Applications for Senior Counsel

Legal practitioners may apply to be granted a Patent of Precedence under Section 174 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. A grant of a Patent of Precedence allows a solicitor or barrister to use the title of Senior Counsel. On this page you will learn how to apply and when.

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Applications for Senior Counsel (Patent of Precedence)

Important Notice – Senior Counsel applications closed

Applications for Senior Counsel are currently closed. The information below relates to the invitation for applications which was open from 30 June 2020 to 24 July 2020.

This page will be updated when further applications are sought by the Advisory Committee on Patents of Precedence.

Applications are now open for solicitors and barristers to apply to the Advisory Committee on the grant of Patents of Precedence to use the title of Senior Counsel.

The Advisory Committee was established under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 on 2 April 2020 and held its first meeting on 23 June 2020.

It has established the criteria – as set out in the objectives in section 173(2) of the Act – to be met by a legal practitioner in order for a recommendation to be made by the Advisory Committee to the Government that a Patent of Precedence be granted to him or her.

The grant of a Patent of Precedence in relation to a barrister entitles him or her to be called to the Inner Bar and to use the title of Senior Counsel; in relation to a solicitor, it entitles him or her to use the title of Senior Counsel.

Advisory Committee on the grant of Patents of Precedence

The Advisory Committee consists of:

  • The Chief Justice (Chairperson of the Committee),
  • The President of the Court of Appeal,
  • The President of the High Court,
  • The Attorney General,
  • The Chairperson of the Bar Council,
  • The President of the Law Society and
  • Dr Don Thornhill, a lay member of the Authority (and its chair) nominated by the Minister for Justice and Equality.

For more detail on the process, please read the Guidance for Applicants for a Patent of Precedence document.

How to Apply

It is important to read the Guidance for Applicants for a Patent of Precedence document before completing an application. A legal practitioner who wishes to be granted a Patent must send:

  1. A completed application form including a signed and dated Declaration;
  2. A Tax Clearance Certificate that is in force;
  3. Two references, one of which is to be from a current or former judge at any level and one from a legal practitioner and
  4. Copies of any articles or publications, where relevant

by email to [email protected] or by hard copy to:

Mr. Brian Doherty, CEO,
Legal Services Regulatory Authority,
P.O. Box 12906
Dublin 7

Applications are preferred in electronic format.

The closing date for applications is 5 pm on 24 July 2020.

Applicants are advised to read the Guidance for Applicants document before completing the Application Form for a recommendation for the grant of a Patent of Precedence.

Guidance for Applicants for a Patent of Precedence
Application Form for a Patent of Precedence

General Queries

Any general queries in relation to the Guidance or Application form can be directed to the Secretariat to the Advisory Committee by email to [email protected].

Applicant Checklist

  • Declaration signed and dated;

  • Tax Clearance Certificate;

  • Two references, one of which is to be from a current or former judge at any level and one from a legal practitioner;

  • Where relevant, copies of articles (in pdf or electronic format where possible) and

  • Completed application form.

Feedback

Any feedback you may wish to share in relation to the Application Form, the Applicant Guidance and the process itself is welcome and will be carefully considered. Any feedback should be emailed to [email protected] and will be provided to the Committee anonymously.