Barristers’ Insurance

Practising barristers are required by law to have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). On this page you can learn more about PII and your obligations under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 and the PII Regulations 2019.

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The Legal Services Regulation Act 2015

Section 46(1) of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 (‘2015 Act’) provides –

‘A legal practitioner shall not provide legal services unless there is in force, in respect of such practitioner, at the time of the provision of such services, a policy of professional indemnity insurance which complies with –

(a) where a legal practitioner is a practising barrister, regulations made under section 47…’

Practising barristers should familiarise themselves with the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 (Professional Indemnity Insurance) Regulations 2019 (‘PII Regulations 2019’) which were issued pursuant to section 47 of the 2015 Act. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2019/si/572/made/en/print

The PII Regulations 2019 contain a number of obligations, including the following:

  • Regulation 5(1) provides that every practising barrister shall effect and maintain a ‘qualifying insurance policy’. (This is subject to certain exemptions that are provided for in the PII Regulations 2019). A ‘qualifying insurance policy’ is defined in section 2(1) of the PII Regulations 2019 and the general requirements of a ‘qualifying insurance policy’ are set out at Part IV of the PII Regulations 2019.

  • Regulation 5(7) provides that a practising barrister, who is subject to Regulation 5(1), shall provide to the LSRA, or have provided on his or her behalf, evidence that he or she has effected and is maintaining a qualifying insurance policy in accordance with these regulations within 14 days of the commencement date, and within 14 days of each renewal date, of that policy.

  • Regulation 7(1) provides that a practising barrister who is ceasing to provide legal services or who is ceasing to provide legal services as a practising barrister, must establish and maintain a policy of run-off cover for the duration of the run-off period in respect of legal services formerly provided. (‘Run-off cover’ and ‘run-off period’ are defined in section 2(1) of the PII Regulations 2019.)

  • Regulation 7(2) provides that a practising barrister to whom Regulation 7(1) applies must provide evidence that he or she has established and is maintaining a policy of run-off cover within 14 days of ceasing to provide legal services and within 14 days of the renewal of such run-off cover (if applicable).

  • Regulation 5(8) provides that every practising barrister shall be responsible for complying with his or her own obligations and responsibilities under the PII Regulations 2019, and it shall be misconduct for a practising barrister to fail to so comply.

Practising barristers within the Bar of Ireland who are insured with the group scheme

As provided for by section 46(3) of 2015 Act, the LSRA has approved the group scheme of professional indemnity insurance for practising barristers within the Bar of Ireland as being in compliance with the PII Regulations 2019.

Section 46(4) of the 2015 Act provides that any legal practitioner who, at the time of the provision of legal services, is a practising barrister covered by a scheme approved by the LSRA shall be taken to be in compliance with Regulations issued under section 47.

If you are a member of the Law Library and are covered by the group scheme, you do not need to furnish evidence directly to the LSRA. The Bar of Ireland will provide this to the LSRA on your behalf.

All other practising barristers

Regulation 5(7) provides that a practising barrister, who is subject to Regulation 5(1), must provide to the LSRA, or have provided on his or her behalf, evidence that he or she has effected and is maintaining a qualifying insurance policy in accordance with these regulations within 14 days of the commencement date, and within 14 days of each renewal date, of that policy.

Regulation 7(2) provides that a practising barrister to whom Regulation 7(1) applies must provide evidence that he or she has established and is maintaining a policy of run-off cover within 14 days of ceasing to provide legal services and within 14 days of the renewal of such run-off cover (If applicable).

What evidence of a qualifying insurance policy/run-off cover should I provide and how?

A ‘qualifying insurance policy’ is defined in section 2(1) of the PII Regulations 2019 and the general requirements of a ‘qualifying insurance policy’ are set out at Part IV of the PII Regulations 2019.

The LSRA is currently liaising with the insurance providers to ascertain what evidence we require. This webpage will be updated in this respect, in due course, if required.

For the time being, please email [email protected] with a copy of your –

  1. Certificate of Insurance and
  2. Schedule of Cover.

Please mark the subject of the email “Qualifying Insurance Policy” or “Run-off Cover”, as appropriate, and include your name in the subject line.

It is sufficient to provide these documents by email, there is no necessity to also send a hard copy.

On receipt of these documents, the LSRA may be in further contact with you to seek further information and/or clarification, as appropriate.

When do I have to provide evidence of a qualifying insurance policy/run-off cover?

If you are subject to Regulation 5(1), per Regulation 5(7), you must provide to the LSRA, or have provided on your behalf, such evidence that you have effected and are maintaining a qualifying insurance policy:

  • Within 14 days of the commencement date, and
  • Within 14 days of each renewal of that policy.

If you are subject to Regulation 7(1), per Regulation 7(2), you must provide to the LSRA such evidence that you have established and are maintaining run-off cover:

  • Within 14 days of ceasing to provide legal services and
  • Within 14 days of the renewal of such run-off cover (if applicable).

Does the LSRA have a list of approved insurance providers?

No, there is no list of insurance providers approved by the LSRA.

Section 47(6) of the 2015 Act provides that the LSRA may provide, by regulation, that the insurance required to be in place shall be considered as meeting the requirements where, amongst other matters, the insurance is provided by an insurer or mutual fund approved by the authority. This has not occurred to date. This is not currently on the LSRA’s policy agenda but the position may change in the future.

As above, the LSRA has approved the group scheme of professional indemnity insurance for practising barristers within the Bar of Ireland as being in compliance with the PII Regulations 2019. This separate approval mechanism is available where the scheme is provided under the aegis of a professional body and where the LSRA is satisfied that the scheme complies with the PII Regulations 2019.

Who do I contact if I have a query that isn’t addressed here?

If you have a query in relation to the PII Regulations 2019, please email [email protected] and your query will be answered as soon as possible.

We do not provide legal advice to external stakeholders. Any information provided in response to a query will be for guidance purposes only.

You are requested to familiarise yourself with the Act, the Regulations issued and Codes prepared pursuant to it, and any amendments to same, and to assess your own specific circumstances against these.