Legal Practitioners (Irish Language) Act 2008

Establishment of Irish Language Register (Law Society).

2.— Section 40 of the Solicitors Act 1954 is amended—

(a) by inserting the following subsection after subsection (2)—

“(2A) (a) In this subsection—

‘ advanced course’ means the course provided by the Society under paragraph (d);

‘ Minister’ means Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform;

‘ Professional Practice Course’ means a vocational course for the education or training of persons seeking to be admitted as solicitors;

‘ Register’ means Register established under paragraph (i).

(b) The Society shall have regard to the status of the Irish language as the first official language and, in particular, shall in so far as it is reasonable for it to do so, seek to ensure that an adequate number of solicitors are competent in the Irish language so as to be able to practise law through the Irish language as well as through the English language.

(c) (i) The Society shall provide a course of instruction in Irish legal terminology and the understanding of legal texts in the Irish language to all persons undertaking the Professional Practice Course. Such course shall not be subject to examination and shall be undertaken by all such persons (other than those who have undertaken or are undertaking the course referred to in paragraph (d)) with the aim of enabling the identification through the medium of Irish of a legal service that is required and, where appropriate, facilitating the referral to a practitioner who is competent to conduct the case through the Irish language.

(ii) Any person undertaking the Professional Practice Course who, before the commencement of section 2 of the Legal Practitioners (Irish Language) Act 2008, had passed both of the examinations in the Irish language provided for by regulations made under subsection (3) of this section shall be deemed to have attended the course referred to in subparagraph (i).

(d) The Society shall provide an advanced course for the practice of law through the Irish language as an optional subject for those pursuing the Professional Practice Course.

(e) The advanced course may, in addition to being an optional subject in the Professional Practice Course, be made available to such other persons as the Society shall determine from time to time, including but not limited to solicitors who wish to develop or retain a level of competence to practise through the Irish language.

(f) Before being admitted to the advanced course, an applicant for that course may be required by the Society to establish that he or she has reached a general level of competence and proficiency in the Irish language.

(g) The Society shall, at least once a year, hold an examination in the practice of law through the Irish language.

(h) A person shall not be eligible to sit an examination under paragraph (g), unless he or she has undertaken the advanced course.

(i) The Society shall establish and maintain a Register, to be known in the Irish language as Clár na Gaeilge (An Dlí-Chumann) and in the English language as the Irish Language Register (Law Society).

(j) The Society shall enter on the Register the name and contact details of a solicitor who has passed an examination under—

(i) paragraph (g), or

(ii) section 1 (7) of the Legal Practitioners (Irish Language) Act 2008.

(k) The Society shall ensure that—

(i) the Register is kept up to date, and is amended from time to time for that purpose, and

(ii) a copy of the Register (as so amended) is made available to the Honorable Society of King’s Inns.

(l) The Society shall, at all reasonable times, make available for public inspection without charge at its offices—

(i) a copy of the Register, and

(ii) a copy of the Irish Language Register (King’s Inns),

and that duty may be complied with by making those copies available on its website.

(m) (i) Not later than 31 March in each year, the Society shall furnish a report in writing in both the Irish language and the English language to the Minister on the operation of this subsection during the preceding year.

(ii) A report under subparagraph (i) shall contain details of—

(I) the number of persons taking the advanced course,

(II) the number of persons who sat the examination under paragraph (g),

(III) the number of persons who passed the examination under paragraph (g), and

(IV) such other information as the Minister may from time to time request.

(n) As soon as practicable after the Society furnishes a report under paragraph (m)(i), the Minister shall lay a copy of it before each House of the Oireachtas.”,


(b) by deleting subsection (3).