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MICHAEL O'DONNELL: A Tribute

Organization: 
Mitre House
Summary: 
Michael O'Donnell: Born 6th October 1967, Hammersmith, London. Died 17th December 2005, Palolem, Goa.
A recognition of his loss, by Lee Jackson, Mitre House Chambers and details of the 'Michael O'Donnell Donation Fund'.

MICHAEL O'DONNELL

A TRIBUTE - by Lee Jackson, Mitre House Chambers (Jan 2006)

"I am sure I speak for many immigration barristers and solicitors when I say that it was a great shock to hear the sad news that Michael O’Donnell had been killed in a cycling accident in Goa last month.

I first met Michael myself in 1997 when we were both studying Immigration and Nationality Law as part of a Masters degree at London University. Although I only spoke to him a couple of times when I was on the course, he obviously made a strong impression upon me because I remembered him immediately when we both joined Mitre House Chambers at about the same time in 2000. We were in the same chambers for about two years and we became good friends during that time. We kept in touch with each other after he left Mitre House and we used to run into each other many times at court.

Michael clearly loved life and I always felt that he lived it to the full. I’d often see him at court juggling three different cases but it never seemed to faze him or make him anxious. He was always good humoured and if the opportunity was there for a chat, he’d always take it. I could always rely upon him to talk in an entertaining way about a much wider range of topics than work. He was constantly trying to persuade me of the merits of his favourite live bands, comedians, and TV programmes. I think Michael was a three dimensional character and provided an example of how it’s possible to have a life outside work. He could also be a very generous and considerate person. The fact that Michael was so full of life made it an even greater shock to hear that he had died

Michael’s death was made all the more tragic by the fact that his brother, Gary, died after a lengthy and painful illness almost exactly a year earlier. Michael bore this loss, which must have affected him deeply, with great fortitude. He showed considerable strength of character in carrying on with his work at what must have been a very difficult time.

I know many solicitors have told me how highly they thought of Michael’s ability as an advocate. Michael had a strong political commitment to representing the most vulnerable in society and I think he found it very rewarding to represent asylum-seekers in particular. The large number of barristers and solicitors who attended his funeral gave a measure of how well thought of he was.

Michael is survived by his partner, Joanne, and their two young sons. Anybody who knew Michael for even a short time would soon have found out how proud he was of his family, and it is extremely sad that they have lost him at such a young age.

I am sure there are many people, both solicitors and barristers, who will feel, like me, that they have lost a very good friend, and that the Bar has lost a very good advocate."


THE MICHAEL O'DONNELL DONATION FUND

We hope that you would like to make a contribution to the Michael O'Donnell Donation Fund. It has not been possible yet to work out which charity to contribute to or how we might mark Michael's life and work. In due course, the money will be put towards an appropriate cause which reflects his commitment to helping the disadvantaged. You can make a donation either through your internet bank,High Street bank or by cheque.

Please make any cheques payable to the 'Michael O'Donnell Donation Fund'

To be credited to:

HSBC plc
Sort Code 40-03-28
Acc. No. 72115352

Or send cheques to:

Joanne Harris
DX 57364 Finchley 1

or
10 Limes Avenue
London N12 8QN


Footnote by John Dean, Editor, EIN:

EIN has a particular debt to Michael O'Donnell and so I add this footnote to the tribute in recognition of just one of his particular attributes which he has donated freely in discussions with me and therefore no doubt generously to countless others - a spontaneous sociable intelligence on a breadth of subjects, including employment law and finer points of (underestimated/fringe) matters such as Extradition, the importance attached to it in early Strasbourg jurisprudence, and to the principles at stake on a wider purview of the judicial scrutiny of governmental decision making. To whom this may strike a chord, let us not forget, indeed let us convey and replicate, the value of this attribute.

Hopefully, EIN will be able to carry some good news in due course on the progress of the donation fund