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

Dates for the 2018 sitting of the examination will be available in early November.

Exemptions

If you fall into one of the categories below, you may be entitled to an exemption from the Preliminary Examination. 

Graduates 

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.

Foreign graduates

Holders of degrees from other universities may apply for an 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.

Law Clerks and Legal Executives

Law clerks and legal executives can apply for exemption 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).

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 CV
  • references from two practising solicitors (outlining the work of the applicant), and
  • 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. The Education Committee meets approximately 10 times annually - view  the latest committee schedule.

Holders of other qualifications 

If you hold another qualification, you can apply to the Education Committee for exemption on the basis of such qualifications. Contact the Education Officer in the Law School, Paula Sheedy.