S.I. No. 138/1974 - Solicitors Act, 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment No. 1) Regulations 1974.

S.I. No. 138 of 1974.


The Incorporated Law Society of Ireland in exercise of the powers conferred on them by Sections 4 , 5 , 25 and 40 of the Solicitors Act, 1954 hereby make the following Regulations.

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Solicitors' Act, 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) No. 1. Regulations 1974 and shall be read together with the Solicitors Act, 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) Regulations 1955 ( S.I. No. 217 of 1955 ) (hereinafter called "the Principal Regulations"), the Solicitors Act, 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education (Amendment) Regulations 1956 ( S.I. No. 307 of 1956 ), the Solicitors' Act 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education (Amendment) Regulations 1960 ( S.I. No. 94 of 1960 ), the Solicitors' Act, 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) Regulations 1965 ( S.I. No. 201 of 1965 ), the Solicitors' Act 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) Regulations 1966 ( S.I. No. 230 of 1966 ), the Solicitors' Act 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) Regulations 1968 ( S.I. No. 17 of 1968 ), the Solicitors' Act, 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) Regulations 1969 ( S.I. No. 110 of 1969 ), the Solicitors' Act 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) Regualtions 1970 ( S.I. No. 108 of 1970 ), the Solicitors Act 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) Regulations 1971 (. S.I. No. 218 of 1971 ), the Solicitors' Act 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) Regulations 1972 ( S.I. No. 49 of 1972 ), the Solicitors' Act 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) Regulations 1973 ( S.I. No. 47 of 1973 ) and the Solicitors Act, 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) (Amendment) Regulations 1973 ( S.I. No. 333 of 1973 ) and shall insofar as they are inconsistent therewith alter and amend the same. The Regulations hereinbefore mentioned may be cited collectively as the Solicitors' Act 1954 (Apprenticeship and Education) Regulations 1955-1974.

2. Paragraph 7 of the Principal Regulations is hereby amended by the addition thereto of the following:—

"(5) The examination for the Degree of Bachelor of Laws or Bachelor of Arts in any of the Universities of Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales shall be deemed to be equivalent to the Preliminary Examination of the Society pursuant to Section 41 of the Solicitors' Act, 1954.

(6) No person (other than a person to whom Paragraph 4 or Paragraph 5 of the Second Schedule to the Solicitors' Act 1954 applies) shall enter into Indentures of Apprenticeship unless (a) he shall have been conferred with or shall have passed the examination entitling him to be conferred with the degree (not being a degree honoris causa) of Bachelor of Laws or Bachelor of Arts in any of the Universities of Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales or a University Degree (not being a degree honoris causa) which in the opinion of the Council is equivalent to such a degree of one of the said Universities or (b) he shall have passed the Preliminary Examination of the Society or (c) he shall have been exempted from the Preliminary Examination of the Society under Section 41 or Section 42 of the Solicitors' Act 1954.

(7) In addition to the Certificates and evidence required to be lodged with the Society under Paragraph (2) and (4) of this Regulation an intending apprentice shall where appropriate lodge with the Society evidence of his having been conferred with the University Degree relied upon for the purposes of Clause 6 hereof or such evidence as the Society may require of his having passed the appropriate University Degree examination entitling him to be conferred with the said University Degree relied upon for the purposes of Clause 6 hereof.

"(8) The provisions of Paragraphs (5), (6) and (7) of this Regulation shall come into operation on the 1st day of October, 1975.

Dated this 16th day of May, 1974.

Signed on behalf of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland.


President of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland.


Legislative background to Legal Education

1. The present educational requirements for solicitors are set out in the Solicitors Acts 1954-1960 and the Regulations made thereunder. They provide for a period of apprenticeship which shall be

( a ) three years for a person who holds a degree of bachelor of arts or degree which in the opinion of the Society is equivalent thereto in the N.U.I., University of Dublin or in any of the Universities of Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales,

( b ) four years for a person who, as a matriculated or non-matriculated student of a prescribed university, attends the prescribed lectures and passes the prescribed examinations of the law faculty for a period of two collegiate years,

( c ) three years for a bona fide clerk to a solicitor with seven years' service,

( d ) five years for any other person.

The Acts require the Society to hold

(i) a preliminary examination,

(ii) a final examination which may be divided into two or more parts, and

(iii) a first and second Irish examination.

2. Under the Acts and present regulations to be eligible for apprenticeship, the applicant must have attained the age of 17 years and have passed the Preliminary Examination and the First Irish Examination. Exemption from the Preliminary Examination is given in cases where the applicant has matriculated in the appropriate subjects. The leaving certificate is not accepted for exemption purposes.

3. To be eligible for admission to the Roll of Solicitors, under existing regulations the apprentice is required to have passed

(i) First Law


Paper 1

The Law of Tort.

Paper 2

The Law of Contract.

Paper 3

The Law of Real Property.

(ii) Second Law


Paper 4


Paper 5

Company Law and Partnership.

Paper 6

Conveyancing and registration of title.

Paper 7

The practice and procedure of the Superior Courts (including bankruptcy)

Paper 8

Criminal Law and the Law of Evidence.

(iii) Third Law


Paper 9

Tax Law.

Paper 10

Commercial Law.

Paper 11

The practice and procedure of the Circuit and District Courts.

Paper 12

The Law and Practice in connection with wills and the administration of estates.

Paper 13

Land Law.

(iv) Examination in book-keeping.

(v) Second Irish examination.

Present Arrangements

4. Under existing arrangements, the Society requires apprentices to attend University lectures in property, contract and tort for one full year before sitting for the first law examination and University lectures in equity for one full year before sitting for the second law examination. In practice, the present arrangements allow a student to attend the Society's lectures and the degree course at one and the same time. This gives rise to difficulties in the scheduling of lectures which are compounded by the fact that the University lectures are held in either T.C.D. or University College, Belfield and the Society's lectures are held in University College, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin. There is also the problem of providing properly for graduates of U.C.C. and U.C.G.

5. At the moment there are upwards of 600 apprentices on the register of the Society. Slightly over 100 qualify as solicitors each year and the number attending lectures varies between 100/150. Due to the limitations of lecture space, the limitations imposed by the Universities on the number of non-degree students and the difficulty of securing apprenticeship, it would appear as if 100/120 is the practical upper limit of the number of students that can be handled in any one year.

Reform of Legal Education.

6. Since 1961, it has been the stated policy of the Society that

(i) The present division of functions between the Universities and the professional bodies should be continued, namely the Universities should provide lectures on the theoretical aspects of law while training in the practical application of these subjects should be given by lecturers provided by the professional bodies.

(ii) A University degree should be required before entering into indentures of apprenticeship.

7. In Britain the Report of the Committee on Legal Education (ORMROD REPORT) (CMND 4595) March, 1971 recommended that intending solicitors should have a law degree obtained as a result of a three year full time academic course before commencing professional studies. The Committee divided on the issue of whether the universities or the profession should assume responsibility for the year of professional studies. The profession favours assuming responsibility for the professional stage of training but appreciates that the cost of training may be too great for the profession to carry. In Northern Ireland where the legislation is very similar to that obtaining in the Republic, a degree has been specified as the requirement for apprenticeship (except in the case of the law clerk) since 1949. For the future it is proposed that the basic professional training should be provided in an Institute of Law working in association with the Queen's University, Belfast. Insofar as the Republic is concerned the view of the Society is that the professional training should be provided by the Society.

8. Following consultation with the Universities, the Society proposes that as from 1st October 1975, all intending apprentices, other than a bona fide clerk to a solicitor with seven years' service, will be required to hold a degree. This requirement is specified in the Regulation which has now been made. The particular regulation has been made at this stage so that second level educational institutions could have as long a notice as is feasible of the change. (A minimum of two years has been suggested). Nearer the time of the change, there will be need for further and more detailed regulations setting out

( a ) the transitional examination arrangements for those already admitted to apprenticeship and

( b ) the examination and other arrangements under the new situation.

It is visualised that these regulations would not be made until early in 1975 and that the intervening time would be used by the Society to clarify all outstanding matters as to course details etc. with the Universities.

Details of Society's Course

9. The Society has agreed the outline of its course (Appendix B) with the Universities and has established a joint committee with them to examine and agree the detailed syllabus of the course as outlined. This will take some time since discussion with the existing teachers and examiners will be necessary to establish the desired syllabus for each of the subjects in the proposed course. It will be necessary also to establish how much of each course will be given by way of lecture and how much by way of discussion group. A problem here will be the recruitment and training of interested teachers and tutors in suitable numbers. On that account, it is visualised that the introduction of an improved syllabus in each subject will be a gradual procedure. As with the Universities, the syllabus will be revised from time to time according as teaching expertise is developed. It is stressed that in each of the subjects listed, the emphasis in the Society's course will be on the practical aspects as they apply in the everyday work of a solicitor's office.

10. It is visualised that in the First Year lectures group discussion will take place Monday/Friday from 9.00 a.m.-11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m.-6.00 p.m. and that in addition tutorials will be held for 2 hours per day. The arrangements for the second study period will not be as intensive, since to some extent the apprentice will be specialising in subjects of his own choice. At the end of the first year of study, the apprentice will be required to sit a 2nd Law and Book-keeping examination (new form). About three months after the end of the second period of study, the apprentice will be required to sit a final examination. It is intended that this particular examination will be broad rather than detailed in its approach.

11. It is to be understood that in the making of the further regulations spelling out in detail the scheme of training, the future regulations will be substantially in accordance with the scheme now outlined in this explanatory note and at Appendix B.

Conditions of Admission to Society's Law School under new Arrangements

12. (i) Applicant with Law Degree.

Subject to passing the statutory First Irish Examination and obtaining a master, the applicant will be allowed to commence the 3 year apprenticeship and will be given an exemption from the Society's First Law Examination (new form).

(ii) Applicant with other degree.

Subject to passing the statutory First Irish Examination and obtaining a master the applicant will be allowed to commence a 3 year apprenticeship. Before being admitted to the Society's Law School, he will be required to pass an examination at degree level in Contract, Property, Tort, Constitutional Law and two optional subjects. It is hoped in discussion with the Universities, to arrange that such persons will be in a position to attend the appropriate University lectures and sit the appropriate University examinations, which would be recognised for the Society's purposes.

Ratio of Apprentices to Solicitors

13. At present there are approximately 600 apprentices in training and some 1,500 solicitors in practice. By comparison Scotland with a population of 5,212,000 and a comprehensive system of legal aid, has 3,500 solicitors in practice. Notwithstanding the high apprentice/ solicitor ratio, there is an unsatisfied demand for apprenticeship. The Society being conscious of the problem of obtaining masters, agreed on 7th February, 1974, that in these special circumstances, it would be prepared to consider applications from solicitors generally for second apprentices. Also, as an exceptional measure, it agreed to allow solicitors of 5-7 years standing to take apprentices subject to the Society's approval in each case.

Length of Apprenticeship

14. Criticism has been voiced over the length of apprenticeship— 3 years for a person with a University degree. This is a statutory requirement provided for under Section 26 of the Solicitors Acts 1954-1960 and the Second Schedule to the Act. It cannot be altered without amending legislation. It is a factor which will be borne in mind in any future amendment of the legislation.









1. Legal Systems and Methods

1. Introduction to Legal System

1. Introduction to Legal System

1. Jurisprudence

2. Criminal law

2. Criminal Law

2. Roman Law

2. Roman Law

3. Constitutional Law

3. Constitutional History and comparative constitutional law

3. Constitutional Law

3. Real Property

4. Introduction to Private Law

4. Introduction to Real Property

4. Criminal Law and Procedure

4. Personal Property

5. Contract

5. Equity

6. Criminal Law

7. Contract.

8. Tort.

(4 subjects to be taken)


1. Contract

1. Contract

1. Torts

1. Jurisprudence

2. Torts

2. Torts

2. Law of Property

2. Roman Law

3. Real Property

3. Real Property II

3. Equity

3. Law of Contract

4. International Law

4. Roman Law

4. Torts

5. Constitutional Law

Two of

5. Constitutional Law

(i) International Law

6. Public International Law

(ii) Evidence

7. Equity

(iii) Commercial Law

8. Criminal Law

(iv) Law of E.E.C.

9. Real Property

10. Personal Property

11. Evidence

12. Private International Law

Four subjects to be taken which are not included in first year.


1. Jurisprudence

1. Jurisprudence

1. Jurisprudence

Four subjects to be taken from 2nd Year list but excluding any four taken in year 2

2. Personal Property

2. Equity

Four of—2nd year options not already taken:

3. Administrative Law

3. Three of the following

Land Law

4. One of the following

Administrative Law

Company Law



Industrial Law



Legal History

Roman Law

Personal Property

Family Law

European Law


Conflict of Law

Family Law

Family Law

Labour Law

Public International Law

Legal History

Private International Law

Comparative Law

Law of European Institutions


1. Equity

2. Labour Law

3. 2 of the options above and below excluding any taken in year 3.

Advanced Private Law,

Legal History

Revenue Law,

Company Law

Conflict of Laws


Outline of Society's Course of Study.

1st Year

( a ) Revenue Law—including instruction in handling taxation matters.

( b ) (i) Law of and practical instruction in Conveyancing e.g. investigation of titles, purchase of lands, landlord and tenant, mortgages and building of houses.

(ii) Wills and Administration of Estates—the drawing of Wills and Codicils, the winding-up of Estates and the administration of Trusts.

( c ) Business Law—

(i) Instruction on Company Formation and Partnership Agreements and respective advantages of each.

(ii) Outlines of Bankruptcy and Liquidation.

(iii) Financial aspects of Company Law. Instruction in the interpretation of balance sheets, accounts generally and financing of companies, including the operations of the Stock Exchange. General commercial knowledge.

( d ) Family Law—Practice and Procedure

The practical aspects of family work, e.g. property rights, infants, matrimonial problems, legal aid arrangements (as and when they operate).

( e ) Administrative Law—Practice and Procedure

The practical aspects of Local Government Law, including Town Planning, Administrative Tribunals under the Social Welfare Acts, the Land Commission and Land Acts.

( f ) Criminal and Civil Litigation

(i) Practice and procedure of Criminal Courts.

(ii) Practical instruction in the preparation of a prosecution case and the case for the defence, including instruction in the drawing of briefs and writing of opinions.

(iii) Practice and procedure in the Superior and Inferior Civil Courts.

(iv) Practical instruction in the drawing of pleadings, preparation of cases for advice and opinions.

(v) An advocacy course in both civil and criminal proceedings.

( g ) Ethics and Professional Conduct—probably based on the revised edition (now in preparation) of Sir Thomas Lund's book "A guide to Professional Conduct and Etiquette" adapted for Irish conditions.

Final 3—4 months after 18 months in Master's office.

( a ) Office administration including staff assessment, management and training, filing procedure, office systems etc.

( b ) Cost drawing (including time costing, computer application to office practice).

(Minimum of any two of the following)

( c ) Conveyancing, Land Law, the Law of Landlord and Tenant.

( d ) Company Law.

( e ) Tax planning and Estate Duty Planning.

( f ) Financial Planning including Banking, Investment and Tax advice.

( g ) Consumer Law.

( h ) Labour Law (including the Factories Acts, Social Welfare Acts, the Labour Court etc.).

( i ) Criminal Law and Evidence.

( j ) E.E.C. Law and Practice.

( k ) Bankruptcy and liquidation.

Note: Under the new arrangements an apprentice will not be allowed to spend more than 3 months in the town agent's office. The remainder of the 21 month period in an office MUST be spent in the master's office.