Chairman, the United Kingdom Spoliation Advisory Panel
Sir Donnell is the Chairman of the United Kingdom Spoliation Advisory Panel. In that capacity, he has been involved in the decisions of that Panel since its creation in 2000 and has drafted many of its Reports dealing with the provenance and ownership of works of art found in British public collections. He is a former Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Trustee of the Ulster Museum and founder of the Ireland Chair of Poetry. He is a collector of art and books.
Sir Donnell is an accredited mediator and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London. Since his retirement from the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland, he has practised as a mediator with a particular interest in commercial disputes. He was appointed to the Arbitration pool of CAfA in January 2020.
He served as a Barrister, Queen’s Counsel and High Court Judge in Northern Ireland before joining the Court of Appeal. He is a member of the Bar of England and Wales and a Bencher of Middle Temple and of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland. He is a member of the Bar of Ireland and was appointed Senior Counsel in that jurisdiction.
He is a former President of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society and the Irish Legal History Society. He is an Honorary Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, a Deputy Lieutenant for the City of Belfast and a former Chairman of Opera Northern Ireland and was the youngest High Sheriff of Belfast.
He is the author of some 300 judgments. He has contributed to a wide range of colloquia in the cultural and educational field including Anglistica Pisana, IV, 1/2, 2007; Trinity College Dublin in the 60s (2009) and To the Millennium, A Strategy for the Arts in Northern Ireland and Cultural Traditions in Northern Ireland, (Ed.)1997.
Sir Donnell was knighted in 2005 and made a Privy Councillor of the United Kingdom in 2017.
He is a graduate in legal science of Trinity College Dublin and senior Pro-Chancellor of the University of Dublin. He read a post graduate year at Queen’s University, Belfast.
Jurisdiction: Ireland and U.K.