The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union in October 2019 and the long term effects of this are unknown at this time. However, what we do know, is that with or without a deal there will be a significant impact on Ireland and for International Lawyers.
Multinational companies are drawn to Ireland as a base for their European operations and similarly, so are International Lawyers. There are many economic advantages that Ireland can offer and these are enhanced by its legal system, which similar to the UK, is based on Common Law.
For International Lawyers, there are several options for them practising in Ireland and the process of joining the roll of solicitors in Ireland is relatively straight forward.
Below outlines who can apply for the Certificate of Admission and who needs to sit the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test.
Certificate of Admission
Lawyers who gained their qualification in Northern Ireland, England and Wales or have subsequently qualified and have at least three years post qualification experience in Northern Ireland, England or Wales can apply for the Certificate of Admission without sitting the QLTT (Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test) exams.
Certificate of Admission applications are accepted throughout the year and can be found on the Law Society website.
Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test
The QLTT is a conversation test which enables lawyers qualified in certain countries outside of Ireland to qualify as a solicitor in this jurisdiction.
There are two exam sittings each year in Dublin.
Before sitting the QLTT you need to apply for the Certificate of Eligibility.
Lawyers who can apply include:
A person whose second or subsequent place of qualification as a solicitor is Northern Ireland, England and Wales (less than 3 years post-qualification experience in England and Wales)
A person (formerly a barrister) whose first place of qualification as a solicitor is England and Wales (less than 3 years post-qualification experience as a solicitor in England and Wales)
A person (formerly a barrister) whose first place of qualification as a solicitor is Northern Ireland (less than 3 years post-qualification experience as a solicitor in Northern Ireland)
A person who has been admitted to the Bar of England and Wales
A person who has been admitted to the Bar of Northern Ireland
A person qualified as an attorney in New York (with one year PQE)
A person qualified as an attorney in Pennsylvania (with five years PQE)
A person qualified as a solicitor in New Zealand
A person qualified as an attorney in California (with one year PQE)
A person qualified as a solicitor in NSW (and other Australian States – provided an applicant is eligible to practise in NSW).
A person who has been admitted as a lawyer in an EFTA member state i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland
A person who has been admitted as a lawyer in an EU member state
Certificate of Eligibility applications is accepted throughout the year. There is supporting documentation you need to supply as part of your application.
When the Law Society of Ireland has granted you a Certificate of Eligibility you can then apply to sit the QLTT Exams. These are sat twice a year (June/July and October/November).
The exam is broken into two parts:
- An oral examination in Professional Conduct (15 minutes)
- Written exams consisting of 6 papers:
Constitutional Law and Criminal Law or Constitutional Law and Company Law (at the option of the candidate)
The Law of Contract and the Law of Tort
Land Law and Conveyancing
Probate and Taxation
European Union Law
The pass mark for each paper is 50% and candidates will face problem or essay type questions or a combination of both.
For help and more information on Part 1 and 2 of the QLTT exams can be found on the Law Society website.
There are also courses that you can attend to help with revision for the exams.
Exemptions are available for certain candidates sitting the QLTT’s (EU Qualified Lawyers are exempt from the EU Law Paper). Applications are made to the Education Committee in the Law Society with proof of post-qualification experience in the particular area you are applying to be exempt from.
It can be a daunting process to get on the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland, however, you are not required to take any further examinations after this. The process is relatively straightforward, and the Law Society of Ireland has a dedicated section on their website to help with Foreign Qualified Lawyers looking to practice in Ireland.
If you are considering a move to Ireland and are from a non-EU Country be aware of the visa requirements to work in Ireland before applying and sitting the QLTTs.
More information on Visas in Ireland can be found here.