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Applications open for Patents of Precedence

06 Feb 2024 / justice Print

Applications open for Patents of Precedence

Applications are now open for solicitors and barristers to apply to the advisory committee on the grant of Patents of Precedence.

The grant of a Patent of Precedence entitles barristers and solicitors to use the title of Senior Counsel (SC).

The advisory committee, which was established under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015, makes recommendations to the Government on Patents of Precedence.

The committee says that it has been advised, and considers, that lawyers in the full-time service of the State providing legal services, and who otherwise satisfy the conditions for eligibility under the 2015 act, are entitled to apply to seek a recommendation.

Lawyers practising abroad

The committee’s guidance also sets out the conditions under which Irish-qualified lawyers practising in another jurisdiction may be eligible for the grant of a Patent of Precedence.

“If an Irish legal practitioner is practising in an international forum or jurisdiction by virtue of their status as an Irish legal practitioner, subject in that regard to the disciplinary control of the LSRA [Legal Services Regulatory Authority], then such practice may satisfy the eligibility requirements of the act,” the committee states.

It adds that such applicants may be recommended for the grant of a Patent of Precedence if the criteria in the act are satisfied.

The committee adds that, where an applicant is qualified and entitled to practise in another jurisdiction and does so, but is also a legal practitioner qualified to practise in Ireland, it will assess the application “primarily by reference to the applicant’s practice in Ireland”.

If the applicant can satisfy the statutory criteria on the basis of the Irish practice, the committee says that it may also take into account their practice in another jurisdiction “in respect of matters such as independence, honesty and temperament”.

Fifth round

This is the fifth round of Patents of Precedence applications to the committee, and covers recommendations to be made to Government in 2024.

The Legal Services Regulatory Authority provides administrative and secretarial support to the committee, which was established under the 2015 act on 2 April 2020.

The deadline for receipt of completed applications is 5pm on Friday 15 March 2024.

More details on how to apply are available on the LSRA website.

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