How to practise in the Republic of Ireland after the Brexit transition period

This information assumes that after the end of the Brexit transition period, the EU Lawyers Directives will no longer apply to UK solicitors or law firms, and that they will be treated as third-country lawyers and law firms.

The position may change depending on the outcome of the ongoing UK-EU negotiations.

Conditions for UK solicitors to practise under home title after the end of the transition period

There’s no foreign legal consultant (FLC) status in Ireland.

However, those without Irish legal qualifications (including non-EU lawyers) can carry out non-reserved legal services provided that they do not hold themselves out as or use the title of ‘Irish solicitor’. 

Non-EU lawyers may practise in Ireland under their home title (other than solicitor) in the law of their home country or public international law.

The Law Society of Ireland does not grant permission to provide or regulate the provision of non-reserved legal services provided by unqualified persons (including foreign lawyers).

There are no nationality, residency, reciprocity or exam requirements for English and Welsh solicitors to practise in this way.

Non-EU lawyers can:

  • practise under their home country title
  • practise the law of their home country
  • carry out non-reserved legal services
  • practise public international law
  • represent clients in arbitration, conciliation or mediation
  • enjoy legal privilege over correspondence with clients

Non-EU lawyers cannot:

  • use the title of solicitor
  • carry out reserved legal services including probate, litigation or conveyancing work
  • appear before the courts in Ireland

Requalifying as an Irish lawyer after the transition period

Solicitors qualified in England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland can apply (and pay a fee) for a Certificate of Admission to the Irish solicitor profession on the basis of their UK qualification.

Solicitors whose first place of qualification is England and Wales or Northern Ireland do not have to pass the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Test (QLTT). However, they do need to apply for a Certificate of Admission.

Solicitors of England and Wales whose first place of qualification is outside England and Wales or Northern Ireland and were admitted in England and Wales (or Northern Ireland) through the respective qualified lawyer transfer regimes must sit the QLTT, unless they have at least three years of post-qualification experience in England and Wales or Northern Ireland.

UK solicitors will continue to be able to requalify as Irish solicitors after the Brexit transition period following the same process in place now even if the UK and EU do not reach a future partnership agreement.

All UK nationals have a right under the Common Travel Area to live in Ireland.

Resources

Law Society of Ireland

If you have any questions, email our international team at international@lawsociety.org.uk.

The information above does not constitute legal advice. It was drafted by the Law Society of England and Wales on the basis of desk research, bilateral relations with European Bars and engagement with members.

The Law Society cannot be held liable for actions taken on the basis of this note or lack thereof. In case of specific queries, we strongly advise you to consider instructing external counsel to obtain advice specific to your business objectives.

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