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Brexit: Ireland eases practice rule but uncertainty remains

20th 05 2019

UK solicitors are hopeful that registering in Ireland will allow them to maintain EU practicing rights post-Brexit remain in limbo, although Ireland has recently softened its tough stance on reciprocity.

In the space of three years, over 2,700 solicitors from England and Wales have registered with the Irish Law Society, each of these applicants are due to pay €300 administrative fee. As well as this, a further 700 applicants are currently being processed.  However, a letter circulated in Dublin during March, days prior to the due date of the United Kingdom leaving the EU, This letter stated that solicitors may be issued with full practising certificates only if they have an “establishment” in Ireland and have taken out separate indemnity insurance.

In spite of this, last week the Law Society of Ireland published revised guidance on its website for PC- holders outside the jurisdiction, this drops the condition for not only England and Wales solicitors but rather all solicitors to have an “establishment” in Ireland but remains problematic. Although the new guidelines will have clear implications for lawyers holding Irish PCs operating outside the EU, these have not yet been clarified.

Law Society of Ireland director Ken Murphy stated that “Brexit refugee” solicitors were enrolling however not arriving, and not applying to the Irish roll in order to establish practices here. He added it was primarily EU competition and trade law practitioners who had registered in Ireland.

Subsequent to the Brexit vote, a series of city firms have opened offices in Ireland, including Pinsent Masons, Fieldfisher, Simmons & Simmons and Clyde & Co.

A spokesperson for the Law Society of England and Wales said it remains engaged in a ‘constructive dialogue’ with the Law Society of Ireland.