This is an examination for non-graduates held once a year, usually in March. The closing date for applications is normally six weeks before the examination and candidates must be at least 21 years old. The examination consists of the following papers:
- Irish Government and Politics
- General Knowledge
The pass mark in each paper is 50% and all three papers must be passed at one sitting in order to pass the examination. Candidates are allowed a maximum of 3 attempts.
Who is exempt from the Preliminary Examination?
University graduates from Ireland and the United Kingdom or holders of degrees (regardless of the discipline) awarded by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) are exempt from this examination. Holders of such degrees are not required to apply for exemption from the Preliminary Examination but they must provide a certified copy of their degree certificate when applying to sit the Final Examination - First Part.
(2) Foreign graduates
Holders of degrees from other universities may apply to the Education Committee for exemption from the Preliminary Examination. Such applications should be accompanied by a copy of the degree certificate, certified by a practising lawyer in the applicant's original jurisdiction, or a practising lawyer admitted in Ireland (Republic). The certificate must state that the copy is a true copy of the original and that the original has been produced to the person so certifying.
(3) Law Clerks and Legal Executives
Law clerks and legal executives can apply to the Education Committee for exemption from the Preliminary Examination if they:
- have at least five years experience and hold a diploma in Legal Studies, or an equivalent qualification, or
- have in excess of ten years experience (diploma in Legal Studies not required).
Such applications must include:
a certified copy of the Diploma in Legal Studies (where appropriate). The certificate must state that the copy is a true copy of the original and that the original has been produced to the person so certifying. Copies may be certified by a practising lawyer admitted in the Republic of Ireland.
evidence of having worked as a Law Clerk for a minimum of five years or an up-to- date curriculum vitae
references from two practising solicitors (outlining the work of the applicant)
a covering letter
Completed applications, together with a fee of €75 (cheque payable to Law Society of Ireland) should be sent to Paula Sheedy, Education Officer in the Law School.
(4) Holders of other qualifications
Holders of other qualifications may apply to the Education Committee for exemption on the basis of such qualifications.
Candidates are requested to present themselves for each examination at least 15 minutes before the start of each examination.