Preliminary Examination

This is an examination for non-graduates held once a year, usually in February or March.

About the exam

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:

  • English 
  • 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. You are allowed a maximum of three attempts. See below for the syllabus and application form.

Application form and syllabus

Exemptions

If you hold one of the following qualifications you are exempt from the Preliminary Examination and can apply to sit the Final Examination – First Part (FE-1).

  • A qualification at Level 7 or higher on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
  • A degree (in any discipline) awarded by any university in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales. 
  • Diploma in Law, Law Society of Ireland. 
  • Diploma in Legal Studies, King’s Inns. 
  • Accountants certified by the following bodies as holding the following qualifications:
    • Associate of Chartered Accountants Ireland;
    • Associate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Ireland;
    • Associate of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland;
    • Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Ireland;
    • Associate of the Institute of Incorporated Public Accountants, Ireland;  
    • Member of the Institute of Accounting Technicians, Ireland.

International Qualifications

If you hold a degree awarded by a university in another country you may apply for exemption from the Preliminary Examination.  You will be required to provide evidence that your degree is equivalent to a Level 7 or higher award on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications. 

You can find information about the recognition of foreign qualifications in Ireland on the NAIRC Ireland database.

 Applications should be sent to Paula Sheedy and must include:

  • A certified copy of your degree certificate. The copy must be certified by a practising solicitor 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;
  • A certified copy of your passport; 
  • Application fee of €45 (cheque, postal order or bank draft) payable to the Law Society of Ireland.

Law Clerks and Legal Executives

Law clerks and legal executives with at least five years' experience can apply to the Law Society's Education Committee for exemption.

Applications must include:  

  • evidence of having worked as a Law Clerk/Legal Executive for a minimum of five years
  • An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae
  • references from two practising solicitors (outlining the work of the applicant), and
  • a covering letter.

Completed applications, together with a fee of €75 (cheque, postal order or bank draft  payable to Law Society of Ireland) should be sent to Paula Sheedy, Education Officer in the Law School. The Education Committee meets approximately 10 times annually - view  the latest committee schedule.

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