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First solicitors granted Patent of Precedence
Solicitor Michele O'Boyle Pic: Cian Redmond

01 Sep 2020 / courts Print

Warm welcome by Law Society as 17 solicitors named senior counsel

The Law Society of Ireland has extended it warmest congratulations to the 17 solicitors who have been granted Patents of Precedence.

The Cabinet yesterday (1 September), announced that certain solicitors be granted a Patent of Precedence, that is, that they be appointed as senior counsel.

The move follows commencement of provisions of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015.

Solicitors in Ireland can apply for appointment on the basis of proven excellence.

Applications are considered by an Advisory Committee on the grant of Patents of Precedence, chaired by the Chief Justice, which makes recommendations to Government, under section 174(4)(a) of the act.

That committee also includes:

  • The Chief Justice (chairperson of the committee),
  • The President of the Court of Appeal,
  • The President of the High Court,
  • The Attorney General,
  • The Chairperson of the Bar Council,
  • The President of the Law Society, and
  • Dr Don Thornhill, a lay member of the authority (and its chair) nominated by the Minister for Justice and Equality.

President Michele O’Boyle said today: “This is a significant moment in Ireland’s legal history. I warmly congratulate each colleague who has been deemed to demonstrate the standard of excellence required which entitles the solicitor to use the designation senior counsel.

"It is an important achievement, both for the individual solicitors and for the profession as a whole

“I am delighted that the contributions and services of the solicitors’ profession are recognised and valued on par with our barrister colleagues. It is in the public interest that there is competition and choice.

Skills and knowledge

"I hope and expect many more solicitors who possess the necessary skills, knowledge and experience will apply in the coming years.

"This is particularly so in circumstances where solicitors are central to the functioning of the courts system and the administration of justice,” President O'Boyle said.

“Of course, a solicitor who becomes a senior counsel will remain a solicitor,” she added.

The presentation ceremony for new senior counsel is expected to take place in October.

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