Solicitor in London Involved in High Court Row

Controversy erupted in the courts of London, when a decision was made to end the recognition of qualifications held by Irish solicitors’ in England. The Law Society has announced that they will be taking legal action against the decision.

The legal regulatory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are preparing to end its mutual recognition of the Irish solicitors’ qualifications from the start of next month. Legal proceedings have been issued in the High Court in London, to try and overturn this decision.

The president of the Law Society, Gerard Doherty, remarked that the decision “may well be the subject matter of an application for judicial review by the society in the courts in London”.

Because of how the system is set up, overseas lawyers are allowed to practise in England and Wales by sitting a Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test.  It is estimated that last year, nearly a quarter of solicitors who practise in England and Wales are either former barristers or have qualified in another jurisdiction. The scheme essentially allows there to be solicitors in London, Manchester, Liverpool, or anywhere else for that matter.

However, this scheme which was established in 1990, has recently been changed. Last March, the Legal Services Board (LSB), approved a new version of the scheme, which places Irish Solicitors under more pressure than before, as individual assessments and barriers have been put in place.

If those Irish solicitors do not meet certain requirements, then they will have to do further testing.

The board stated that the scheme was ‘‘designed to ensure, in the public interest, that all solicitors in England and Wales have achieved the same standards of skills and knowledge”.

The SRA’s head of education and training, Clare Gilligan, remarked that : “The public here need to be confident that all solicitors, however they qualify, are competent to practise.”

A spokeswoman for the LSB said: ‘‘The Law Society of Ireland has lodged proceedings against the SRA and LSB, but has recently agreed to a stay in those proceedings while conversations between the Law Society and SRA continue.”

About the Author:
Antonia Torr is a graduate from the University of Leicester, with a degree in Law with European Union Law. Having enjoyed writing from a young age, Antonia has received numerous awards that act as a testament to her quality of writing. Top rated Solicitors in London, please visit our website at
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