Non-Standing Committee Reports

The Council appoints non-standing committees where it believes that these can better assist the Society in carrying out its work.


These committees do not perform statutory functions. Click on the committee name below to view the relevant report.

Eamonn-Conlon.jpgThe Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee supports members in relation to ADR and promotes mediation, arbitration, and other ADR methods.

The committee is responsible for the Society’s panel of arbitrators, which can be found on the ADR Committee page of the Law Society's website.

Members who have experience as arbitrators and wish to be considered are invited to apply for membership of the panel. We are keen to enhance the panel’s diversity. Likewise, members who practise as mediators are invited to include their details on the ‘Find a Mediator’ page of the Society’s website. The committee has worked with the web-design team to create a new design for this search engine and awaits its launch in late 2023.

The committee promotes and contributes to ADR seminars, workshops, and other events. This year, committee members have participated in a wide range of events to inform and educate the profession, trainees, and the wider public. Some highlights include:

  • Co-sponsored the Arbitration Ireland Young Practitioners’ Seminar (November 2022) in conjunction with Dublin International Arbitration Day,

  • Collaborated with the Younger Members Committee to present a one-hour webinar, ‘Mediation from the practitioner’s perspective’ (December 2022),

  • Presented on mediation at the ‘Future of legal practice’ summit for PPC trainees (January 2023),

  • Hosted a side event (June 2023) as part of Dublin International Disputes Week. This panel discussion was titled ‘Effective management and deployment of methods of dispute resolution – Irish and international perspectives’.

The committee has continued to host experience-sharing workshops for members of the Law Society’s mediation and arbitration panels. In collaboration with the president, the committee organised separate hybrid round-table discussions for members of these panels. These well-received events provide panel members with an opportunity to meet to explore general issues of mutual interest arising from domestic practice.

The committee continues to represent the Society and the profession in engaging with stakeholders regarding the establishment of the Mediation Council under the Mediation Act 2017. Special thanks to vice-chair Liam Guidera for his stellar work in this regard.

The committee continues to work with Arbitration Ireland, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators – Irish Branch, and others to support the development of arbitration and adjudication practice in Ireland for domestic and international dispute resolution.

The committee hosted a visiting delegation from Croatia as part of a project aimed at reinforcing the system of court-annexed mediation in the Republic of Croatia. We also provided guidance to the Finnish Bar Association as part of their project looking at the use of mediation and ADR procedures in European countries. The Law Society’s appointees to the International Chamber of Commerce National Committee, Commission on ADR and Arbitration, and Court of Arbitration continue to represent the profession at an international level.

Finally, I wish to sincerely thank all committee members for their hard work this year. Special thanks is due to committee secretary John Lunney for his efficient management of the committee’s work.

Eamonn Conlon SC | Chair

Maire Cunningham.jpgThe Business Law Committee continues to be responsible for representing, informing, and assisting the profession on a broad range of business legal topics. It also reviews practical issues arising for solicitors in advising on corporate and commercial matters.

During the past year, the committee was very active with a number of submissions, including, most recently, a submission to the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment in relation to specific proposals to enhance the Companies Act 2014 and a submission on the Individual Accountability Framework (CP153).

During the year under review, the committee kept its guidance note on electronic signatures, electronic contracts, and other electronic transactions under review, in conjunction with work on a submission on the Electronic Commerce Act 2000 (and related legislation). Other key work related to anti-money-laundering issues that arise for the profession, as well as our clients, including issues relating to the EU (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Trusts) Regulations.

We held the Annual Business Law Conference in September 2022, including presentations on consumer law, competition law, ESG, and developments in company law. The presentations were excellent, reflecting the expertise of members of the committee across the various topics. The conference was well attended and feedback from attendees was justifiably positive.

We continue to represent the profession on the Company Law Reform Group, CRO Stakeholder Forum, and the CCBE Private Law and Company Law Committees.

In addition, the committee:

  • Made a submission to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) on draft guidelines relating to the Competition (Amendment) Act 2022,

  • Produced a guidance note on the CCPC’s choice of enforcement regime for breaches of competition law,

  • Made a submission on the CCPC consultation on the revision of the Verticals Declaration,

  • Made a submission to the Law Reform Commission concerning its proposals for the reform of the law relating to unincorporated associations,

  • Completed a submission on issues arising from the transposition of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive into Irish law,

  • Liaised with, and submitted a letter of support for submission to, the Irish Dematerialisation Committee on the implementation of Central Securities Depositories Regulation,

  • Continued our engagement with the Companies Registration Office on issues arising in practice, and also in relation to the closure of its public office,

  • In response to issues raised by solicitors, is in the process of preparing a practice note on dealing with requests to certify beneficial ownership of corporate clients, which will be published in due course.

I am very grateful to committee vice- chair Eleanor Daly and committee secretary Freda Grealy for their work, support, and commitment to the committee. I take this opportunity to thank Joanne Cox, our previous secretary, for her unstinting support over the previous 15 years. I wish to thank all members of the committee for their generosity in sharing their expertise and experience with the profession, and for the time they dedicate to the work of the committee. This goes way beyond attending committee meetings and includes researching issues, preparing submissions, dealing with matters in subcommittees, as well as liaising with colleagues and other committees.

Máire Cunningham | Chair

Michael-Walsh.jpgThe Conveyancing Committee has had another extremely busy and productive year, with much progress being made on many of the committee’s agenda items.

Throughout 2023, committee meetings have been hosted monthly in a hybrid manner, with members attending either online or in person. Attendance at these committee meetings has been excellent, and engagement on all of the agenda items has been positive and enthusiastic. The long-standing outgoing secretary, Catherine O’Flaherty, retired from the Law Society in early 2022 and, for much of that year, the work of the committee was supported variously by a number of people, including Catherine for a period of some weeks up to December 2022. The current secretary, Deborah Leonard, took up the position on 12 December 2022.

The committee’s primary focus for 2023 is conveyancing-practice reform. It continues to work on the Master Submission for 2023, which concentrates on law reform concerning the Draft Planning and Development Bill 2022the status of contract deposit (Protim Abrasives case), the Statute of Limitations, the area of statutory declarations and statements of truth in conveyancing, the Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014, property taxes, and electronic signatures and the electronic exchange of contracts for sale.

Finally, there has been engagement by the committee with the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) on the issuing of letters regarding the status of roads and services abutting properties in sale. The vice-chair continues to liaise with the LGMA with a view to streamlining the process for solicitors, and there has also been engagement with Dublin City Council in this regard, which has indicated a willingness to run a pilot project. The aim of the committee is that reliable information regarding the ‘in-charge’ status of roads and services will be made available online in a format that can be relied upon. It is hoped that all of this reform will lead to a much more seamless experience for the consumer when buying and selling property.

There continues to be ongoing meaningful engagement with the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCSI) with a view to publishing a joint guide to selling or purchasing a home, so that consumers are encouraged to instruct their solicitors regarding a property transaction earlier than they might have in the past, with a view to improving the timeline from the date of ‘sale agreed’ to the date that land contracts and copy title are issued to the buyer. This early engagement would speed up the transaction timeline. The outcome of this collaborative approach with SCSI could lead to positive public engagement through the media, and the committee secretary is liaising with the Law Society in this regard. A key area of reform for the committee continues to be the role of lenders in the conveyancing process.

The committee is aware of the various bulk transfers of mortgages by lenders in late 2022 and early 2023, particularly the transfer of mortgage loans from KBC Ireland to Bank of Ireland Mortgage Bank and from Ulster Bank to Permanent TSB. This has created substantial difficulty for consumers and our members in identifying where their title deeds are held after the transfer, and also some difficulty regarding the redemption of their mortgage loans on a sale. The committee receives a wide variety of queries with regard to these transfers, and the secretary continues to deal with these queries, as and when they arise.

Aside from the difficulties experienced by members regarding these bulk transfers, members continue to experience long delays in relation to taking up title deeds, difficulties regarding stage payments to borrowers and the redemption of loans, onerous loan-offer conditions, and other non-legal requirements that lenders continue to attempt to foist on solicitors. The committee has been monitoring each lender’s compliance with the Certificate of Title system and has had multiple meetings with lenders regarding the various difficulties experienced by members. The committee has admitted Avant to the Certificate of Title system in Q1 2023, and admitted Finance Ireland in Q2, which is a positive outcome for the public and the consumer. We continue to address the various issues being experienced by members on a daily basis. While, on the whole, engagement with the various lenders has proven positive, the committee believes that law reform may be needed to compel lenders to invest in their systems and practices for their outgoing customers. The delays in this regard can often lead to delays of weeks and, in some cases, months before solicitors can prepare conditions of sale and copy title for properties in sale.

Throughout 2023, the Building Agreement Task Force continued its work in undertaking a full review of the building agreement for new homes. This task force aims to publish a combined contract for sale and building agreement for a new- home sale in a typical residential estate. This work is nearing completion and it is hoped that a new revised template will be available by Q4. This should prove very useful for practitioners as the sale in the new- homes market continues to increase.

The committee is close to completing its review of the 2019 General Conditions of Sale, and it is hoped that the revised 2023 General Conditions shall be available by the end of Q3.

This is the first full review of the conditions since the 2019 conditions were launched, which changed conveyancing to a pre-contract investigation-of-title system. This may provide for the digital execution and exchange of contracts for sale, and it introduces a new condition dealing with data protection. It also places the obligation on a vendor to provide a Land Registry map in a sale of a part folio on a contractual footing whereas, previously, a purchaser would have been relying on the Requisitions on Title in this regard. The committee hopes that the amendments to the 2019 General Conditions shall reflect changes to market practices experienced by practitioners. A revised note of sample special conditions shall accompany the 2023 General Conditions and there shall be a detailed explanatory memorandum outlining the changes to the profession, which should be very welcome.

A significant volume of work was completed by the Landlord and Tenant Task Force with regard to the green lease clauses, which are now published on the Law Society’s website. This was the end result of much engagement between the task force members and the Chancery Lane Project Group. The committee previously published a specimen rent-review provision in a lease that was particularly well received.

Throughout 2023, there was much meaningful engagement between various members of the Land Registry Task Force and Tailte Éireann, and the committee secretary attended the official opening of Tailte Éireann in March 2023. The judgment in BOIMB v Hade prompted many queries to the committee, which responded in a timely manner with an urgent guidance note to the profession published in the June 2023 Gazette, and again in the eZine, to prompt further engagement by members with the committee secretary. This judgment led to the Land Registry effectively placing a ‘hold’ on all applications for registration of all receiver-related transfers, creating much uncertainty for the profession. Engagement with Tailte Éireann remains ongoing.

With regard to other applications for registration in Tailte Éireann, the committee continues to be concerned with the delays being experienced by members with applications for registrations, particularly in first registrations or registrations involving a transfer of part of a folio where mapping is required. Many applications are taking several years to complete, and thus increasing costs and risks for many practitioners and their clients. Following engagement with Tailte Éireann, the committee has been advised that Tailte Éireann has made the reduction of this backlog a priority throughout 2023 – the committee continues to monitor the situation.

Two committee members have taken responsibility for the complete updating of all Family Home Protection Act declarations to take into account the 2019 act, and are continuing to liaise with a number of members from the Law Society’s Family and Child Law Committee in respect of same. The full suite of new declarations should be available for practitioners in Q4 2023.

There is much work ongoing between members of the Conveyancing Committee and members of the Business Law Committee regarding the ongoing work on the area of electronic signatures. The Conveyancing Committee continues its engagement with members of the Technology Committee and the Business Law Committee in this regard.

The committee’s proposed submission on the Planning and Development Bill 2022 involved considerable productive consultation with members of the Environmental and Planning Law Committee insofar as it relates to conveyancing practice.

In addition to all of the above, substantial work has been completed in the area of property taxes, with almost monthly engagement by the committee with Revenue on various topics, such as Local Property Tax (LPT), Vacant Home Tax, and Residential Zoned Land Tax. A practice note regarding LPT is due to be published soon as a result of engagement with Revenue, and the committee continues to enjoy a very collaborative relationship with the Revenue Commissioners. In light of these additional taxes and other changes in law, the committee has re- established its task force to refresh the Requisitions on Title.

Alongside the above activities, the committee continued to deal with a high volume of day-to-day practice queries from conveyancing solicitors.

The committee’s telephone and email helpline, run by the committee secretary ( dealt with approximately two to three queries each day. 

Between January and June 2023, there were 35 new written queries for consideration at the committee’s monthly meetings, along with a rolling agenda of almost 50 ongoing topics. Considerable effort continues to be made to move and settle many agenda items. The committee also uses a project tracker to monitor progress on various issues.

Between January and June 2023, three new practice notes were issued, with another three almost ready for publication. There was one ‘reminder note’ in respect of accountable trust receipts (ATRs) issued, and one guidance note regarding the Hade v BOIMB matter.

The committee is also focusing on the publication of a number of articles on cybercrime in the Gazette during 2023. While these articles are not limited to the area of conveyancing, they have been very well received by members since the publication of the first cover-story article in June 2023. The committee secretary continues to liaise with Tanya Moeller and Nicola Kiely regarding the publication of five more articles before the end of Q4 2023. These articles focus on the growing awareness among members of cybercrime and provide information on how to avoid cyber- security breaches.

Our Annual Property Law Conference in October will update the profession on the various practice notes that have issued this year, the Master Submission to Government, and the 2023 General Conditions of Sale. The committee aims also to provide an insight into the updates on landlord- and-tenant law since the end of 2022 and is continuing to work on the conference agenda.

Renewed thanks are due to all committee members, consultants, and vice-chair Eleanor McKiernan, who continues the work of the committee.

Michael Walsh | Chair

John-Odoherty.jpgThe Criminal Law Committee has had a busy and productive year. It provided contributions to the Oireachtas and the Department of Justice and Equality, with submissions made to inform decision-making, including to the Criminal Legal Aid Oversight Committee on the draft general scheme of the Criminal Legal Aid Bill 2022.

The committee hosted a two-day conference titled ‘Police Custody in Ireland’, together with Dublin City University. The conference brought together national and international experts on police custody from academia, practice, and policy- oriented roles. It was a great success, with several hundred participants attending.

The committee has continued to engage with the Department of Justice and Equality in relation to the restoration of fees for legal aid. Members met with the department in relation to payment of fees for review of disclosure, outlining clearly the position of the defence solicitor.

The ‘Find a Garda Station Solicitor’ web resource, in collaboration with An Garda Síochána, is up and running. Flyers and posters have been distributed to garda stations on how to help someone being detained to find a solicitor. Our annual conference is due to take place later in the year.

John O’Doherty | Chair

Susan-Martin.jpgThe mission of the Law Society’s Law School and Diploma Centre is to enable solicitors to provide excellence in legal services to the public. The Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) oversees that objective. The committee membership includes solicitors from firms of all sizes, in- house solicitors, the Law Society, and academics.

The committee meets with the teams running the professional practice course (PPC), as well as those providing diplomas, certificates, and continuing professional development. It reviews curricula and materials furnished to students of the Law School to ensure that the courses offered at every level are at the highest possible standard.

The CDU suggests improvements for existing courses and topics for new courses and, if considered appropriate, adoption by the Law School through the Education Committee.

We considered proposals in relation to the following courses that feature on the new fused PPC:

  • Dispute Resolution,

  • ‘Psychology of a Lawyer’ (now known as ‘the Complete Lawyer’),

  • Legal Practice Irish,

  • Skills, and

  • Taxation

Members were also briefed in September 2022 on the early operation of the new fused PPC and the system that would apply in respect of advanced electives.

In addition, we received an update in relation to the Law Society Access Scholarship Programme and reviewed approval documentation pertaining to a large volume of advanced electives that would commence after trainees completed the core curriculum. Courses approved included:

  • Commercial and Complex Property Transactions,

  • Banking and Finance,

  • Corporate Transactions,

  • Employment Law,

  • Insolvency,

  • International Business Negotiations,

  • Criminal Litigation, and

  • Human

Reports were obtained in relation to Law Society Professional Training and Skillnet, as well as the Diploma Centre, while members received updates on the LLM and professional doctoral programmes offered by the Law Society. In addition, initiatives undertaken in the context of in-office training and innovation, as well as outreach, were highlighted. We also considered a report on the PPC Hybrid and monitored developments in England and Wales in the

context of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. Finally, the operation of the Applied Land Law and the Complete Lawyer courses on the new fused PPC was reviewed.

Thanks to each committee member for their attendance, careful thought, and analysis provided during the year, and to all the managers and tutors of the Society’s Law School, CPD, and Diploma Centre.

Susan Martin | Chair

Barry-Walsh.jpgThe Employment and Equality Law Committee has provided a strong voice in policy debate in order to inform decision-making, for example, by providing observations on the need for further clarity on the Gender Pay Gap Information Regulations 2022.

The committee continued to keep the experiences of practitioners attending before the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) under review during this period. As with last year, a stakeholder meeting was again held with senior representatives from the WRC in March 2023. This was a positive and productive meeting, where the committee put forward issues identified by practitioners in their engagements with the adjudication and administrative sections of the WRC. The commission also updated the committee on upcoming developments in the area. An open line of communication was further strengthened to enable the continuation of discussions on any issues that arise. The possibility of a further practice note to practitioners or a Gazette article is under consideration.

The Employment and Equality Law Committee joined the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee in making observations to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission in July 2023 on a code of practice on the nature and extent of an employer’s obligations to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities.

In November 2022, committee members presented a webinar for practitioners on a variety of topical legal issues, including gender pay-gap reporting, redundancy procedures, and protected disclosures.

Among the committee’s highlights during the year were:

  • A significant contribution to the Law Society’s submission on the review of the Civil Legal Aid Scheme (January 2023),

  • A constructive stakeholder meeting with the WRC’s senior leadership team in March 2023, and

  • A significant contribution to the Law Society’s submission in response to the consultation process by the WRC on the development of a Code of Practice on the Right to Request Remote Working (June 2023).

Barry Walsh | Chair

Rachel-Minch.jpgFollowing the recommendations of the Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce, the Law Society’s Council approved the establishment of a permanent non-standing committee to support solicitors practising in the area of planning and environmental law. The committee hosted a very successful hybrid launch event in March 2023 at Blackhall Place and was joined by guest speaker Ms Justice Nuala Butler of the Court of Appeal.

A key role of the committee is monitoring developments in relation to law reform or legislative proposals in the area of environmental and planning law. The committee’s main focus is on pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Planning and Development Law Bill 2022. Of particular interest are provisions concerning access to justice, primarily in the areas of judicial review and costs.

In March 2023, committee members appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government, and Heritage regarding the draft bill. Committee chair Rachel MinchSC delivered the opening statement and was accompanied by vice-chair Conor Linehan SC and committee member Nap Keeling. The committee continues to monitor the draft bill and is currently reviewing the pre-legislative scrutiny report published by the Joint Oireachtas Committee in May 2023.

In May 2023, vice-chair Conor Linehan SC contributed to an International Bar Association round-table discussion, the aim of which was to facilitate discussion among law-association leaders on how their organisations can take action on climate change. In June, the vice-chair also contributed to a panel discussion on ‘Law, lawyers and the climate emergency’, which was hosted by the Climate Bar Association.

The committee is currently finalising plans for its conference on ‘Climate Justice and the Legal Practitioner’, which will take place in October 2023.

Also among the committee’s highlights during the year under review were contributing to the Irish Planning Institute’s summer conference on the draft Planning and Development Bill and making

a submission on the proposed Corporate Sustainability and Due Diligence Directive to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment.

Rachel Minch Sc | Chair

Ross-McMahon.jpgIn line with the Law Society’s strategic objective of representing the profession, the EU and International Affairs Committee continues to foster strategic links with other professional bodies, inside and outside Europe.

These relationships allow for the fruitful exchange of ideas on recent legal developments – most notably those affecting governance of the legal profession.

The year 2022 was a landmark in terms of the Society’s participation in the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE). It saw James MacGuill SC (past-president of the Law Society) serve as the third Irish president. His tenure was marked by the consequences for Ukrainian colleagues of the Russian invasion. The committee provides Cormac Little SC as the Society’s representative on the Irish delegation to the CCBE.

Relations with legal professions in other EU member states are maintained through annual engagement with the Brussels-based representatives of European bar associations. The most recent of these ‘round tables’ occurred in Brussels in November 2022.

The committee continues to liaise with its counterparts in the Paris Bar regarding the Stage programme, whereby an Irish solicitor may gain work experience in a Parisian law firm. This programme, dormant due to the pandemic, was relaunched in April 2023.

Building on the formal relationship established in 2020 with the California Lawyers’ Association (CLA), the committee and the CLA organised a webinar on human rights and trade law in December 2022.

In May 2023, the decision was taken to participate in HELP (Human-rights Education for Legal Professionals) in conjunction with the Council of Europe – this is a free online course on European rules on human rights.

The committee organised other successful events, including: 

  • A competition-law and sports webinar in November 2022. One of the speakers was Ian Forrester, former UK judge at the EU’s General Court.

  • The ‘Comparisons between the Irish and Indian Constitutions’ seminar in May 2023. A key contributor was the Indian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Akhilesh Mishra.

  • A seminar on ‘Challenges to the Rule of Law in the EU’, also in May 2023. The keynote speaker was Michael O’Flaherty (director, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights).

Committee members contributed articles to the ‘Eurlegal’ section of the Gazette on various key developments in EU and international law.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to all members of the committee for their hard work and valuable contributions, to our secretary Megan Murphy Byrne, and to her predecessor Deirdre Flynn for their excellent support and enthusiasm.

Ross McMahon | Chair

Peter-Doyle.jpgThe Family and Child Law Committee has had a very active year. We are a committee of 23 members, with varied experience in all areas of child and family law. Many of our committee members are also on a number of external committees, including Courts Service groups, civil legal aid and a European lawyers’ group, and have been invited to participate in forums relating to the development of family law into the future.

We have again provided a strong voice in the policy debate in the area of family-law reform. A large amount of family-law legislation is making its way through both houses of the Oireachtas, with the result that the committee has been busy commenting on the legislation, not least of all the Family Courts Bill.

The committee worked on a number of projects during the year, including the successful Family Law Conferences at the end of 2022 and in July 2023. The July 2023 conference focused on the Family Courts Bill, with a large number of eminent British judges speaking and varied stakeholders attending.

Committee members contributed a number of articles and guidance notes to the Gazette. Members have also contributed to CPD seminars and Law School programmes.

The committee is also reviewing how family-law work could be harmonised in the District Court. It has been instrumental, too, in seeking amended legislation to deal with the current anomaly on pension adjustment orders, in conjunction with the Law Society’s Pensions Committee. We continue to identify issues with regards to section 32 and 47 reporting guidelines, and hope to put forward further information later this year.

The committee is also examining the Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2023 and continues to seek changes to the civil legal-aid system, among many other items of interest to family-law practitioners.

Our committee is a very active committee. I would like to thank our exceptionally hard-working and enthusiastic members for their work and support during the year, in particular Judge Geoffrey Shannon SC, my predecessor Helen Coughlan, my vice-chair, Siún Hurley, and our dedicated secretary Judith Tedders.

Peter Doyle | Chair

Aisling-Meehan.jpgThe Gazette remains the most popular communications channel for members of the solicitors’ profession, as verified by the most recent findings of the Law Society’s survey of its members.

The monthly magazine, daily news service, and the weekly Gazette Digest comprise the most important media channels for solicitors. They allow our members to stay informed on essential legal news and developments. The multi-award- winning magazine and the online daily news service regularly surpass national media outlets with their timely and comprehensive coverage of significant legal news and analysis. Our emphasis on legislative change is a priority information service, and we continue to focus strongly on this vital support to members.

The circulation of the Gazette magazine and readership of continue to grow. While the magazine remains as popular as ever, also continues to enjoy a strong and loyal readership base. A total of 357,505 visitors clicked on the site in the year under review (1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023), with 520,102 sessions recorded and individual page-views of 1,087,053.

 In all, there were 10,046 downloads of the Gazette magazine in PDF format.

The Gazette takes its green credentials seriously. It has been an innovator in this field and uses carbon-balanced and FSC-certified paper from sustainable, ecologically managed forests. Its inks and varnish are environmentally friendly, and it was the first magazine in the country to use a 100% compostable bio-wrap.

We welcomed six new members to the Gazette Editorial Board during the year under review. I am very grateful to all of my colleagues for their dedication, commitment, and valuable contributions. I also wish to express my sincere thanks to our previous board members for their years of generous service. Finally, congratulations to the Gazette team for its constant emphasis on editorial and production excellence.

Our main goal is to ensure that the Gazette remains highly relevant to the profession, and that its unique legal content meets the needs of our members via its suite of media channels.

Readers – top five countries:

  • Ireland: 91%

  • UK: 46%

  • United States: 77%

  • India: 5%

  • Germany: 96%

How readers access the Gazette online:

  • Mobile: 73%

  • Desktop: 67%

  • Tablet: 59%

Aisling Meehan | Chair

Robert-Baker.jpgIt has been another busy year for the Guidance and Ethics Committee. The most significant achievement of the previous committee year was that, in September 2022, the President of the High Court launched the updated Solicitor’s Guide to Professional Conduct (fourth edition). This publication is an essential resource for solicitors, carefully providing guidance on a broad range of practice matters without making new rules or imposing new obligations.

The committee undertook a project to distribute one copy of the guide to each firm, resulting in over 3,000 copies issuing to firms across the country. The committee also ensures that the guide is accessible to the profession in a variety of ways – hard copies were sent to every solicitor who requested it, while an online PDF version is available to download from the Law Society’s website, together with an additional online resource that allows solicitors to view reference material, chapter-by-chapter. The committee also distributed an additional 38 copies through the opt- in option on the webpage. All of these resource tools are made available through the Guidance and Ethics Committee’s webpage. Special thanks goes to the committee’s task force for steering this project to completion, chaired by Justine Carty.

Separately, committee members have demonstrated great willingness and enthusiasm for delivering presentations at many speaking events throughout the year. The topics of these talks have been broad and varied, and have included ethics and professional conduct, legal privilege, undertakings, conflict of interest, technology, artificial intelligence, and the future of ethics. The target audiences of these presentations have been as varied as the topics themselves, which have been presented as part of the Law Society’s lunchtime information seminar series, the PPC hybrid course, the Legal Services Excellence Course, and the LSPT CPD Skillnet cluster events, in addition to talks and presentations delivered to solicitor firms directly in their offices, bar associations throughout the country, and to visiting members of the Chicago Bar Association.

By extension, the committee continues to support the profession through the Guidance and Ethics Helpline, where members of the profession can seek guidance either by phone or in writing. Typical queries range from practice- management issues, transferring files, exercising a lien over a client file, and potential conflict-of-interest scenarios. The committee also published an article in the Gazette promoting the Solicitor’s Guide to Professional Conduct, emphasising its importance.

In addition to the above activities, we have worked on a number of practice and guidance notes, often involving cross-departmental and cross-committee collaboration.

Topics have included ‘Drafting wills for elderly clients’ (with the Probate, Administration and Trusts Committee) and ‘Principal and agent’ (with the Business Law Committee). The committee also assisted the In- House and Public Sector Committee with its invaluable Guide for In-house Solicitors Employed in the Corporate and Public Sectors, as well as publishing an article in the Gazette on ethics for solicitors in the full-time service of the State.

Trainee solicitors also benefit from the work of the committee, as committee members not only provide lectures and tutorials to the PPC courses, but also assist in the drafting of problem questions for trainee examinations.

Finally, we continue to support the work of the Panel to Assist Solicitors in Regulatory Difficulty, details of which are available on the committee page’s ‘Resources’ section. The panel comprises a network of practitioners spread throughout the country who assist colleagues who encounter regulatory difficulty. The initial consultation is provided free of charge by these practitioners, and is viewed by the committee as a very important (and often underrated) resource. In recognition of the time and expertise provided by the panel, the committee organised and hosted an afternoon series of regulatory CPD lectures, providing an opportunity for a diverse group of practitioners to meet, discuss common issues and concerns – all while learning and earning much-valued regulatory points. We propose to hold this CPD afternoon series on an annual basis.

The committee also maintains and updates the online ‘Get a Quote’ forum, which provides the public with access to a list of participating solicitors through an online platform, also available on the Law Society’s website. There are currently 407 firms participating in the forum.

Robert Baker | Chair

Gary-Lee.jpgOver the last year, the Human Rights and Equality Committee has continued its work in promoting human rights, access to justice, and the rule of law among members of the profession and the public. The committee significantly increased its level of outreach in 2022/23, with the reintroduction of the Human Rights Student Competition, the Human Rights Video Series, and by hosting its first in-person Human Rights Conference since the onset of Covid-19. The Law Society maintains representation at the Access to Justice Committee and the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) through committee chair Gary Lee.

The 20th Annual Human Rights Conference took place, in-person, in November 2022, hosting expert speakers to explore the issue of bullying, harassment, and sexual harassment in the workplace.

The conference was developed in response to findings from the Dignity Matters report, as the committee sought to provide practical information to participants on how to deal with such issues when they arise in the workplace. The committee also developed a booklet that contains the speakers’ papers, presentations, and observations from the conference.

The committee held its 18th Annual Human Rights Lecture in June 2023, delivered by Judge Ginger Lerner Wren, county court judge of the Misdemeanour Mental Health Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida, to speak about her experience as presiding judge of America’s first Mental Health Court.

Following the reintroduction of an elective PPC human-rights module, the committee established an information campaign encouraging students to consider a career in human-rights law. This included publishing an article in the Gazette and releasing a series of videos on social media, interviewing members of the committee on their experiences as human-rights lawyers. Interviewees included Cristina Stamatescu, Ashimedua Okonkwo, Orla Crowe and Gary Lee.

The committee worked on a number of submissions covering a range of different issues, including the review of the Civil Legal Aid Scheme; the referendum on family, care and gender equality; and the review of the Freedom of Information Act. The committee has also raised concerns with the Minister for Justice regarding changes to the International Protection Office process and issues around access to justice for asylum seekers.

The chair and vice-chair of the committee continued to engage in constructive meetings with the European Commission Representation in Ireland to provide valuable input for the commission’s annual Rule of Law Report. The committee regularly provides submissions to the CCBE on issues affecting members of the legal profession in Ireland.

Gary Lee | Chair

Caroline-Dee-Brown.jpgOn 12 October 2022, the committee held its annual conference entitled ‘ESG – why it is important for in-house lawyers, and the post- pandemic employment shift’, as covered in the Gazette (Jan/Feb 2023).

On 10 May 2023, the committee held its annual panel discussion as an in-person event at Blackhall Place, titled: ‘The ‘S’ in ESG – implications for in-house solicitors’ (see Gazette, June 2023).

The committee completed its extensive update of the 2018 Guide for In-house Solicitors Employed in the Corporate and Public Sectors. The 2023 guide provides both prospective and existing in-house solicitors with key information. On 10 May 2023, the updated guide was launched by Law Society President Maura Derivan (Gazette, May 2023). It is available on the Society’s website as an interactive PDF with links, and in a fully digital format.

The committee continued to liaise with the Gazette regarding the inclusion of content relevant to in- house solicitors in the private and public sectors. Michael Barrett is the committee’s liaison on the Gazette Editorial Board.

The monthly In-house Update continued to be published on the Society’s website and in the members’ eZine. It includes news, Law Society resources, and training for in-house solicitors in the private and public sectors.

On 14 June 2023, the committee made a submission on the Law Society of Ireland Strategy 2024. The Society had the foresight to convene the committee a number of years ago to support and promote the interests of the in-house and public sector community from within the Law Society. The committee has had many successes to date and looks forward to many more. It is supportive of the approach being taken to the Law Society’s Strategy 2024, and its submission contributes to this initiative, particularly at this time of significant and rapid change in our profession. The submission has suggested new activities and, regarding some activities already in operation, the committee has identified beneficial enhancements.

We are liaising with representatives from the Business Law Committee to consider whether updated guidance should be proposed regarding section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011.

I continued to represent the Society at general assemblies of the European Company Lawyers’ Association (ECLA). Committee members provide the in-house perspective to the Law Society’s Professional Wellbeing Steering Group and to the Ireland for Law Steering Group.

The annual conference took place on 12 October 2023 on topics including ESG and artificial intelligence.

Committee members continue to publish posts to the Society’s In-house LinkedIn Group, a useful resource for in-house solicitors. With over 650 members and growing, the group generates useful interaction, and is used to broadcast information rather than being a discussion forum. The committee continues to explore ways in which to optimise use of the group.

The committee’s section of the Society’s website, providing key information about the committee and its work, is continuously kept up-to-date.

I wish to thank all committee members for their contributions this year, with special thanks to Alison Bradshaw (vice-chair) and secretary Louise Campbell.

Caroline Dee Browne | Chair

Joe-OMalley.jpgThe committee has continued to engage on many significant issues, including:

We are delighted to note the following appointments of new committee members for this term: Shane Coyle, Maeve Delargy, Graham Kenny, Sonya Lanigan, Aidan Leahy, Brian McMullin, Susan Martin, Michele O’Boyle SC, and Marcin Szulc. We salute former members Michael Boylan and Amy Bradley, who retired at the commencement of this term after a long and committed engagement on the committee.

I wish to thank every member of the committee for their generous contributions this year. In particular, our vice-chair Ann McGarry has made an enormous contribution to the committee’s work. Our committee secretaries Michelle Flynn and Sara Van den Bergh have ensured that we met our objectives and deadlines and provided excellent assistance throughout the year. A specific mention goes to Karen McDonnell for her diligent work on all matters relating to the Courts Service and in keeping us abreast of current issues and developments.

Joe O’Malley | Chair

Anne-Stephenson.jpgThe Probate, Administration and Trusts Committee had another busy year, dealing with the introduction of the new regime for the registration of trusts (CRBOT), dealing with tax clearances in the administration of estates, and the new online regime for enduring powers of attorney (EPAs).

While the committee welcomed the introduction of the new regime in obtaining Revenue clearance in death cases, we continue to engage with Revenue over the perceived necessity to obtain a TAIN number when acting for the legal personal representatives and/or beneficiaries in this regard.

The long-awaited coming into force of the Assisted Decision- Making (Capacity) Act 2015 after the enactment of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Amendment Act 2022 was welcomed by the committee, but serious issues remain in relation to the unheralded online-only regime for the execution and registration of enduring powers of attorney.

The committee, along with our colleagues on the Mental Health Law and Capacity Task Force, continues to engage with the Decision Support Service and, while some progress has been made, we will continue to lobby for a solicitors’ portal for the execution and registration of EPAs.

The committee continues to engage with the Probate Officer and her staff, and posted an eZine article outlining the seven most common reasons for rejection of applications for grants. In addition, committee members continue to speak at Law Society and other online events and seminars.

The committee welcomes the change of practice in the Probate Office whereby email queries can be answered without an application being rejected and having to be resubmitted.

The high rejection rate for probate applications and the knock-on effect on waiting times continues to be a concern for the committee, and we will continue to work with the Probate Office and others to improve outcomes for solicitors in this regard. We will continue to lobby for the reopening of the Seat Office, so that solicitors can attend in person to have their applications checked.

The committee welcomed the new Solicitors Accounts Regulations, particularly the removal of the necessity for solicitor executors or trustees to open trust accounts. Difficulties in opening trust accounts for trustees continues to be a concern.

As usual, the committee provided guidance to colleagues on areas of the law and practice as they relate to probate and trusts, and provided specific guidance in relation to best practice, both through the eZine and to colleagues individually. We continue to lobby for an increase in 

Probate Office staff, the continuation of the District Probate Registries, greater technical support for the Probate Office, a review of the CAT ROS system in order to remove ongoing technical difficulties, and to ensure that solicitors have access to the relevant information they need in order to provide this to their clients. In particular, we believe that elements of the online form SA 2, replacing as it did the Inland Revenue Affidavit, are redundant and, in particular, all necessary information in relation to beneficiaries should be supplied by beneficiaries directly to Revenue.

My thanks to committee secretary Padraic Courtney and all the committee members for their hard work over the year.

Anne Stephenson | Chair

Sonia-McEntee.jpgThe Public Relations and Member Services Committee works with the director of representation and member services and the Representation and Member Services Department on key communications projects that represent the interests of the solicitors’ profession and the public.

Continuing the trend of recent years, interest in the Justice Media Awards again hit new heights, with a record- breaking 340 entries received from national and local media from across the country. A highlight of the Law Society’s year, the awards recognise outstanding print, broadcast, and online journalism that contributes to the public’s understanding of justice, the legal system, and legal issues.

More than 120 of Ireland’s leading journalists attended the awards ceremony at Blackhall Place in June, with 43 awards presented across 15 categories. The overall winner for 2023 was Michael Doyle of The Irish Sun for his reporting of the Gerry Hutch trial.

With the continued increase in numbers, the judging panel has been expanded to 12 members. To maintain the integrity of the awards, every judge participates in selecting the winners in each category. This requires a significant time commitment over a very short period, and I wish to extend my thanks to all of the judges for their time and engagement.

The annual Communications Day took place online on 26 October 2022, with over 400 attending. This event focused on effective media and digital-communications skills, with contributions from several of Ireland’s top journalists.

Committee meetings continued online during 2022/23. The format works well and will continue largely in this way. Other business of note includes developing a panel of speakers so that any media opportunities can be fully availed of, and increased advance planning on topical items on which the Law Society could reasonably be expected to comment.

As chair of the committee, I have participated in several additional meetings in developing the PR and reputational strategy for the Law Society, which will bring opportunities for fresh engagement and projects for the committee in the coming years.

I would like to thank members of the committee for their dedication, engagement, and contributions to the work of the committee, the profession, and the Law Society this year. I look forward to continuing this work for and on behalf of colleagues, and the public interest we proudly serve, in 2023/24.

Sonia McEntee | Chair

Andrew-Quinn.jpgThe Taxation Committee has had another busy year representing the Society and its members in its engagement with the Revenue Commissioners and other stakeholders. Committee members actively participate in the Tax Administration Liaison Committee (TALC) and its relevant subcommittees that deal with direct taxes, indirect taxes, capital taxes, audit, tax technical, collection-tax issues, base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), KDB, R&D, and the Leasing Working Group. The committee is also represented on the CCBE Taxation Group, the Business Tax Stakeholder Forum, and the Letters of No Audit sub-group.

The committee also reviewed, to the extent appropriate, and commented on the provisions of the Finance Act 2023 as it passed through the legislative process, and summarised its relevant consequences in the annual Tax Guide published and distributed to members.

We made numerous submissions to Revenue, both via the TALC forum and directly to Revenue/the Department of Finance in respect of issues concerning practitioners. The committee prepared a pre-budget submission, which was submitted to the Minister for Finance and other relevant Government departments. The commitment of committee members in this regard is acknowledged, as the time commitment has been considerable in light of the continually changing fiscal environment.

The committee continues to provide updates to the profession via practice notes and an annual conference (in collaboration with the Probate, Administration and Trusts Committee and STEP) on changes to tax legislation and Revenue practice and procedures. The committee responds to the taxation queries raised by members and other Law Society committees throughout the year.

I have been ably assisted in my role by the committee’s secretary, Dr Rachael Hession, and I thank her for her support and assistance throughout the year. My thanks also to vice-chair Maura Dineen and committee members for their commitment and contributions throughout the year.

Andrew Quinn | Chair

Peter-McKenna.jpgThe Technology Committee aims to help Law Society members as they navigate the ever-evolving technology landscape in the operation of their legal practice from a systems, regulatory, and accessibility perspective, and to give members the confidence and competence to integrate and use technology in everyday practice, doing so in a practical and sustainable way for the overall benefit of colleagues, clients, and business.

The committee’s agenda in the year under review incorporated raising awareness on cybersecurity, dealing with the Courts Service digital transformation agenda and other agencies, providing guidance and oversight on the implementation of eVoting and eNominations for Council elections, and providing insight, where appropriate, to members on technological issues via the Gazette and other publications.

With cybersecurity a burning issue within the profession, the committee oversaw an update to the Law Society’s online resources, and has contributed to a series of Gazette articles (beginning June 2023) on practical cybersecurity issues that members of the profession may encounter. We are also working closely with Law Society Skillnet to roll out useful training in this space.

The implementation of an e-voting solution for Council elections continues to progress. While no Council election took place in 2022, the system was used very successfully for a co-option election conducted by the Council during the year under review. Following updates to the bye-laws approved by the profession, the committee is working with the relevant Law Society staff on a solution for online nominations, bringing the entire Council election process online.

As technology evolves and is adopted by key agencies, the committee aims to provide responsive representation of, and information to, the profession. In addition to its formal representation on stakeholder groups formed by the Courts Service, the committee has provided direct feedback to the technical teams working on the service’s digital-transformation agenda.

Committee members also support individual members of the profession with queries and issues around the use of technology in their practices, and publish useful information on new and emerging technologies, including a detailed exploration of artificial intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT, in the May 2023 Gazette.

At the end of another busy year, I want to offer my thanks for the work and insight offered by committee members. I would like to pay particular tribute to long-standing members stepping back from involvement with the committee after many years of service, including John Furlong, Flor McCarthy, Greg Ryan, and Raymond Smith. Their contributions have been immense, and they will remain highly regarded friends in the future.

Peter McKenna | Chair

Fiona-McNulty.jpgThe Younger Members Committee represents and advocates for members of the profession who are in their first seven years of practice. During the year under review, we said goodbye to some valued senior members of the committee, and were delighted to welcome new members with fresh ideas and energy. We are delighted to report the following highlights from our busy year:

  • ‘Building your Career: Tools of the Trade’ was the theme of the committee’s annual conference in October 2022, which dealt with a range of topics relating to career progression for junior members of the profession – from post- qualification through to partner track – as well as alternatives to traditional legal roles.

  • We prepared an update report to The Future Way We Work survey, to assess updates in relation to remote-working arrangements, and also to review the recommendations from the survey.

  • In collaboration with the Young Bar Committee, we held a fireside chat in December 2022 at Blackhall Place with Noeline Blackwell and solicitor Sarah Grace, a survivor of sexual assault and campaigner for legal reform in sexual-assault cases.

  • We were very excited to host the first-ever Calcutta Run Yoga in May All were welcome to join for the perfect warm-up for the big event, which we hope will become a regular fixture in years to come.

  • Having joined the European Young Bar Association during the COVID lockdown, we finally had the opportunity to attend its Summer Conference in Oslo in June 2023. This was an invaluable opportunity to meet colleagues from across the EU and beyond, to share ideas, and consider the challenges faced by younger members of the legal profession.

  • Committee members continue to attend Blackhall Place to highlight to PPC students the role of the Younger Members Committee, and Law Society structures more

  • We continue to engage with other young professional groups, such as the Southern Law Association’s Younger Members Committee, the Young Bar, the Chartered Accountants Ireland Young Professionals, the Northern Ireland Young Solicitors Association, and the International Association of Young Lawyers.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve as chair of the Younger Members Committee for 2022/23. As well as recognising the hard work of all committee members during what is already a busy stage of their careers, I owe particular thanks to immediate past-chair Brendan Hayes, to Maeve Delargy (senior vice-chair) and Gregory Benson (junior vice-chair), and to committee secretary Siobhán Masterson.

Fiona McNulty | Chair