Irish re-open door to English and Welsh solicitors

News that English and Welsh solicitors can now requalify in Ireland again without being required to sit any examination under the local Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test was today welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales.

From 22 March, they can requalify by simply applying for a certificate of admission with the Law Society of Ireland just as they could prior to the end of the Brexit transition period.

However, only solicitors based in the Republic of Ireland are currently being issued with practising certificates.

Today’s announcement comes after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) confirmed Irish solicitors will be fully exempt from the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) when the new exam is introduced in September, as well as continuing to be fully exempt from the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme under the current regime.

Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “I’m very pleased the close ties with our colleagues in the Republic of Ireland will continue, and would also like to thank the SRA for their support.

“English and Welsh solicitors were for many years able to requalify in Ireland without sitting any exam, but the direct admission route to the Irish profession was based on the framework for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications under the EU directives and therefore expired when the Brexit transition period ended on 31st December 2020.”

Notes to editors

The Irish government introduced a statutory instrument in early 2021 that enabled the Law Society of Ireland (LSI) to reinstate direct admission of English and Welsh solicitors subject to reciprocity.

The Law Society of England and Wales liaised with both the LSI and the SRA on the matter, stressing the importance of the automatic requalification path in Ireland for our members.

The SRA agreed to provide swift confirmation to the LSI on the treatment of Irish solicitors under the SQE, which in turn enabled the LSI education committee to confirm recognition of the English and Welsh qualification on a reciprocal basis during a meeting on Thursday last week.

The Law Society of England and Wales is continuing to support members with this and other Brexit-related issues.

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Press office contact: Ben Davies | 0208 049 3750

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