Training solicitors and barristers

 

Sir, – Cian McGoldrick’s argues (Letters, November 24th) that the law degrees granted by our colleges do not provide the skills needed in legal practice but gives no reason why these courses could not easily be changed. It may well be that the eventual model will be a basic degree followed by an appropriately tailored higher degree.

In fact, the teaching of professional skills is a routine matter, dependent on proper staffing and facilities. It is not the teaching of skills that is the problem; the problem is the monopoly on legal training.

The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) has recognised this and has proposed tentative steps to open this out.

Once the dam is breached, there will remain no valid reason not to allow the institutes of higher education to become the primary providers, with the LSRA determining the curriculum and standards, although this will require legislation.

The question of whether commercial educational establishments should be able to train is a quite separate matter and cannot be allowed to distract from the main issue.

Mr McGoldrick draws an incorrect analogy with specialist training in medicine and surgery. No one can even begin to enter into specialist medical training until they hold full qualification and registration as a doctor. At this stage we are not discussing a combined legal profession, similar to the single medical profession, but the concept is worth exploring and I thank Mr McGoldrick for having raised the matter. – Yours, etc,

Prof BERNARD

McCARTAN,

Rathgar, Dublin 6.