EU referendum: Brexit fears spark increase in lawyers registering to work in Ireland

The figures are three times as high as the same time in 2015

Emma Henderson
Monday 20 June 2016 17:57
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The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg
The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg

A record number of top UK lawyers are applying to work in Ireland amid fears of a Brexit.

The Republic’s Law society has revealed figures showing 186 British lawyers have been admitted to practice in Ireland in the first six months of 2016. This is more than three times that of the same time last year.

Compared to 2015, only 101 lawyers applied to work in the Republic, while as few as 51 did so in 2014.

Lawyers from companies including Freshfields, Slaughter and May, Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells have been cited as applying to practice in Ireland, which consist of a one-off fee of £237 to register, according to Legal Week.

The influx has been put down to lawyers not being able to have the right to follow their client’s case all the way to the European courts if Britain is not part of the EU.

The society said the vast majority of UK solicitors admitted to practice in Ireland are from large London firms, and claimed a possible Brexit as their main reason.

Ken Murphy, director general of the Law Society of Ireland, said: “This is by far the largest number of transfers of solicitors to Ireland from the UK in any given year, and we’re only halfway through.”

“Of the EU member states, Ireland is the legal jurisdiction most equivalent to the UK. We are both English-speaking, both common law jurisdiction and our legal institutions are much the same.

“This makes Ireland the destination of choice for solicitors in England.

“The right to argue before EU tribunals such as the Court of Justice of the European Union is only afforded to lawyers qualified in an EU state.

Solicitors who have qualified in England, Wales or Northern Ireland would only need to complete a short process in order to practice in Ireland, under a rule following an EU directive in 1989.

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