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. Please note that applications are currently closed. When applications are invited, this page will provide details on how to apply to the Advisory Committee on the grant of Patents of Precedence which makes recommendations to Government.
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.
The Advisory Committee on the grant of Patents of Precedence makes recommendations to the Government to grant a patent to a legal practitioner (solicitor or barrister). The Legal Services Regulatory Authority provides clerical and administrative assistance to the Advisory Committee. Membership of the Advisory Committee is set out in the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. 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.
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:
- A completed application form including a signed and dated Declaration;
- A Tax Clearance Certificate that is in force;
- Two references, one of which is to be from a current or former judge at any level and one from a legal practitioner and
- 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
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.
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].
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.
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.