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Brexit: Northern Ireland lawyers apply to practice in Republic

Published 07/11/2016

More than 20 lawyers from Northern Ireland have joined a massive surge of UK lawyers seeking to practice in the Irish Republic in the wake of the decision to leave the EU.

The number of lawyers from England and Wales admitted to the Irish Roll of Solicitors has soared by nearly 10 times so far this year in reaction to the Brexit vote, new figures have shown.

On average the number of English and Welsh lawyers applying to work in the Republic ranges between 50 and 100 per year.

However, that number has already rocketed to 618 so far this year with a further 93 applications currently being processed, according to the Law Society of Ireland.

And a further 23 solicitors from Northern Ireland have also been added to the roll.

Solicitors that have qualified in England, Wales or Northern Ireland are allowed to undergo a process that allows them to practice in the Republic.

And similarly solicitors that have qualified in the Republic can transfer to the rolls of solicitors in Northern Ireland, England, and Wales. So far, just over a sixth of lawyers that have been added to the Irish roll have been granted a practising certificate, which is required in order to practice law in the Republic.

Practising certs cost €2,035 (£1,811) a year for lawyers that have been qualified for less than three years and €2,335 (£2,078) for those that have been qualified for more than three years.

The director general of the Law Society of Ireland Ken Murphy told said the rise in applications has been a direct result of the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

"It's completely a Brexit-triggered event that's taking place now and the solicitors that are doing this and coming on the roll are doing this like cautious lawyers," he said.

One of the biggest law firms in the UK has transferred some of its solicitors from its anti-trust, competition and trade law teams as a precautionary measure. "The Law Society of Ireland has had informal discussions with some of the major international law firms whose England and Wales-qualified solicitors have in recent months been taking out an additional qualification by seeking and gaining admittance to the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland," Mr Murphy said.

"This, of course, is all being done in anticipation of the UK leaving the European Union."

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