Blog: Law Society offers open access to Irish Roll of Solicitors, post-Brexit – Law Society of Ireland Gazette

The Law Society has reached a reciprocal qualifying agreement with the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales.

Law Society President, James Cahill, said: “Since 2016, over 4,500 England and Wales qualified solicitors have added their names to the Irish Roll of Solicitors

“However, with the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, this transferring process became more difficult.

Qualify

“The Law Society is pleased to have reviewed this situation, in line with Government legislation, to reach a reciprocal agreement with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This will once again allow our respective solicitors to qualify across these jurisdictions with ease,” he said.

Reciprocal agreements

“The newly reinstated arrangement allows an Irish qualified solicitor to add their name to the Roll of Solicitors in England and Wales without having to sit the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme. Notably, Irish solicitors will also be exempt from the Solicitors Qualifying Examination when it is introduced in September 2021,” explained Mr Cahill.

“Similarly, solicitors qualified in England and Wales can apply for a Certificate of Admission to the Irish Roll of Solicitors without having to sit additional examinations.

“And in yet another progressive development, the Law Society of Ireland and Law Society of Scotland have also reached an agreement allowing respective transfers to each other’s jurisdiction, pending solicitors passing a reciprocal exam,” said Mr Cahill.  

“These agreements were approved by the Law Society’s Education Committee, which oversees admissions to the Irish Roll of Solicitors, and the Law Society of Ireland’s Council last week.”

Post-Brexit opportunities

“We are encouraged by our continued positive and open relationship with our neighbouring jurisdictions, despite the challenges presented by Brexit,” said Mr Cahill. 

“Brexit has already shown to be a catalyst for new business in Ireland, with several UK firms setting up bases here, investing and providing training contracts for aspiring solicitors. The opportunity to reinstate and develop these agreements will benefit solicitors on both sides of the water,” he said.

Borderless

“This is also good news for the clients of solicitors in each jurisdiction who over the past many years have become used to an almost borderless arrangement,” said Mr Cahill. 

“Many solicitors have clients who, as emigrants in the past, have properties and business interests in the UK and Ireland, and are used to and perfectly comfortable dealing with their solicitors on both sides of the Irish sea,” he explained. 

“However, as always, solicitors originally qualified in another jurisdiction, who have been admitted as solicitors in Ireland, can only practise under an Irish Practising Certificate if:

  • They themselves are practising (or intending to practise) from an office in Ireland, and
  • They are working in a solicitors’ firm that has mandatory Irish professional indemnity insurance in place.”

James Cahill sincerely thanked the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Law Society of England and Wales and the Law Society of Scotland for their support and understanding in reaching the mutually beneficial arrangements. 

More information

For information on requalifying in Ireland, see: Foreign Lawyers

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