Irish Law Society throws post-Brexit curveball
The Law Society of Ireland has said England and Wales-qualified solicitors will not be entitled to practising certificates unless they have a presence in the country.
The decision will come as a major blow to UK law firms, many of which have gone to considerable efforts to register their solicitors in the Republic of Ireland to ensure they’re able to continue practising in the EU post-Brexit.
But legal bigwigs in Ireland have now said that “Irish qualified solicitors who are based in England and Wales and are seeking a practising certificate from the Society will not be entitled to a practising certificate”.
The Irish Law Society added that “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 development appears to have taken its Chancery Lane counterpart by surprise. “To hear about this development through a release on the Law Society of Ireland’s website is very disappointing,” the Law Society of England and Wales said in a statement yesterday. “We would have expected to learn of any proposed changes in advance and formally.”
Stats last year showed that over 2,700 solicitors from across England and Wales had coughed up the €300 (£265) administration fee and registered in Ireland in the wake of the Leave vote. Magic circle duo Allen & Overy and Linklaters lead the way with 297 and 259 registrations, respectively.
But the news isn’t entirely new. Legal Cheek reported last year that the Law Society of Ireland had sent a letter to its solicitors revealing a number of stipulations for those seeking to rely on Irish practising certificates post-Brexit. This included “establishment” in Ireland.