The number of English and Welsh solicitors who took the trouble to register on the Irish Roll of Solicitors, in the expectation it would be of help post-Brexit, has been something of a flood since the 2016 referendum.
The total number of English and Welsh solicitors who have registered on the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland since January 2016 is 2,772. And there are approximately 700 more applications currently being processed, according to the latest edition of the Law Society Gazette.
The society's director-general, Ken Murphy, has described Ireland as the destination of choice for solicitors in England who are concerned about the possibility of the UK leaving the EU.
“The right to argue before EU tribunals such as the Court of Justice of the European Union is only afforded to lawyers qualified in an EU state,” says Murphy.
“The majority of the solicitors who are completing this process will continue to practice in London or Brussels and do not intend to set up a physical practice in Ireland.”
It looks as if Irish-registered solicitors operating in EU member states will be able to get around the society's position
One can only hope that they took legal advice before coming to any conclusion that the simple step of registration would secure their rights to practice in EU matters post-Brexit.
On March 25th, the Law Society sent out a letter that has been interpreted as meaning that even if you are registered on the Irish Roll, you won’t be able to practice as an Irish-registered solicitor unless you have a place of establishment here, and Irish-issued indemnity insurance.
It looks as if Irish-registered solicitors operating in EU member states will be able to get around the society’s position, citing EU rules on freedom of establishment. But that may not be the case for the Roll members living in post-Brexit England and Wales.
Watch this space – and get some independent legal advice.