13 November 2020

Thousands of British lawyers want to practice in Europe despite BREXIT

One problem facing thousands of lawyers in England and Wales is that they may have lost their rights to practise in European Union countries by the time the Brexit transition period ends. 

A recent survey by the Irish Bar Association found that these lawyers in England and Wales will not have the right to practise their profession as a lawyer within the European Union border to those who have a professional (office) or corporate (headquarters) presence in either country. This can be a major blow to many British firms.

Over the past few months, many British lawyers have registered with the Irish Bar Association in order to be able to practise in the rest of Europe

"Qualified Irish lawyers who are resident in England and Wales and who apply to the Society for a practising certificate will not be entitled to a practising certificate. This will be the case whether or not they intend to maintain certain practice rights in the EU after Brexit. The Company will not issue a practising certificate to such lawyers unless they can demonstrate in the course of their applications that they practise (or intend to practise) in Ireland from a physical establishment in Ireland. In addition, they must comply with all other relevant legal requirements, including that of having an appropriate IIP", states the Irish Bar Association at the institutional level.

Among the British firms, Allen & Overy and Linklaters have the largest number of British lawyers registered with the Irish Bar. 

"The Irish Bar Association has for years issued practice certificates to many Irish lawyers based in England and Wales, whether their first qualification is from the Republic of Ireland or they are UK lawyers who have re-qualified in Ireland," said David Greene, President of the Law Society of England and Wales.

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