Law Society of Ireland cuts off UK-based solicitors

The UK Law Society expressed disappointment with the development

Law Society of Ireland cuts off UK-based solicitors

The Law Society of Ireland has announced that UK-based solicitors qualified in Ireland will not be entitled to receive a practising certificate from the organisation.

“This will be the case whether they attempt to maintain certain practice rights in the EU post-Brexit or otherwise. Such solicitors will not be issued with a practising certificate by the Society unless they can demonstrate in the course of their applications that they practise (or intend to practise) in Ireland from a physical establishment in Ireland,” the law society said in an 11 November statement on its website.

This announcement followed the completion of a comprehensive review conducted by the Ireland Law Society with regard to the regulatory framework it employs to issue practising certifications to lawyers outside its jurisdiction. The review sought “both to realign the regulatory framework in the light of Brexit and to ensure that the framework is legally robust,” the society said.

“The review confirmed the Society's view that, under the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015 and the regulations implementing those statutes, a practising certificate only entitles a solicitor to practise in Ireland from an establishment in Ireland. The review also confirmed that a practising certificate can only be issued to a solicitor on that basis,” the Ireland Law Society said. “The practice of issuing practising certificates to solicitors outside the jurisdiction may create the erroneous impression that the Society permits practice pursuant to the Irish practising certificate outside Ireland. It is clear that no such practice is permitted and, by adopting this approach, the Society will be making clear that such practice is not permitted.”

The society said that those who qualify to obtain a practising certificate under the set criterion must also fulfil other relevant legal requirements, such as having professional indemnity insurance in line with the Ireland Law Society’s regulations.

The Law Society of England and Wales expressed its disappointment with the development, reported the Law Society Gazette. The organisation said that it would be a significant blow to the many solicitors who had re-qualified under long-established rules.

“The Law Society of Ireland has for years issued practising certificates to the many Irish solicitors based in England and Wales, whether their first qualification is the Republic of Ireland or whether they are UK lawyers who have requalified in Ireland,” UK Law Society President David Greene said. “It would also appear that any other EU qualified lawyers based in England and Wales will be able to continue practising in their home state law including EU law, but the position for Irish solicitors has become less clear.”

Greene also said that it was disappointing to receive word of the Ireland Law Society’s decision via its website.

“We would have expected to learn of any proposed changes in advance and formally,” he said.

The Gazette reported last year that solicitors from England and Wales comprised one in seven solicitors admitted to the Irish Roll of Solicitors.

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