Standing Committee Reports

The Solicitors Acts state that the Council exercises the statutory functions of the Society, which are set out in the acts.


The Council may delegate the exercise of any of its functions to a committee established for that purpose. This allows the Council to appoint standing committees that exercise statutory functions on its behalf.

Click on the committee name below to view the relevant report.

Elaine-Given.jpgIn October 2019, the Legal Services Regulatory Authority assumed responsibility for the investigation of complaints against solicitors.

Since then, the Complaints and Client Relations Committee has been engaged in a winding-up exercise, with the committee continuing to resolve all complaints made prior to 7 October 2019.

In September 2022, the committee held its final scheduled meeting, at which 14 final complaints were determined upon, with one matter being referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Although the work of the committee was satisfactorily concluded in September 2022, it was identified that the committee should remain in place for a further year so that

it could deal with any historical matters or items that may be referred to it by, for instance, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal or the Office

of the Ombudsman. The committee was duly reduced to a single division, made up of one solicitor chair and two lay members. One further meeting was held in March 2023, to respond to a request made by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal to rescind a previous referral made.

Elaine Given | Chair


The Coordination Committee operates as a link between the Society’s committees and the Council, with an oversight role for projects undertaken by each of the Society’s committees and task forces. In this capacity, it reviews

the benefit of committee projects in terms of resources and timelines, and allocates finances within an overall budget determined by the Finance Committee. It considers appointments to external bodies and requests to pursue specific proposals or seek expert advices during the course of the year. The role of the committee is to ensure that the direction and priority of projects are appropriate to the Society’s overall objectives on behalf of the profession, the rule of law, and the public interest.

One of the key ways in which the committee carries out its functions is to hold a special meeting with the chairs of the Society’s standing committees to consider ongoing issues and to plan for the year ahead. This meeting took place in February 2023 and, at a time of transition, this forum enabled the committee and the chairs of the standing committees to collectively assess the strategic objectives facing the profession and the Society.

Maura Derivan | Chair


Trainee admissions to the Law Society are at a 15-year high, with trainee intake this year up 4% on last year and access to solicitor education continuing to increase apace.

The new fused Professional Practice Course (PPC) commenced on 6 September 2022, with 472 new trainees being welcomed to the Law School campus. This innovative new course was developed as part of the Law Society’s Peart Commission Report and strategic plan to increase access to solicitor training in Ireland. The PPC streamlines the entire taught elements of solicitor training, marking the most significant reform to solicitor education in Ireland in over two decades.

In January, 91 trainees joined the fourth iteration of the PPC Hybrid. The hybrid course maintains an optimised blended-learning experience combining online recorded lectures, ‘live’ online tutorials and skills workshops, together with on-site face-to-face tuition. In a very short space of time, the hybrid course has solidified its place as a popular option for trainees from all over the country. Trainees on the course are completing their in-office training in 18 different counties around the country.

May 2023 saw a significant amount of activity at PPC level, with 1,100 trainees descending on the Law School campus. The first iteration of the Law Society’s advanced electives launched in May, providing a truly bespoke learning opportunity for trainees. The 21 advanced electives on offer included well-established subject areas, such as dispute resolution, commercial contracts, employment law and insolvency, and more specialised content areas such as aviation leasing and finance.

Post-qualification legal education has been in high demand, with courses being offered in person, in a hybrid format, and online. Over 18,000 participants have taken part in Law Society Skillnet and Professional Training learning and development initiatives this year. Skillnet Ireland has awarded €1.4 million in grant funding to Law Society Skillnet.

The Diploma Centre’s annual online MOOC continues to reach audiences far and wide this year, with 3,500 people joining the course from 30 countries. Since 2014, over 27,000 participants from 87 countries and from a range of professions have joined the MOOCs. The MOOCs are designed to showcase the Irish solicitors’ profession on the world stage and the Law Society’s commitment to online learning, and to broaden access to legal education.

Recognising the diverse and changing nature of the profession, the Education Committee, working with Law Society staff and external experts, have developed a comprehensive Competency Framework for Solicitors in Ireland. The framework focuses on the threshold competencies that might be expected of solicitors, now and in the near future. The competency framework will be regularly reviewed and updated to align it with changes occurring in the legal professions and in society in Ireland.

 In June 2023, the Law Society announced its latest round of grants under the Small Practice Traineeship Grant scheme, aimed at boosting the growth of legal services in local communities throughout Ireland. Since 2020, the Society has awarded grants worth a total of €375,000 to 15 trainee solicitors and small practices.

This year, a further five grants worth a total of €125,000 are being made available to smaller solicitor practices based outside of the county of Dublin and the urban districts of Cork, Limerick, and Galway.

Other education highlights during the year under review included:

  • Everyone Can Code – the Law School’s ‘Everyone Can Code’ programme returned this year to empower young students on their learning journey while teaching them to harness their full potential. Students from Stanhope Street Primary School visited the Law School to learn the basics of coding through the Apple ‘Everyone Can Code’ programme. In February, as part of the Society’s Internet Safety Day, RTÉ News was also on-site to interview the young learners for a special news feature on safe online behaviour.

  • New TY Law Module – 13,800 students from 154 schools nationwide signed up to the Society’s new TY Law Module. This bespoke four-week online programme gives transition-year students an opportunity to explore a future career as a solicitor and learn how the law is relevant to their daily lives. Through online presentations and legal lessons, students learn from a broad range of material, covering climate justice, criminal law and employment law, human- rights practice, juvenile justice, and the Children’s Courts. The ease of access and flexibility of the programme is one of the main reasons for its success in its first year. Teachers can access video presentations and information booklets, released over the four weeks when it suits the school’s timetable. Students can opt to study alone or as part of a group.

  • Inaugural national Gráinne O’Neill Memorial Legal Essay Competition – transition-year students from across the country were invited to enter the inaugural national Gráinne O’Neill Memorial Legal Essay Competition. The competition honours the life and legacy of the late Judge Gráinne O’Neill and was initiated by Mr Justice Keenan Johnson of the Circuit Court, in collaboration with the Midland Solicitors’ Bar Association in 2019. Under the Law Society’s direction, this is the first year the competition has invited entries from transition-year students across the country. Students submitted a 1,500-word essay examining the topic of ‘The law and social media: striking a balance between freedom of expression and responsible usage’. Essays went through two rounds of judging, with the first round facilitated by local bar associations, and the national judging panel comprising eight judges from across Law Society committees, staff members, and competition stakeholders. Thirty student finalists, their parents, guardians, and teachers were invited to Blackhall Place to celebrate their achievements in March 2023, with Saorla McDonagh Sharkey, St Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk, Co Louth, taking the top prize. The competition aims to encourage young people to engage with the law and consider their own legal rights and how the law has an impact on society.

Richard Hammon SC | Chair


The Finance Committee has a number of functions assigned to it. Its key function is the management of the financial affairs of the Society and its subsidiaries. A number of subcommittees have been established to give special attention to specific areas.

In 2023, the committee’s overarching objective is Value for Money (VFM). This does not necessarily mean going with the ‘low cost’ option but, rather, achieving maximum impact for the resources expended using the most advantageous combination of cost, quality, and sustainability.

The committee met 13 times in 2022/23. It receives regular updates from the executive team and relevant experts who attend each meeting on a regular basis. These are provided through written reports and financial detail, both regular and bespoke. The committee is confident that it has the correct membership to provide the right level and calibre of information and challenge, and that the right reporting methods, structures, and work plan are in place to provide oversight on behalf of Council in respect of performance in the areas as set out in the Council’s regulations.

Overview of Society finances

AR23-finance-committee-functions.jpgThe Law Society’s finances have a number of dimensions:

  • General Activities

  • Education Activities

  • Reserve funds

  • Subsidiaries

The Compensation Fund, which is a separate financial entity, is not covered by this report (see separate report).

Highlights – Management Accounts 2022


  • Total income for the year was €32.2m, 9% higher than in 2021

  • General activities’ income was €19.8m (2021: €16.9m). Of this, practising certificate (PC), membership, and admission fees accounted for €13.3m (2021: €12.8m)


  • Much of the better-than-budget outturn for 2022 was attributable to expenditure savings against budget. The reductions were due to a number of factors: a focus on cost control and management (which was supported by both the rollout of the Society’s procurement policy and continued strict management of payroll costs), and several projects that were delayed or did not proceed,

  • General activities – overall expenditure was €19.4m, which was an increase of 18% (or €2.9m) in 2021,

  • Education activities – operating charges, at €12.4m, were €1m or 9% above 2021.


  • General activities – €425k operational loss versus a budget of €1.1m operational loss,

  • Investment-fund value reduced by €1.8m due to market volatility,

  • Education activities generated a surplus of €220k against a budgeted surplus of €841k.

  • Overall after-tax operational loss from general activities, investments, education activities, and allocated funds reserves on consolidation is €1.9m,

  • The Financial Statements show a gain of €10.3m, due to the FRS102 valuation of the defined-benefit pension scheme (2021: surplus of €1.2m).

Group Consolidated Audited Financial Statements 2022

The reconciliation table (below) shows the management accounts results, which are the actual operating outcomes of the various elements of the Society’s operations compared with the consolidated Group Consolidated Audited Financial Statements.


In the Audited Financial Statements, operational surpluses/losses for the Society are incorporated in ‘Group’ accounts, which include the Society’s subsidiaries. The Group accounts give a full picture of the financial performance and financial position of all Society operations. The reconciliation table explains the difference between the management accounts 2022 and the Financial Statements 2022 on consolidation.

Overall, in the audited accounts, the Society’s Group made a surplus of €8.3m (2021: €5.9m) after tax and exceptional items.

Revaluations and exceptional items

In accordance with the accounting standard FRS102, the Financial Statements show a gain of €10.3m in 2022, while in 2021 this was a surplus of €1.2m. This adjustment is primarily driven by the bond rate used in the calculation of the scheme liabilities.

The large gain in 2022 was primarily driven by an exceptional increase in the discount/bond rate used to value the scheme’s liabilities. This, in turn, was closely related to the significant increase in interest rates during 2022.


The Group structure includes a number of subsidiary entities that are effectively run on a break-even basis. The Law Club of Ireland, after subsidies, net of management fees of €25k, made an operational surplus of €14k (2021: €28k). Benburb Street Property Company Limited made an operational surplus of €29k (2021: loss €32k). The Benburb Street site value remained at €20m.

Balance sheet


Balance sheet reserves include the two contingency funds, the Capital Expenditure Fund (€1.7m) and the Litigation Fund (€1.1m). Both funds are designed to meet costs in these areas as they arise, and avoid fluctuations in the practising certificate fee. The Capital Reserve Fund amount of €3.7m is to meet future property development costs. Additionally, there is a balance of €2.1m in the LSRA Levy Fund, being the balance of money raised for this levy over the last five years since the imposition of the levy, and the amounts ultimately levied by the LSRA. This will be used to smooth the cost of this levy over the coming years, despite anticipated LSRA cost increases. The remaining reserves have been allocated to meet specific costs and projects.

The FRS102 accounting standard requires us to show the pension scheme surplus/deficit calculation using the assumptions set by that standard in our balance sheet.

In 2022, the scheme is showing a surplus of €727k. In contrast, the scheme had a deficit of €8.8m in 2021. This demonstrates the volatility that can arise when using the FRS 102 valuation methodology.

Our net asset position at the end of 2022 now stands at €63m (2021: €54.6m).

Paul Keane | Chair

Dara-Robinson.jpgThe committee’s remit is to fulfil the Society’s statutory obligations in relation to mandatory reporting of suspected offences relating to money-laundering, terrorist financing, and relevant offences to the appropriate authorities. The committee met on a regular basis throughout the year to consider reports made to it.

Any suspicion that money-laundering or an offence of financing terrorism has been committed by a practising solicitor (or any other person whom the Society, in the course of monitoring solicitors, suspects has been engaged in such activities) must be reported on by the Society to An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners.

Suspicious transaction reports (STRs) are filed with the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau via goAML and to the Revenue Commissioners via ROS, pursuant to the provisions of section 63 of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (as amended).

During the past year, the committee directed that 31 such reports be made.

The Society is also required, pursuant to the provisions of section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011, to report to An Garda Síochána, as soon as practicable, information in its possession that it knows or believes might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of a relevant offence, or securing the apprehension, prosecution, or conviction of a person for a relevant offence. Relevant offences are listed in Schedule 1 of the act and include fraud-related offences.

During the past year, the committee directed that 35 such reports be made.

On behalf of vice-chair Brian McMullin and myself, I would like to thank my fellow committee members for their work during the year. I would also like to thank committee secretary, Tina Beattie, and her colleagues in the Regulation Department for their assistance.

Dara Robinson | Chair


The function of the committee is to deal with all matters pertaining to the regulation of solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance (PII), including monitoring the implementation of the PII regulations and associated documentation, maintenance of a stable PII market, provision of guidance to the profession, and attending to PII queries arising. The committee reviews, drafts and publishes updated PII regulations and associated documentation on an annual basis.

The committee maintains a regular dialogue with insurers participating in the Irish market for solicitors’ PII. It monitors the management and running of the Special Purpose Fund (the Assigned Risks Pool and the Run-off Fund) through the Special Purpose Fund Management Committee, which comprises representatives of the PII Committee, the Special Purpose Fund manager, and the two participating insurers with the highest market share by premium.

The committee provides information and documentation to the public and the profession through the PII website at, which contains current and historic information and documentation on PII matters, including news items, regulations, minimum terms and conditions, the common proposal form, participating insurers agreements, Special Purpose Fund documentation, lists of insurers and brokers, and guidance notes. Information on current insurance details of firms continues to be available through the Society’s online firm insurance details search facility.

The most recent PII renewal saw a further stabilisation of the market and an overall reduction in premiums. While there was a reduction in the rate of increase in premiums for the last two years (20% increase in premiums for the 2020/21 indemnity period, and a 5.5% increase for the 2021/22 indemnity period), this year saw the first reduction of premiums (8.4% reduction for the 2022/23 indemnity period) in six years, bringing premiums to their lowest level since the 2019/20 indemnity period.

It should be noted that the increase in premiums over the last few years was not caused by an increase in claims or a poorly performing domestic market, but rather due to an increase in base rate across all books of insurance arising from global-insurer losses and solvency requirements. This stabilisation of the market was brought about by leveraging our strong relationships with the insurers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the market, and making clarifying changes to the minimum terms and conditions without reducing cover for the profession or the public.

Firms that shopped around, rather than staying with the same insurer, saw the greatest reductions in premiums.

This year also saw two new A-rated insurers and a new insurance facility joining the market. No significant increase was seen in the number of firms closing or entering the Run-off Fund, and the number of firms in the Assigned Risks Pool was reduced from the previous indemnity period. We are currently in talks with a number of potential new insurers looking to enter the market for the 2023/24 indemnity period.

The Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Act was commenced in April of this year. Last year, the committee confirmed that acting as a decision-making representative (DMR) under the act does properly fall under the definition of ‘legal services’ for solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance, and so should be covered under existing minimum terms and conditions. The definition of ‘legal services’ under the minimum terms and conditions is sufficiently broad to incorporate the provision of legal services as a DMR within the meaning of the act by a solicitor in the course of practice as a solicitor. Acting as a DMR would be considered services of a legal nature, as solicitors are being appointed to the panel on the basis of their legal expertise, and on the grounds that they are regulated by the Society as an appropriate regulatory body. The role of DMR is analogous to other roles listed in the non-exhaustive list of services under the definition of legal services in the minimum terms and conditions.

I would like to thank my fellow committee members for their continuing interest, support, and inputs into the work of the

committee. A special mention must be made of the ever-competent, diligent, and expert committee secretary Sorcha Hayes for her hard work, assistance and valuable input, without which the committee could not function.

Bill Holohan SC

Garry Clarke.jpg

The Regulation of Practice Committee administers the Compensation Fund, maintained in order to compensate clients for losses due to dishonesty by solicitors or their employees.

The committee also polices the profession’s compliance with regulations regarding accounts, anti-money-laundering, and regulatory requirements under the Solicitors Acts 1954-2015 not assigned to other regulatory committees.

Overall financial performance

The income and expenditure account of the Compensation Fund reflects a surplus (representing an excess of income over expenditure before fair-value movements arising on revaluation of investments and tax) of €577,587 for the year ended 31 December 2022, compared with a surplus of €1,524,052 for the year ended 31 December 2021. This reduction is primarily due to an increase in expenditure of €913,157.

During 2022, the Compensation Fund investments incurred a reduction in fair value arising on the revaluation of investments of €3,909,137, as opposed to a surplus in 2021 of €1,800,276. Together with a reduction in the taxation charge of €307,089, the deficit after taxation was €3,431,187 as opposed to a surplus in 2021 of €2,917,602.

Income streams

The income in 2022 remained relatively stable, with an increase of €550,084 in contributions receivable due to the increase in the contribution rate from €620 to €650. This was offset by the reduction in the income and return on investments of €195,767 and recoveries from defaulting solicitors of €388,726.


The increase of €913,156 in expenditure as between the two years is attributable to an increase in the provision for claims of €360,026, insurance of €127,704, a negative interest bank charge of €145,671 and a general increase in costs due to the elevated inflation rates.

Balance sheet

The net assets of the fund, as at 31 December 2022, stood at €24,779,668 compared with €28,210,855 at 31 December 2021. The decrease of €3,431,187 in the net asset position of the fund as between the two year- ends is reflected in an increase of

€477,950 in revenue reserves, together with a decrease of €3,909,137 in the unrealised profit on the investment portfolio.

Developments since December 2022 In the six months to the end of 30 June 2023, a total of 46 claims were received. Excluding invalid claims refused, these claims amounted to €656,149.26. Payments totalling €347,997.09 have been made in respect of these claims, and claims totalling €279,481.80 are still under consideration.

Following a rigorous review of the financial position of the Compensation Fund, including the effects of inflation and the reduction in the value of investments, the committee decided that it was appropriate to increase the Compensation Fund element of the practising certificate fee to €700 in 2023 from €650 in 2022.

The net assets of the fund are valued at approximately €25 million as at 31 May 2023. Insurance cover for €50 million in excess of €5 million is in place for the year ending 31 December 2023.

Given the volatility in markets and the resultant fluctuations in the valuation of the Compensation Fund’s investments, the committee has reviewed the current investment portfolio and set a target risk and return for the investments that allowed an appropriate portfolio to be identified that would focus on capital preservation. The transition to the new portfolio is currently being implemented.

Committee activities

In view of the committee’s wide statutory remit and considerable workload, as well as convening for plenary sessions, it sits in five divisions (dealing with regular matters and claims on the Compensation Fund). It also subdivides into specialist subcommittees/working groups.

The committee met 50 times during the period reported on. From September 2022, in-person meetings recommenced, with the option retained to meet virtually where required.

Arising from these meetings, the committee decided to:

  • levy contributions amounting to €10,500 towards the cost of investigations,

  • refer 13 solicitors to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (six of these cases related to late filing of accountant’s reports), and

  • apply to the High Court pursuant to the Solicitors Acts in six cases.

In 2022, due to COVID restrictions, Law Society inspections for the purposes of monitoring compliance with the Solicitors Accounts Regulations and anti-money-laundering obligations continued to be by offsite ‘desktop review’, with a gradual return to ‘on-site’ inspections towards the end of the year. In 2023, the gradual return to on-site inspections continued, with the result that, in 2023, a Law Society inspection might be either a full on-site inspection or a combination of a desktop review and an on-site inspection, with information provided to the investigating accountant in advance of the attendance at the solicitor’s practice.

In 2022, the Law Society continued with the review of the Solicitors Accounts Regulations and, in May 2022, draft regulations were presented to the Council of the Law Society. Council directed that the draft regulations be circulated to interested parties for review.

Submissions were received from a number of Council members, bar associations, and individual solicitors. Following consideration of the submissions, changes were made to the draft regulations in order to provide clarity and to take account of concerns raised about the impact of the proposed changes on the working practices of solicitors. Amended regulations were passed by Council in October 2022, and the concurrence of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority was obtained in December 2022. The new regulations were signed by the president of the Law Society and the chief executive officer of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority in March 2023. The new regulations came into operation on 1 July 2023. The Society has engaged in an extensive communication campaign with the profession on the new regulations. The Society is confident that the new regulations will increase protection for client moneys, while ensuring that the regulations are workable and capable of effective implementation by all solicitors’ practices in Ireland.

Committee Review Working Group A working group was initiated comprising a cross-section of current committee members and Regulation Department executive staff to review what the committee does, how it does so, and make recommendations as to how it might be improved. A report with findings/ recommendations will be submitted by the end of the year.

This is my first year as chair of Regulation of Practice Committee, and it is a learning experience.

With a new director of regulation and the new Solicitors Accounts Regulations, there are challenges ahead, which I look forward to. There is an enormous amount of time and expertise put in by the voluntary members of the committee, which should be recognised. In addition,

it has been a pleasure to work with the members of the executive. I would like to thank the committee vice-chairs, the lay members, my fellow committee members, the director of regulation and Registrar of Solicitors and his team in the Regulation Department for their professionalism, support, and valued participation in the work of the committee.

Garry Clarke | Chair