a magistrate in the Family Courts.

Mr Jarlath Kearney

Mr Jarlath Kearney is currently an Equality Commissioner for Northern Ireland, appointed by the Secretary of State since 2016. He is a senior strategy advisor with substantial experience across government and the public sector. Since 2018, he has served as a National Expert for the European Commission’s TAIEX Programme and as an Advisor to a long-term FCDO-sponsored project, both focused on institutional transformation, good governance, equality and rights, and democratic development in the Balkans region. Jarlath is a Trustee of Pivotal PPF, and was previously a Board member of both the Arts Council for Northern Ireland and the Community Relations Council. He holds Masters Degrees in Human Rights Law and Journalism Studies, and contributes to print and broadcast media.

Ms Tracy Overing

Ms Tracy Overing was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2004.  She specialises in the area of children and family law and continues to practise in other areas of law including criminal, matrimonial and judicial review.  Ms Overing is a well-respected member of the profession with extensive experience in complex cases of fact and law including the sexual abuse of children, domestic abuse, ward ship, adoption, public and private law proceedings with domestic and international elements, Hague Convention and Non-Hague Convention proceedings.   She has completed additional training to become an Advanced Advocate.  Ms Overing appears in all court tiers and has been involved in a number of cases which have set legal precedent.  In October 2014 Ms Overing was appointed as Chair of the Disability Appeals Tribunals conducting appeal hearings in the application of social security law.   She continues in this post to date.

Mrs Vilma Patterson

Mrs Vilma Patterson MBE spent over 30 years in the construction industry as a Director and Shareholder of John G Duff (Annandale) Ltd. Interested in skills development for the industry she is a past member of the Training Committee for the Construction Industry Training Board for Northern Ireland. In 2002 she was the founding Chair of the Women in Business Network, and is a former Board Member of the Women on the Move Network which works to support and encourage female entrepreneurship. Ms Patterson is past Chairman of the Probation Board for Northern Ireland and she has been a non-executive member of the Audit Committee of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, and also a Civil Service Commissioner for Northern Ireland. Previously Vilma was a Member and Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board for HMP Maghaberry 1996 to 2008 and Chairman of the Association of Members of Independent Monitoring Boards for Northern Ireland. She was a member of the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland for period 2006-2010. From 2011-2013 she was a member of the Prison Service Pay Review Body and from 2015 – 2020 was a Member of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. She is currently a Member of the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland and is a Member of the Appeals Tribunal for Social Services Benefits

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