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About Law Society of Ireland

The Law Society of Ireland is the educational, representative and regulatory body of the solicitors’ profession in Ireland

20

formal submissions were made by the Law Society to Government in 2016/17

The Law Society exercises statutory functions under the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015 in relation to the education, admission, enrolment, discipline and regulation of the solicitors’ profession. It is the professional body for its solicitor members, to whom it also provides services and support.

BRIEF HISTORY

The Law Society of Ireland was established on 24 June 1830, with premises at Inns Quay, Dublin. The first president, Josiah Dunn, was elected in 1842.

The Law Society was incorporated by royal charter obtained from Queen Victoria on 5 April 1852 under the name of the ‘Incorporated Society of Attorneys and Solicitors of Ireland’. The charter referred to founding “an institution for facilitating the acquisition of legal knowledge, and for the better and more convenient discharging of professional duties of attorneys and solicitors”.

At the end of the 19th century, the legal functions of the Law Society were substantially increased by the Solicitors (Ireland) Act 1898, which repealed the act of 1866 and transferred control of education and important disciplinary functions from the direct supervision of the judges to that of the Society.

In 1888, the constitution of the Council of the Society was changed by supplemental charter, which provided that the Northern Law Society and Southern Law Association would each be entitled to appoint members to the Council.

The professions of attorney and solicitor were fused under the Supreme Court of Judicature (Ireland) Act 1877. As a consequence, the Law Society was granted a supplemental charter, again by Queen Victoria, on 14 December 1888, under which the Law Society was styled the ‘Incorporated Law Society of Ireland’.

In 1994, the Law Society’s name was changed once more, with ‘Incorporated’ being omitted from its title.

BLACKHALL PLACE

In 1671, a charitable school for boys of poor families was established, called the Hospital and Free School of King Charles II, Dublin. It became known as the King’s Hospital or ‘Blue Coat School’ because of the boys’ military-style blue uniform. Blackhall Place remained the home of the Blue Coat School until 1968.

The building was acquired by the Law Society in 1971 and, having completed substantial renovations, it was opened as the headquarters of the solicitors’ profession in 1978. The chapel, now known as the Presidents’ Hall, is adorned with fine plasterwork of the Georgian period, and was enhanced in the 20th century by the erection of a stained-glass east window by the Irish artist, Evie Hone.

GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE

The Law Society is governed by a Council, comprising elected and nominated members of the solicitors’ profession. The director general is the chief executive of the Law Society, with all of the powers and responsibilities usually vested in a chief executive.

A new Council is elected every year in November. It delegates statutory functions to a range of committees. A president and two vice-presidents are elected each year from among the elected Council members.

MEMBERSHIP

As at 30 June 2017, there were:

  • 17,604 names on the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland
  • 10,122 practising certificates issues in Ireland

The year that was

Stuart Gilhooly, President, Parchment Ceremony

Minister Charles Flanagan, Parchment Ceremony

Law Society Skillnet Cluster, Tralee

Parchment Ceremony

International Client Consultation Competition 2017

Parchment Ceremony

PRESIDENT'S REPORT

The solicitors’ profession is changing – and not just due to the usual external factors, such as statutory reform, technology advance and increased client demands.

“We now have 20% of all solicitors working in-house or in the public sector and 24% in the largest 20 firms in the country, all with over 40 solicitors and some with many multiples of that.”

The macro perspective focuses on how we, as solicitors, now provide services and to whom we provide them. Whereas 15 years ago, as many as 80% of solicitors would have been working in firms of ten solicitors or less – and a large portion of these in one or two-person firms – the dynamic has changed rapidly, particularly since the recession.

Stuart Gilhooly, President

We now have 20% of all solicitors working in-house or in the public sector, and 24% in the largest 20 firms in the country, all with over 40 solicitors and some with many multiples of that. 

All of this means that we have three categories of solicitor requiring and wanting representation from the Law Society. This is our greatest challenge, and has been the main focus of my presidential year when speaking to as many solicitors as possible, and hearing what they want from the Society.

From the largest firms in the country to the smallest bar associations, the director general and I have met, spoken with and listened to the concerns of our members. The In-house and Public Sector Committee has been our conduit to the diverse constituency that forms such a large part of our profession – one that is likely to continue growing. We have provided unprecedented resources to this committee in order to help it see its comprehensive programme through to fruition.

I’ve discovered that the most effective way of meeting with the greatest number of colleagues is by attending our excellent CPD cluster events. Between 100 and 200 practitioners attend each session. The quality of speakers is superb, and we deliver CPD topics that are specifically requested by the bar associations. These seminars have been among the highlights of the year.

This year, the annual conference was revamped to make it more accessible to a profession that is anxious to engage, but finds it hard to dedicate more than one day to such events due to work commitments. The Spring Gala in March was a huge success and we hope it will be replicated in future years.

As always, we find ourselves under attack from the insurance industry, which continues to blame legal costs and lawyers for high insurance premiums. A large element of our PR focus has been on debunking these myths, and providing the public and Government with the truth. Two Government committees have agreed with our submissions and have placed the blame squarely at the door of the insurers.

Reforms are now under way to address both the method in which personal injuries claims are valued, and in how the court system operates. The Personal Injuries Commission and the group to review the administration of civil justice in the State have begun their work. The Law Society has sought, and been granted, representation on both bodies.

As ever, we face – both as solicitors and as a representative body – ongoing challenges. I believe we are more equipped than ever to meet them, and we should be proud of our vibrant and evolving profession.

Stuart Gilhooly,
President, Law Society of Ireland

DIRECTOR GENERAL'S REPORT

One of the things I enjoy most about being director general of the Law Society is meeting with members.

 

“We countered the insurance industry’s propaganda machine with facts, arguments and information – with some considerable success. This was evidenced by the scathing criticism of the insurance industry in the Joint Oireachtas Finance Committee’s report.”

Each month, the president and I visit the bar associations across the country, and the larger commercial law firms, engaging with large numbers of colleagues, talking to them about what we are doing on their behalf, and taking their views on board.

Ken Murphy, Director General

This year, the president Stuart Gilhooly and I spent much of our time defending the legal profession against the completely spurious claims by the insurance industry that legal costs – and the legal system generally – are somehow responsible for the enormous hikes in the cost of motor insurance premiums in recent years. That is simply untrue.

In our meetings with the Joint Oireachtas Finance Committee, and our engagements with the print and broadcast media, we countered the insurance industry’s propaganda machine with facts, arguments and information – with some considerable success. This was evidenced by the scathing criticism of the insurance industry in the Joint Oireachtas Finance Committee’s report. The committee’s blame focused squarely on the insurers, and not on the legal profession or the legal system.

Associated with this issue was the collapse of the insurance company Setanta. There was a great deal of uncertainty around whether the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) would be held legally responsible for outstanding claims against Setanta. The Maltese-registered company collapsed in 2014, leaving 1,750 claims of up to €90 million unpaid.

The Law Society argued that MIBI was liable. The Society won its case in the High Court, and the subsequent appeal in the Court of Appeal. A surprise 5:2 Supreme Court judgment on 25 May 2017, however, overturned the potential liability of the MIBI. The judgment found that varying Minister of Transport agreements with the MIBI did not extend to insolvent insurers.

Outstanding claims against Setanta will now be met by the State’s Insurance Compensation Fund, which previously covered the disintegration of firms such as Quinn Insurance and PMPA. Claims will be capped at 65%.

LSRA COMMENCEMENT

On 1 October 2016, the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (established by law under the 2015 act) was commenced by ministerial order. This is the new body created to regulate legal services in Ireland. Naturally, there will be a significant level of interaction between the profession and the new authority when it becomes operational. The Society was strongly supportive of the legislation that was passed in 2015, and is cooperating closely with the new authority during the set-up phase.

JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS

In order to assist the legislative process, expert committees (ultimately governed by the Council of the Law Society) made a number of submissions on significant points of law. In March, the Society made a 25-page submission to the Government on the proposals contained in the scheme of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2016. This was the result of detailed research, conducted with the benefit of outside expertise on the issue, and following a full debate by the Law Society’s Council.

The Society is broadly supportive of the Government’s bill as a forward-looking, inclusive and contemporary approach to reforming the judicial selection system. However, it believes that some changes to the bill would improve it further, including increased diversity within the judiciary - specifically the appointment of more women, more solicitors and, in general, more candidates from wider social and geographical origins. This would enrich the judiciary with additional talents, skills and insights, and would be very much in the public interest.

TAXATION OF COSTS

A significant issue again this year, as in previous years, was the crisis in the taxation of costs system, which had pretty much ground to a halt.

As a result of several interventions by the Law Society, political action was taken and appointments were made, leading to a functioning taxation of costs system once again. Considerable progress has been made, also, in dealing with the arrears.

BREXIT

The true economic and political consequences of Brexit remain to be seen. One of the most immediate side effects has been the large influx of solicitors from England and Wales qualifying and transferring to the Roll in Ireland since the referendum – approximately 1,200 of them at the last count. To date, just one of the large international law firms has established an office in Dublin – Pinsent Masons – comprising three people.

While fears persist about the potential threats posed by Brexit, it will undoubtedly generate opportunities for Ireland. It is highly plausible that legal work from the Courts of Justice in London could be deflected to the Courts of Justice here, as well as other legal work as a result of transfers of economic activity. Our profession must be ready for this eventuality and, to this end, the Society has been busy making appropriate submissions to Government on behalf of our members.

Finally, my thanks goes to the highly professional and dedicated staff of the Law Society, and the many hundreds of colleagues who work and share their expertise through our committees, and on Council – all on behalf of the members of the profession. Their work in representing their colleagues continues to pay dividends for the profession, the general public, and the rule of law.

KEN MURPHY
DIRECTOR GENERAL

STRATEGY STATEMENT 2014-2018

The Law Society of Ireland’s Strategy Statement 2014-2018 sets out the strategic objectives that the Society will follow.

1,406

admissions to the Roll of Solicitors
in 2016
– an all-time high

 STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES 2014-2018

Six broad objectives have been set for the period 2014-2018. Each year, the Society will develop an annual operational plan. This sets out the key activities the Society will pursue in any one year, in order to further its strategic objectives:

  1. We will use our voice, our experience and our relationships to represent the solicitors’ profession and to champion its contribution to the Irish economy, the vindication of citizens’ rights and the rule of law.
  2. We will provide a strong voice in policy debate in order to inform decision-making on matters pertaining to the justice system and law reform.
  3. We will enable our members to achieve their potential as respected and trusted advisers and successful businesses.
  4. We will fulfil our statutory regulation functions to ensure fair and effective regulation of solicitors in the interests of the profession and the public.
  5. We will fulfil our statutory educational functions by delivering premier qualifications and high-quality ongoing education and training.
  6. We will be a valued resource for our members as a high-performance professional body.

The vision of the Law Society is to be “the trusted voice of a respected solicitors’ profession”.

Top Ten Achievements of 2016/2017

  1. EFFECTIVE SUBMISSIONS HIT THE MARK

    The Law Society’s committees and expert staff continued to provide a strong voice in policy debate on the justice system and law reform. They developed 20 formal submissions to Government on bills and legislative consultations during the year. There was a renewed focus on the role of the media as part of the process, which generated positive coverage on submissions such as the Judicial Appointments Committee Bill, the Mediation Bill, the Domestic Violence Bill and the pre-budget submission. Representatives were also invited to appear before Oireachtas committee hearings on three occasions.

  2. PHASE ONE OF ‘SYSTEM 360’ GOES LIVE

    Phase one of System 360 launched in June 2017, creating a central location for all membership, education and regulation data, and linking into our finance, intranet and website systems. System 360 is accessible to solicitors, firms, trainees and students, with the ability to self-manage updates to personal and professional records. A number of regulatory processes can now be accessed through the system, including the practising certificate and PII renewal processes. The system will be the portal for payments to the Law Society, as well as orders for courses and products online.

  3. STREET LAW RECOGNISED AND EXPANDS

    More than 40 trainees and 500 participants were involved in Street Law programmes in schools, community settings and prisons during the year. This programme featured in an episode of RTÉ’s Nationwide – and the model used in the Irish programme has been replicated by the Law Society of Scotland, which recently won an award. A journal paper documenting the approach was published in the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education (July 2017). There are plans to expand the Street Law programme over coming months and extend the prison outreach to Mountjoy Prison.

  4. CALCUTTA RUN BRINGS PROFESSION TOGETHER

    In May, more than 1,200 runners and 80 cyclists from across the profession came together to take part in the annual 'Calcutta Run – the legal fundraiser'. More than €220,000 was raised for the two charity partners – the Peter McVerry Trust and the Hope Foundation. A new cycling element was added this year, involving a challenging 80km circuit. Details of the event and winners can be found at www.calcuttarun.com. Sponsorship continues to be provided by Bank of Ireland and DX.

  5. 10,000 PRACTISING CERTIFICATES ISSUED FOR THE FIRST TIME

    In the year under review, for the first time ever, the Society issued over 10,000 practising certificates to solicitors in a single year. At the end of 2016, there were 10,080 practising certificate (PC) holders – a 4% increase on the 9,688 PC holders at the end of the previous year. And in another first, there was a tie at the top of the list of largest law firms, with Arthur Cox and A&L Goodbody vying for pole position with 275 practising solicitors at the end of 2016. Matheson remains the third largest firm. (See Law Society Gazette, Jan/Feb 2017, p9.)

  6. NEW PRACTISING SOLICITORS’ MEMBER LOGO LAUNCHED

    In March, the Law Society launched a new logo for use by practising solicitor members across all sectors of the profession. The new logo has been designed to distinguish practising solicitors, who choose to use it, from other competing professionals and non-professionals. The logo features an image of Lady Justice, blindfolded and proudly holding aloft the scales of justice. It can be used on firms’ stationery, websites, solicitor member business cards and various other marketing materials. It represents the benefits and protections that clients enjoy every time they use a solicitor. It can be downloaded from the Representation section at www.lawsociety.ie/memberlogo and can be viewed on YouTube.

  7. MAJOR SUCCESS IN TRAINEE COMPETITIONS

    The Society’s trainee solicitors continued to display excellence in international skills’ competitions this year, with Leah Morgan (McCann FitzGerald) winning the individual speaker award in The Irish Times debating competition in February. In April, Neil Nolan (Ronan Daly Jermyn) and Conor Cawley (Gore & Grimes) took the top prize at the International Client Interviewing Competition, while, in May, Gavin Anderson (Beauchamps), Wuraola Olatunbosun (Matheson), Glen Rogers (McCann FitzGerald) and Faye Rowlands (A&L Goodbody) came second in the Telders International Law Moot Court Competition in The Hague. Ms Olatunbosun also won two other oral advocacy prizes.

  8. INAUGURAL SPRING GALA SUCCESS

    In March, the Law Society introduced a brand new social and professional development event to the legal calendar – the Law Society Spring Gala and Symposium – replacing the annual conference. The symposium featured input from prominent global lawyers on the theme of ‘miscarriages of justice’. That evening, the black-tie Spring Gala featured the famously forthright Alastair Campbell as the dinner speaker. Guests were warmly welcomed and expertly guided through the evening by master of ceremonies Miriam O’Callaghan. Most importantly, the event raised more than €22,000 for the Solicitors' Benevolent Association.

  9. RTÉ NATIONWIDE FEATURE

    In February, the Law Society was proud to be featured on Nationwide – one of the most successful and highly rated prime-time TV programmes on RTÉ One. An entire episode was dedicated to the Society’s Street Law initiative, the Access Programme and our modern Law School. The core of the programme showcased the solicitors' profession through the eyes of two practitioners, Kathleen Doocey and Liam Fitzgerald, together with students from Tallaght Community School and trainee solicitors in the Law School. One of the highlights was a whirlwind tour of the historic buildings at Blackhall Place.

  10. JUSTICE MEDIA AWARDS JUST GET BETTER

    A total of 120 of Ireland’s leading journalists gathered at Blackhall Place on 22 June to celebrate the 26th annual Justice Media Awards – Ireland’s longest-running legal reporting awards. Designed to recognise, reward and encourage excellence, the record-breaking event featured a remarkable 50% increase in entries compared with 2016, which director general Ken Murphy said was indicative of the ever-increasing standards of legal journalism throughout the country. In all, 42 prizes were awarded to local, national, and digital media outlets from across the island of Ireland. RTÉ’s Nationwide was the overall winner on the day.

Justice Media Awards 2017

Alastair Campbell, Spring Gala 2017

Street Law Programme

Membership summary

Member and community engagement

MEMBER ENGAGEMENT
Spring Gala 2017

Over 380 members and invited guests attended the inaugural Law Society Spring Gala on 24 March 2017 at the InterContinental Hotel, Dublin. The successful black-tie event featured Miriam O’Callaghan as MC and keynote speaker Alastair Campbell. It raised over €22k for the Solicitors' Benevolent Association.

Law and Women Mentoring Programme

The Law and Women Mentoring Programme was launched in late 2016, in partnership with the Law Society, the Bar of Ireland and the Irish Women Lawyers’ Association. Over-subscription to apply for the programme demonstrated a strong demand for the initiative, which will return in 2018.

Practising solicitor logo

The new ‘Practising solicitor‘ member logo was launched in March 2017, supported by a nationwide advertising campaign. It has been designed to distinguish practising solicitors from other competing professionals and non-professionals, and is available for solicitor members and their firms to use on firm stationery, websites, business cards and marketing materials.

Regional cluster events

A total of 1,649 participants attended the regional cluster events held around Ireland – an increase of 8% on the previous year. A successful local media public relations campaign accompanied the events, creating collaboration opportunities between the Law Society and local bar associations.

Supreme Court Legal Assistance/Legal Representation Scheme

The Courts Service initiated a pilot scheme to assist unrepresented people who are parties to appeals from either the Court of Appeal or the High Court. The Law Society facilitated the formation of a panel of volunteer solicitors to participate in the scheme.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Calcutta Run 2017 – the legal fundraiser

The annual Calcutta Run, held in May 2017, brought together 1,200 walkers/runners and 80 cyclists drawn from the wider legal profession and their families. Over €220k was raised for charity partners (Peter McVerry Trust and Hope Foundation). The event celebrates its ‘china anniversary’ (20 years) in 2018.

School and community programmes

The Law Society has a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility Charter and delivered thousands of volunteer hours of community engagement during the year. This included 40 trainees delivering the Street Law programme to over 500 school and community participants, volunteers undertaking work as part of the Habitat for Humanity initiative, delivering tours and public events as part of Culture Night and National Heritage Week, and opening up the Society’s facilities for local schools’ sports days.

Irish Rule of Law International

Irish Rule of Law International is a joint initiative of the Society and the Bar of Ireland, dedicated to promoting the rule of law in developing countries. IRLI seeks to harness the skills of Irish lawyers by using law and legal studies training as a means of tackling global injustice and empowering all people to live in a society free from inequality, corruption and conflict. Projects were undertaken in Malawi during the year.

COUNCIL OF THE LAW SOCIETY

The Law Society of Ireland is governed by a Council, comprising elected and nominated members of the solicitors’ profession. It also delegates statutory functions to a range of committees.

500,000

people visited the Law Society’s website in the last 12 months

The purpose of the Council is identified in the charter of 1852 to act “for the better rule and government of the Society, and for the better direction and management of the concerns thereof ”. The statutory functions of the Society, as set out in the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015, are exercised by the Council or by committees to which the Council delegates those statutory functions. The Council represents the Society and its members, both in the interests of the public and of the solicitors’ profession generally.

The functions performed by Council can be divided into:

  • Representation of the members,
  • Education and admission,
  • Regulation and discipline, and
  • Protection of clients.

Year ending 3 November 2017

Council Members

PRESIDENT: Stuart Gilhooly

SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT: Michael Quinlan

JUNIOR VICE-PRESIDENT: James Cahill

COUNCIL MEMBERS: William Aylmer, Bernadette Cahill, Christopher Callan, Justine Carty, Maura Derivan, Patrick Dorgan, Paul Egan, Alan Gannon, John Glynn, Eamon Harrington, Paul Keane, Liam A Kennedy, Martin G Lawlor, Rosemarie Loftus, Barry MacCarthy, Flor McCarthy, Aisling Meehan, Michelle Ní Longáin, Michele O’Boyle, Daniel O’Connor, Kevin O’Higgins, Deirdre O’Sullivan, Valerie Peart, Liam Quirke, Imelda Reynolds, Catherine Tarrant, Brendan J Twomey, Keith Walsh

PAST-PRESIDENTS: James McCourt, John P Shaw, Simon Murphy

PROVINCIAL DELEGATES: Martin Crotty (Leinster), Richard Hammond (Munster), Garry Clarke (Ulster), David Higgins (Connaught)

DUBLIN SOLICITORS' BAR ASSOCIATION REPRESENTATIVES: Aaron McKenna, Greg Ryan, Robert Ryan

SOUTHERN LAW ASSOCIATION REPRESENTATIVES: Terence O’Sullivan, Mary C Keane, Don Murphy, Shane McCarthy, Peter Groarke

LAW SOCIETY OF NORTHERN IRELAND REPRESENTATIVES: John Guerin, Arleen Elliott, Ian Huddleston, Richard Palmer, Michael Robinson

 

Organisational Structure

The Law Society is led on a day-to-day basis by the director general, Ken Murphy, who leads a team of five departmental heads as part of his management team.

The management team meets weekly, overseeing the implementation of the strategic plan, and providing the main conduit between the Council and its staff.

The following functional organisational chart provides an overview of the management team and information on the responsibilities of each department.

DIRECTORS' REPORTS

Reports from the Society's Departments of Policy and Public Affairs, Representation and Member Services, Education, Regulation and Finance and Administration.

POLICY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT

418

members of the profession contribute to the Society’s committees voluntarily 

MARY KEANE, DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL

 It was an active 12 months for the Policy and Public Affairs (PPA) department, as we continued the Society’s objective “to provide a strong voice in policy debate in order to inform decision-making on matters pertaining to the justice system and law reform”.

The Society’s policy function is led by the Council and the officers, and is delivered by the combined efforts of:

  • 39 committees, task forces and working groups, spanning the entire range of regulatory, representational and organisational affairs,
  • 418 members of the profession, contributing their time and expertise on a voluntary basis, and
  • 37 highly-qualified and experienced members of staff, who work directly or indirectly in support of committee work.

In the year under review, we delivered:

  • 33 returns to the Lobbying Register on a wide range of policy areas, including criminal law, family law, taxation and company law,
  • 20 formal submissions to Government departments and ministers,
  • Three appearances before Oireachtas committees, and
  • Input into three studies conducted by the Legal Services Regulatory Authority.

The solicitors’ profession, through the Society, has a strong presence across a wide range of external bodies, both within and external to the legal sphere, nationally and internationally. Examples include the Courts Service, the Revenue Commissioners, the International Bar Association, International Chambers of Commerce and the CCBE (Association of European Bars).

In all, the Society has 104 nominees across 54 separate organisations, each working to build alliances and relationships, to contribute to civil society and the administration of justice, and to progress the Society’s law reform agenda. During 2017, the PPA department conducted an analysis of the Society’s engagement with other bodies, and the supports provided by the Society to its nominees.

Two policy projects dominated the work of PPA during the year under review – the FATF evaluation of Ireland, and the eConveyancing Project. The FATF evaluation was conducted by an international team of assessors, who engaged in an in-depth evaluation of all aspects of the country’s anti-money-laundering systems and processes, including compliance by the solicitors’ profession.

Eighteen months of intensive preparation culminated in a two-week visit by the FATF team, which met with representatives of Government, the enforcement authorities, the Central Bank, financial institutions and designated bodies, including the Law Society, in November 2016. The results of the evaluation were presented at a FATF plenary session in June 2017, and the final report was published in September 2017. The report indicates a successful outcome for Ireland, but with some remedial actions to be taken.

The Society’s eConveyancing Team conducted a strategic review of the eConveyancing Project in the course of the year, while continuing to develop its work processes for a re-engineered system for the efficient transfer of property. The Society remains committed to a leadership role in the move to a fully electronic conveyancing system, as part of a Government-supported national infrastructure IT programme.

Work also continued on a parallel project to develop an advanced electronic signature for solicitors.

REPRESENTATION AND MEMBER SERVICES DEPARTMENT

€22,622

was raised for the Solicitors’ Benevolent Association at the Spring Gala 2017

TERI KELLY, DIRECTOR OF REPRESENTATION AND MEMBER SERVICES

The last 12 months has been a successful and energising period within the RMS department, delivering on a number of key projects and continuing to enhance the reputation of the profession.

Media and PR highlights for the year included:

  • The broadcast of a full episode of RTÉ’s Nationwide programme, covering Street Law and the Access Programme,
  • Implementation of a new process for generating media coverage of the Society’s submissions to Government - notable successes included coverage of submissions relating to the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, the Domestic Violence Bill and the pre-budget submission.

A number of successful stakeholder events were delivered:

  • Spring Gala 2017 - the inaugural event saw 380 attendees, featured guest speaker Alistair Campbell, and raised over €22,622 for the Solicitors’ Benevolent Association,
  • Justice Media Awards - record number of entries received (a 50% increase on 2016) and significant media coverage generated,
  • Communications Day - a record 60 participants attended the revamped session.

There were major achievements in digital communications, including:

  • Support for the delivery of stage one of System 360 - a facilitated system upgrade for firm administrators to improve payment and information access,
  • Almost 500,000 people visited the Law Society website in the last 12 months,
  • Steady increases in social media hits following engagement. Twitter (5,600 followers) and Facebook (12,500 followers) were the mainstays, while there has been a rapid increase in engagement due to an enhanced LinkedIn page and member-only groups. We launched a new Instagram account in late 2016.

We were delighted this year when Law Society Gazette editor Mark McDermott was named the ‘Editor of the Year’ at the Irish Magazine Awards 2016.

The Gazette itself underwent a significant redesign in 2017 that has been well received by members. There was a 14% increase in the number of visitors to the gazette.ie website, which now moves into an exciting new phase as gazette.ie is transformed into a daily legal news service.

Our core library services for members, trainees and students were also priorities during the year, with ongoing increases in the uptake of book loans, the enquiry service, precedent service, document delivery and industry awareness services. In all,

  • Over 6,000 queries were responded to,
  • The LawWatch eNewsletter database passed 10,000 subscribers,
  • Over 1,300 full text court judgments were added to the database - a resource that now contains around 14,000 reserved written judgments.

Our Support Services section dealt with over 9,500 member enquiries and 440 one-to-one career consultations.Other highlights included:

  • Two ‘Return to Work’ programmes for solicitors re-entering the workforce after taking time away to care for family,
  • The Legal Vacancies website usage grew, with more than 2.5 million views,
  • The Career Support service expanded, with 2,800 solicitors now registered.

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

3,209

participants from 29 countries took part in the free MOOC on Employment Law in the Digital Age

TP KENNEDY, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

The year 2016 set an all-time record for admissions to the Roll of Solicitors, with 1,406 admissions. Much of this was accounted for by the admission of solicitors from England and Wales (806) – in 2015 there were 70 such applicants. This was almost matched by the 525 Irish trainees who qualified – the highest number in five years. The Brexit surge is still continuing and, as of 10 October 2017, a further 440 English and Welsh solicitors have been admitted. We anticipate these larger numbers continuing, at least until there is clarity on the terms of Britain and Northern Ireland leaving the EU.

In September 2016, 402 trainees began the PPC1. A total of 411 trainees did likewise in 2017. There has been a modest recovery in the number of training contracts. In tandem, numbers sitting the Final Examination – First Part have been increasing.

Our trainee solicitors continue to display their abilities in international skills competitions. We were delighted to see Neil Nolan (Ronan Daly Jermyn) and Conor Cawley (Gore & Grimes) win the International Client Interviewing Competition at the University of Canterbury against 19 teams from professional and postgraduate law schools around the world.

Gavin Anderson (Beauchamps), Wuraola Olatunbosun (Matheson), Glen Rogers (McCann FitzGerald) and Faye Rowlands (A&L Goodbody) came second in the Telders International Law Moot Court Competition. Their arguments (oral and written) were made before judges of the International Court in the Peace Palace in the Hague. Wuraola then picked up two further oral advocacy awards. Another notable prizewinner was Leah Morgan (McCann FitzGerald) who won the individual speaker award in The Irish Times debating competition. We are very proud of our award-winning students.

At post-qualification level, the Diploma Centre goes from strength to strength. A total of 1,005 attendees attended 30 diploma and certificate courses during the last 12 months.

A free MOOC (massive open online course) was provided on employment law in the digital age. Over 3,209 participants from 29 countries took part. We were very pleased that the Diploma Prospectuswas awarded the best postgraduate prospectus at the Higher Education Authority awards, and that, for the second year running, the Diploma Centre won the Irish Law Award for service provider to the legal profession.

RTÉ’s Nationwide programme on the Law Society featured segments on the Law School’s PPC1 programme and the teaching skills employed, as well as the Access Programme, which provides funding and support for those from a background of socio-economic disadvantage who wish to qualify as solicitors. The programme looked at our ongoing Street Law project, which equips trainees to teach a legal course to students in Dublin based DEIS schools. This year, 40 PPC1 trainees provided this course to 500 school students. The course helps students realise the relevance of law for them, and also encourages them to consider the possibility of a legal qualification in their future.

Professional Training has seen large numbers attending its mix of seminars and conferences. The regional cluster conferences have now been held all over Ireland, in association with local bar associations. Many of these are being offered in new venues. A number of new courses were offered, including an executive leadership masterclass.

REGULATION DEPARTMENT

10,080

the number of practising certificate holders in this jurisdiction

JOHN ELLIOT, REGISTRAR OF SOLICITORS AND DIRECTOR OF REGULATION

The Regulation Department has been engaging with the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) in its commencement phase. The department has provided significant input to the Society’s submissions to the authority on legal partnerships, multi-disciplinary practices and restrictions on barristers, which are available on the Society’s website at www.lawsociety.ie/LSRA. The department continues to be a key participant in the Society’s Legal Services Regulation Act Task Force, the remit of which includes the provision of information and education to the profession on the new act.

The department is actively preparing for the potential impact of Brexit on the regulatory functions of the Society. We assess that, since the Brexit Referendum, 227 Irish practising certificates have been issued to British solicitors. We have engaged in extensive work in connection with anti-money-laundering, cybersecurity and advertising regulations, which is covered in the Regulation of Practice Committee report.

 We met with the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information regarding how the profession identifies the legal and beneficial ownership of trusts and corporate structures for anti-money-laundering purposes.

The Regulation Department and the Property Registration Authority have agreed to work together to develop an anti-fraud strategy aimed at combating the increasing threat of property fraud.

A review of the administration process for claims on the compensation fund took place. The review resulted in the appointment of a claims supervisor and process improvements. Claims processing is now substantially up to date.

As always, we continue to give talks on regulatory requirements at cluster events and bar association seminars.

From July 2016 to June 2017, six solicitors were struck off the Roll of Solicitors.

There are 10,080 practising certificate holders in this jurisdiction, of which 52% are female and 48% male.

The strong focus on ensuring on-time practising certificate applications and enforcing the requirement to backdate late practising certificates by application to the High Court continues. Where necessary, action is taken against solicitors practising without a practising certificate, or practising in breach of practising certificate conditions.

The Regulation Department continues to improve the common proposal form and professional indemnity insurance (PII) guidelines. The extensive PII information on the PII webpage on the Society’s website now includes new risk management guidance.

Complaints about solicitors’ undertakings are once again reducing, which is a welcome development.

The practice closures section continues its challenging work of dealing with distressed firm closures. During the past year, nine orders compelling firms to hand over client files to the Society were granted by the High Court. We liaise with clients, their solicitors and third parties seeking to ensure that the interests of clients are protected in difficult circumstances.

The department continues to be intensively involved in the 'System 360' project, which should herald a fundamental improvement in information technology used by the Society to achieve a more user-friendly electronic environment for our members.

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT

€220k

was raised by members of the profession in this year’s Calcutta Run

CILLIAN MAC DOMHNAILL, DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION

The Finance and Administration Department’s job is to provide internal services, infrastructure and support to the Society’s core business functions of representation, education and regulation.

Of course, prudent financial management, ensuring value for money spent, process improvements, and protecting the Society’s financial assets have been at the heart of the department’s work over the past 12 months.

The Society’s income for 2016 (excluding the compensation fund) was €24.8 million, an increase of 9% on 2015. General operations accounted for 61% of the income, with education accounting for 39%. This income was managed to ensure that members and students receive value for money through a detailed budgeting process, close monitoring of finances throughout the year, and future planning through an annual five-year planning process.

The finance function also made very significant strides in its eCommerce Strategy, resulting in over 95% of the Society’s invoices, payslips and payments being done electronically. The finance function also oversaw the sale of the SMDF 'book' and the closing off of this liability at €13.5 million. The department has also been liaising with the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) in relation to the financial dimensions of the authority.

The department also put in place two member schemes. The 2016/17 finance scheme for preliminary tax, pensions, professional indemnity insurance and practising certificate costs proved as attractive as ever, with 131 firms financing loans of over €4 million. The Group Life Scheme, which provides cover of €47,500, benefited the families of 14 solicitors over the last 12 months.

The facilities function continued its role of maintaining and protecting the historic building at Blackhall Place through the implementation of a conservation plan. A number of major building projects are currently in train, including an 'academic street', works to the library and to the façade of the Education Centre, acoustics in the Presidents' Hall, among others. The Society opened Blackhall Place to the public on Culture Night, Heritage Week, Open House, and the Smithfield and Stoneybatter Festival. The premises and grounds were also made available to numerous local charities throughout the year.

The IT section’s main activity for the last 12 months has been the implementation of 'System 360', which is a very significant investment in a member-management system, approved by the AGM in 2015, with a budget of €3.5 million. This Society-wide project will ensure that its systems adequately support its various roles into the future. It will integrate the membership and education systems and will include member-friendly interfaces to ensure efficient online interaction between members and the Society. The implementation is being phased over three years, and a major milestone was reached in June 2017, with the 'go-live' of phase one.

Once again, the department spearheaded the Society’s involvement with the Calcutta Run. This year, 1,200 runners/walkers and 80 cyclists helped to raise over €220,000 for the Peter McVerry Trust and the event’s new beneficiary, the Hope Foundation (replacing GOAL).

Committee Overview

227

Irish practising certificates have been issued to British solicitors following the Brexit Referendum. As of 10 October, 1,246 solicitors from England and Wales have been admitted to the Roll

Standing Committees

The Solicitors Acts state that the Council exercises the statutory functions of the Society, which are set out in the acts. The Council may delegate the exercise of any of its functions to a committee established for that purpose. This allows the Council to appoint standing committees that exercise statutory functions on its behalf. 

Non-Standing Committees

The Law Society’s Council appoints non-standing committees where it believes that these can better assist the Society in carrying out its work. These committees do not perform statutory functions. 

COMPLAINTS AND CLIENT RELATIONS COMMITTEE

Paul Egan, Chairperson

The Complaints and Client Relations Committee deals with complaints against solicitors related to adequacy of professional service, standard of professional conduct, and level of fees. It operates in three separate divisions when dealing with specific complaints against solicitors. Each division consists of three solicitor members and four lay members. The committee met in plenary or in divisions on 22 occasions during the year, with 189 new matters being referred to it during that period.

Sadly, we lost a long-serving lay member, Michael Lynch, who died in October 2016, but we were fortunate to secure the services of lay members Bríd Horan and Tom Coughlan, who were appointed by the Council of the Law Society on the nomination of the Institute of Public Administration.

Overall complaint numbers are down by 422 – or 1,407 compared with 1,829 the previous year. This drop can be attributed in large part to the fall in the number of complaints about solicitors’ undertakings, which fell from 829 last year to 404 this year, a difference of 425. There were increases in complaints alleging excessive fees (up 15), and in allegations of inadequate professional services (up 59). There were no perceptible trends in any of the other categories of complaint. The committee sent forward 28 matters to the disciplinary tribunal.

The committee has observed in many cases that the implementation of simple procedures of project management can act effectively to forestall and remedy complaints.

The committee unanimously welcomed the introduction of paperless meetings. The committee agenda and all supporting documentation are now circulated to each committee member electronically by means of a secure encrypted transmission. The committee congratulates the Society’s Complaints Section on retaining, for the 13th year in succession, the ISO 9001:2008 quality assurance certification.

The committee continues to monitor developments at the Legal Services Regulatory Authority, which will eventually take over the committee’s role in complaints handling. I would like to thank the committee members – both solicitor members and lay members – for the time, care, and attention that they devote to the committee’s work.

COORDINATION COMMITTEE

Stuart Gilhooly, Chairperson

The Coordination Committee operates as a link between the Society’s committees and the Council, with an oversight role for the projects undertaken by each of the Society’s committees. It reviews the benefit of these projects in terms of resources and delivery, and allocates finances within an overall budget determined by the Finance Committee. It considers requests to pursue specific proposals or seek expert advice during the course of the year and ensures that the direction and priority of projects are appropriate to the Society’s overall objectives. The committee also monitors implementation of the recommendations of the Future of the Law Society Task Force and reports on progress to the Council.

At the start of each Council year, the Coordination Committee meets with the chairs of the Society’s standing committees to consider ongoing issues and to plan for the year ahead. It also coordinates the annual training workshop for new committee members, with a focus on the role of a committee member, the importance of active participation, and how the committee’s policy output is received by other stakeholders. Work will continue to ensure that the necessary supports and guidance are available to the committees, as they fulfil a key Society function for our members and other stakeholders.

A further function of the committee is the consideration of matters falling outside the remit of any of the other committees. During the past year, the committee addressed a number of issues, including:

  • A proposed change to the governance structure of LawCare,
  • Approval of the Society’s Wellbeing Statement,
  • Proposed supports for sole practitioners,
  • The Society’s inventory of Brexit-related issues,
  • A submission to Government on the administration of oaths,
  • A review of the Society’s supports for representatives on external bodies,
  • The Financial and Business Structure Survey 2017,
  • Requests for meetings with visiting groups of lawyers, and
  • The nomination of representatives to a number of external bodies.

EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Brendan Twomey, Chairperson

The committee commissioned a review of the Society’s professional legal education system by Prof Paul Maharg , which commenced mid-2016. It is estimated to take six months, following which it will be considered by the committee and then by Council. New CPD regulations were passed, to take effect from 1 January 2018.

The Diploma Centre and Law Society Professional Training continue to offer a wide range of postgraduate courses for solicitors and run the cluster events nationwide in collaboration with local bar associations.

The provision of online courses continues, and over 6,000 have participated in the Diploma Centre’s massive open online courses to date.

The Diploma Centre won ‘Best Service Provider to the Legal Profession’ at the Irish Law Awards 2017 and ‘Best Postgraduate Prospectus’ at the Higher Education Awards 2017.

The Street Law initiative, run by the Diploma Centre in partnership with Georgetown University Law Centre and the Trinity Access Programmes, continues. The committee re-established a trainee loan scheme with the Bank of Ireland to facilitate trainees borrowing for the payment of PPC1 and PPC2 fees. Work on the improvement of the ‘Academic Street’ is well underway and, when completed, will improve the environment for students, staff and members.

The committee will continue to monitor changes in England and Wales in the light of Brexit and, in particular, the introduction of the Single Qualification Exam by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. I thank the director of education, T P Kennedy, all the staff in the Education Department, committee secretary Paula Sheedy, the CPD Unit, and Ian Ryan (trainee executive) for their support and professionalism.

Sincere thanks to all of my committee colleagues and, in particular, my vice-chair Keith Walsh and my predecessor Valerie Peart.

 

FINANCE COMMITTEE

Eamon Harrington, Chairperson

In 2016, financially, the main operations of the Law Society – general activities and education – performed significantly better than in 2015. General activities were budgeted at close to break-even and Law School activities for a small loss. Both performed substantially better than this. Despite increasing cost pressures, it was possible to maintain the practising certificate fee at its 2015 level due to the ceasing of contributions to the Capital Reserve Fund and the reallocation of these to general activities. The Finance Committee was anxious to stave off potential increases in the practising certificate fee for as long as possible. Matters were also helped by the non-spending of a provision of €650k in relation to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) set up.

The after-tax surplus from operations was €1.2m (2015: loss €1.1m). This equates to 5% of operational income and exactly equalled the budgeted operational loss made in 2015. The general activities surplus was €680k (which was better than budget by €461k). Education activities earned a surplus of €528k against a budgeted loss of €91k. Reserves, including amounts allocated to the Capital Expenditure and Litigation Funds, increased before adjustments by €1.8m (2015: €715k).

In the audited financial statements, there are a number of exceptional items and revaluations that must be included, albeit that they are outside normal operations. The primary one is the taking on of the remaining deferred cost of the sale of the SMDF as a net liability of €4.2m. This will be eliminated over the next two years through practising certificate fee income being allocated to the SMDF Levy Fund. The second major adjustment is the provision of an additional €1m income based on the revaluation of the Benburb Street site from €6.5m to €7.5m.

In accordance with current accounting standard FRS 102, the financial performance of the staff pension scheme must also be shown in both the income statement and the balance sheet. Last year, there was a positive readjustment of €2.5m in the pension liability. In 2016, this was a negative adjustment of €4.8m. 

The Finance Committee is not concerned about this as, given good pension scheme investment returns in 2016, this movement is totally attributable to the changes in the bond rate used to calculate the FRS 102 liability. Measured through actuarial valuations done by Mercer, our pension scheme is in good health.It is unfortunate that the accounting standard creates artificial surpluses and deficits.

Overall, these adjustments have resulted in showing the Law Society, which had a surplus of €1.8m, as having an overall accounting deficit of €6.3m.

AFTER TAX OPERATING SURPLUS

To further complicate matters, the operational surpluses for the Law Society are incorporated in ‘group’ accounts that include all Law Society subsidiaries. Overall, the Society’s group made a loss of €6.3m (2015: surplus €3.2m) after tax and exceptional items. The group accounts give a full picture of the financial performance and financial position of all Law Society operations, but they can distort the view of the performance of the various elements of the operation. The ‘overall results’ table shows the management account results, which are the actual operating outcomes of the various elements of the Society’s operations.

FINANCE COMMITTEE (Cont'd 2 of 4)

OVERALL RESULTS

INCOME SOURCES 2016

OUR INCOME

Total income was €24.8m, which was €2.2m ahead of 2015 (€22.7m). Practising certificate, membership, and admission fees were €13.7m (2015: €12.9m), an increase of 6%. This increase was driven by a 4% increase in practising certificate numbers and a significant increase in admission fees as a result of Brexit admissions to the Roll. Education income, at €9.7m, was up by 18% and income from other sources, such as advertising, publications, and Four Courts, at €1.5m, was on par with 2015.

In 2016, there were 10,080 practising certificate holders (2015: 9,688), which was an increase of 392 (4%) on 2015. Of this increase, only 93 were attributable to Brexit admissions. The additional 392 practising certificates accounted for €392k of the income increase.

Membership numbers, at 11,025 (2015: 10,479,) rose by 546. This increase included 150 practising certificate holders who had previously not taken out membership and had thus excluded themselves from various services, such as the library, right to vote at AGMs, etc. Membership numbers include 305 solicitors who availed of free membership on the basis of being over 50 years admitted or being unemployed. There was a record high of 1,406 admissions to the Roll in 2016 (2015: 359), which significantly beat the previous record of 777 in 2008. This spectacular increase is completely attributable to 806 Brexit admissions.

Practising certificate fee income totalling €558k (2015:€1.9m) was allocated to the Capital Expenditure Fund (€94k) and the Litigation Fund (€464k). The year -on-year difference is accounted for by the reallocation of €1.4m from the Capital Reserve Fund to general activities on the termination of that fund.

PRACTISING CERTIFICATE HOLDERS AND MEMBERS
2011–2016

FINANCE COMMITTEE (Cont'd 3 of 4)

Education activities income was €9.7m (2015: €8.2m). Of this, income from professional practice courses, exams, etc, accounted for €6.8m, and professional training (LSPT) seminars, diploma courses, and grants accounted for €2.9m. There were 404 PPC1 students in September 2016 (2015: 384). This increase of 5% was slightly above budget. FE1 sittings at 2,058 (2015: 1,900), while continuing to grow at about 8%, are still very far off their high of 3,328 in 2007. Diploma course income at €1.8m was €300k ahead of 2015. LSPT, with its Skillnet and Finuas programmes, had overall income, including grants, of €1.1m (2015: €869k).

OUR EXPENDITURE

Overall expenditure was €23.4m, which was an increase of 3% on 2015 (€22.7m). On the general activities side, the increase of €345k was mainly in representation services, including additional costs in relation to the Setanta Insurance case and costs associated with PII policy and the eConveyancing Project. These were somewhat offset by income increases in relation to Gazette advertising and online vacancies. The overall general activities expenditure increase was 3%. Education activities operating charges increased by €281k (3%), which was mainly due to increases in direct costs of additional course provision.

‘Other expenditure’ noted in the accounts are the costs associated with our subsidiaries and were €631k (2015: €527k).

AREAS OF EXPENDITURE 2016

OUR BALANCE SHEET

The position shown by our balance sheet is significantly distorted by the FRS 102 accounting standard requirements. These required three major adjustments in 2016. The first is a positive one and is an increase in the valuation of the Benburb Street site from €6.5m to €7.5m. The second is the inclusion of a provision for the deferred costs of €5m on the sale of the SMDF, which is offset by €821k in the SMDF Levy Fund. This means that our balance sheet reserves show a net decrease of €4.2m, despite the fact that this provision will be eliminated through SMDF Levy Fund income over the next two years.

The third main adjustment is the increase in the deficit on the staff pension scheme (closed to new entrants since 2009) from €1.4m to €6.2m. While this represents 15% of the value of the liabilities, it is based on FRS 102 assumptions. Our actuaries have determined, based on their actuarial model, that the current contribution rate will eliminate any real deficit over the long term.

As a consequence of these adjustments, our net asset position now stands at €23.9m (2015: €30.2m). However, if you factor out these exceptional adjustments, reserves would actually increase to €34.9m. Of our reserves, €22.5m are accounted for by fixed assets. The reserves also include two contingency funds for capital expenditure (€2.2m) and litigation (€1.7m). Both funds are designed to meet costs in these areas as they arise.

The sale of the SMDF liability in October 2016 has resulted in a provision for a deferred cost of €5m. This, combined with previous contributions of €8m plus various transaction costs and interest, will result in the overall cost to members of the SMDF financial support being approximately €13.5m.

FINANCE COMMITTEE (Cont'd 4 of 4)

RESERVES 2016

SUBSIDIARIES

The group structure includes a number of subsidiary entities that are effectively run on a break-even basis. The Law Club of Ireland operates the commercial elements of the Blackhall Place premises and, after subsidies and net of management fees of €110k, made an operational loss of €19k (2015: surplus €9k). Benburb Street Property Company Limited, which owns and manages the Benburb Street site, made an operational loss of €8k (2015: loss €7k) before allowing for the revaluation of €1m on the site.

2017

The increase in practising certificates in 2017 will be similar to the 4% in 2016, approximately 400.  Brexit admissions have continued, but not at the same pace as 2016, with 440 to date (10 October) against 806 in 2016. PPC1 student intake, at 411, is only marginally ahead of 2016. 

The System 360 IT project approved by members in 2015 – designed to deliver a new member management system to better service members and support the Society in its various roles, in particular the new representative approach – had a successful ‘go-live’ of Phase 1 in June 2017 and, while four to five months behind its timeline, is on budget.

The best estimates are that the LSRA is unlikely to become operational until early 2019, the costs of which will ultimately have to be levied through the practising certificate fee. The Society is working with the LSRA to ensure that these costs are minimised, insofar as is possible.

The Finance Committee, while continuing to work to its objective of keeping the practising certificate Law School €11.2m Law Society €15.0m Litigation Fund €1.7m Capital Expenditure Fund €2.2m Pension Reserve Fund €-6.2m Law Society €15.0m Law School €11.2m Capital Ex Fund €2.2m Litigation Fund €1.7m Pension Reserve Fund €-6.2m Total €23.9m fee and education cost to a minimum, did sanction an increase of €50 (2%) in the PC registration fee for 2017. This is the first such increase since 2009.

There was limited capital expenditure in the period 2008-2016. However, a number of premises projects have been approved for 2017 and 2018, driven by business needs, health and safety, conservation, or disability access needs. These should add significantly to members’ and students’ enjoyment of Blackhall Place.

The committee continues to work to ensure that members get value for money for all operational and capital spending, while at the same time ensuring that the Society is sufficiently resourced to service members in an effective manner into the future and that the Law Society remains an effective professional body.

The full audited financial statements for 2016 are included in this annual report.

MONEY-LAUNDERING
REPORTING COMMITTEE

Chris Callan, Chairperson

The committee met regularly throughout the year in order to fulfil the Society’s statutory obligations with regard to money laundering, terrorist financing, and relevant offences reporting.

The Society must report any suspicions that money laundering or an offence of financing terrorism has been committed by a practising solicitor (or any other person who the Society, in the course of monitoring solicitors, suspects has been engaged in such activities) to the relevant authorities, pursuant to the provisions of section 63 of the 2010 and 2013 Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Acts.

The Society is now a registered user of goAML, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime mandated reporting system, adopted by Ireland and introduced by An Garda Síochána since June 2017 for reporting suspicious transactions. The web-based system, which must be used by all competent authorities and designated persons, will assist the authorities in streamlining the suspicious transactions reporting process and in implementing international standards relating to money laundering and terrorist financing. During the past year, the committee directed that seven such reports be made to An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners.

The Society is also obliged, pursuant to the provisions of section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011, to report, as soon as practicable to An Garda Síochána, information in its possession that it knows or believes might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of a relevant offence, or securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of a person for a relevant offence. Relevant offences are listed in schedule 1 of the act. During the past year, the committee directed that ten such reports be made.

I would like to thank my fellow committee members for their contributions at meetings during the year, as well as committee secretary Tina Beattie and her colleagues in the Regulation Department for their assistance.

PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY
INSURANCE COMMITTEE

Richard Hammond, Chairperson

The function of the Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) Committee is to deal with all matters pertaining to the regulation of solicitors’ PII, including monitoring of the implementation of the PII regulations and associated documentation, maintenance of a stable PII market, provision of guidance to the profession, and attending to PII queries arising. The committee reviews drafts and publishes updated PII regulations and associated documentation on an annual basis.

It maintains a regular dialogue with insurers participating in the Irish market for solicitors’ PII. It monitors the management and running of the Special Purpose Fund (the Assigned Risks Pool and the Run-off Fund) through the Special Purpose Fund Management Committee, which comprises representatives of the PII committee, the Special Purpose Fund manager, and the two participating insurers with the highest market share by premium.

The committee provides information and documentation to the public and the profession through the PII website at www.lawsociety.ie/PII. Information on current insurance details of firms continues to be available through the Society’s online firm insurance details search facility.

The committee has published guidance notes on PII renewal, the common proposal form, and risk management for solicitor firms. Practice notes have been issued on cybercrime and PII, and PII renewal.

The stability of the PII market has continued to improve, as evidenced by the fact that no firm has availed of the Assigned Risks Pool as the insurer of last resort for the 2016/17 indemnity period.

While much of the work of the committee relates to ongoing maintenance of the PII system, the committee has been particularly focused this year on improving the PII regulations, monitoring and responding to the difficulties encountered by Elite Insurance Company Limited, and consideration of issues relating to the criteria for admission as a participating insurer.

I would like to thank my fellow committee members and committee secretary for their hard work, assistance, and valuable input.

REGULATION OF PRACTICE COMMITTEE

Martin Crotty, Chairperson

The Regulation of Practice Committee administers the compensation fund, which the Society is required to maintain in order to compensate clients for losses arising due to dishonesty on the part of solicitors or their employees. The committee also polices the profession’s compliance with the Solicitors Accounts Regulations and with other regulatory requirements not assigned to other regulatory committees.

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

The income and expenditure account of the compensation fund reflects a surplus (representing an excess of income over expenditure after taxation) of €1,891,568 for the year ended 31 December 2016, as compared with a surplus of €265,354 for the year ended 31 December 2015. The increase of €1,626,214 in the surplus for 2016 compared with 2015 is attributable to a reduction in 2016 of €1,787,331 in income, a decrease of €174,890 in expenditure (compared with 2015), an increased adjustment of €3,239,041 in the fair value movements arising on revaluation of investments, together with an increase in taxation amounting to €386.

INCOME STREAMS

The decrease of €1,787,331 in income in 2016 is attributed mainly to a decrease of €1,546,087 in income and returns on investments, together with a decrease of €427,705 in recoveries from defaulting solicitors, offset by an increase of contributions receivable of €227,100.

EXPENDITURE

The decrease of €174,890 in expenditure as between the two years is attributable to a decrease in the provision for claims of €269,895.

BALANCE SHEET

The net assets of the fund as at 31 December 2016 stood at €19,603,809 as compared with €17,712,241 at 31 December 2015. 

The increase of €1,891,568 in the net asset position of the fund as between the two years’ end is reflected in an increase of €1,006,298 in revenue reserves, together with an increase of €885,270 in the revaluation reserve on the fund’s investments.

The audited accounts can be accessed here.

DEVELOPMENTS SINCE DECEMBER 2016

In the six months ended 30 June 2017, a total of 74 claims were received. Excluding invalid claims refused, these claims amounted to €970,183. Payments were made in the sum of €343,566 in respect of claims, and claims amounting to €626,617 are still under consideration.

The net assets of the fund are valued at €19.5 million as at 30 June 2017. The annual contribution to the fund was €760 per solicitor for 2017. Insurance cover for €50m in excess of €5m is in place for the year ending 31 December 2017.

COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES

The committee met 17 times during the year, for ten scheduled, four emergency, and three special meetings.
Arising from these meetings the committee decided to:

  • Levy contributions amounting to €43,500 towards
    the cost of investigations,
  • Refer 22 solicitors to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal,
  • Apply to the High Court pursuant to the Solicitors Acts in seven cases. The High Court subsequently granted the reliefs applied for in all cases, except for the most recent application, which has yet to be heard.

The team of investigating accountants conducted approximately 375 investigations throughout the year.

The year was significant in terms of anti-money laundering (AML). Representatives of the committee participated in the Society’s task force that engaged with the Financial Action Task Force evaluation of Ireland. The Society introduced the Solicitors (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Regulations 2016 to assist solicitors in understanding and clarifying their existing AML obligations and to set out how the Society monitors compliance with these obligations. The regulations came into force on 1 November 2016 and were announced in the November 2016 Gazette (p55).

A new, dedicated, and regularly updated cybersecurity section of the Society’s website was launched in November 2016 at www.lawsociety.ie/Cybersecurity. This contains cyber-alerts, articles, a useful list of websites, and easy-to-understand definitions of commonly used words and phrases in cyber-technology. The section invites members to report cybercrime on an anonymous online form. Information gained from the use of this form is then used to enhance the guidance provided. Representatives of the Society have spoken on cybersecurity at CPD seminars. The Society is committed to continuing to raise the awareness of cybersecurity with its members.

REGULATION OF PRACTICE COMMITTEE (Cont'd)

The Society continues to highlight the importance of compliance with the Solicitors (Advertising) Regulations 2002. A practice note identified the professional and regulatory risks for a solicitor in associating with claims harvesting websites (June 2017 Gazette, p63) and a news item reported on the Society’s High Court actions against two non-solicitor owners of claims harvesting websites (May 2017 Gazette, p9). In December 2016, the Society obtained a High Court order to have a claims website permanently closed down and to restrain the non-solicitor owner from having any involvement with the website or any similar website in breach of the Solicitors Acts. Another High Court action regarding a similar website is currently underway.

The advertising regulations executive has continued a comprehensive review of all solicitor firm websites and social media accounts. The Society continues to offer a vetting service whereby solicitors can have proposed advertisements reviewed and approved.

The past year saw a 40% fall in the volume of claims on the compensation fund, reflecting that there were only two practice closures leading to claims in the year.

New Guidelines on Compensation Fund Claims Procedures were published in the public area of the Society’s website. 

The guidelines provide assistance to both practitioners and claimants in understanding the compensation fund claims’ process.

A practice note was published in the August/September 2016 Gazette (p52) to again highlight the risk of misappropriation by employees in solicitors’ practices.

On behalf of the committee, the Regulation Department completed engagement with the Courts Service about the new electronic licensing system and with the Property Registration Authority about the new electronic payment facility to ensure that these developments are compatible with the Solicitors Accounts Regulations.

Existing and newly established firms continue to avail of the confidential Practice Advisory Service, provided through Outsource, and the committee recommends the service to assist in regulatory compliance and financial management.

I would like to thank the committee vice-chairs, the lay members, all other committee members, the committee secretary, and his team in the Regulation Department for their highly valued participation in the work of the committee.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE
RESOLUTION COMMITTEE

Anthony Hussey, Chairperson

In the year under review, we completed the task of putting together a new panel of arbitrators, reducing the number to approximately 35. New criteria were introduced for membership, and a subcommittee was appointed to review redacted awards made by applicants and interview them for suitability.

The committee’s achievements in the year under review included:

  • The publication of a booklet on alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which was distributed to all law firms in April 2016,
  • The drafting of a new set of Law Society arbitration rules,
  • Attendance at cluster events to remind the members of the value of mediation,
  • Lectures and tutorials by committee members at the Law School on ADR-related topics,
  • A comprehensive submission on the Mediation Bill by the vice-chair, assisted by a special subcommittee,
  • The drafting of an updated expert determination procedure,
  • Revision/renewal of the composition of the panel of mediators,
  • Liaison with the Construction Industry Federation and the Conveyancing Committee with a view to making appropriate amendments to the arbitration clause in the Law Society/CIF building agreement,
  • Reviewing the material for membership of the Arbitration Panel, especially where applicants may not be members of the Society,
  • Liaison with Courts Service representatives on possible collaboration around the provision of mediators and mediation information sessions through solicitor mediators.

BUSINESS LAW
COMMITTEE

Robert Heron, Chairperson

We continue to be responsible for representing, informing and assisting the profession on a broad range of business-law related topics and monitoring developments and practice in this area of law.

Following on from the extensive work carried out by the committee in relation to informing the profession about the Companies Act 2014, the committee has taken on the role of acting as a clearing house for issues/ anomalies arising under the Companies Act 2014. It continues to make submissions to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation proposing further amendments to the Companies Act 2014, and made a submission regarding the introduction of the Beneficial Ownership Regulations (SI 560 of 2016).

The committee also made a submission in response to the consultation launched by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and the Department of Justice and Equality, regarding the EU Commission’s Proposed Insolvency Directive on preventive restructuring frameworks, second chance and measures to increase the efficiency of restructuring, insolvency and discharge procedures.

The committee, in partnership with Law Society Professional Training, is holding its first annual business law conference in November 2017. The oneday conference aims to inform practitioners on a range of important practice points and topics.

As part of its workload, the committee also finalised a precedent constitution for a company limited by guarantee. We continue to represent the profession on the Company Law Review Group, CRO Link and CCBE Private Law and Company Law Committees.

I extend my thanks to our committee’s vice-chair, Joy Compton, and our committed and hard-working secretary Joanne Cox, for their continued commitment to the work of the committee.

CONVEYANCING COMMITTEE

Joseph Thomas, Chairperson

It has been another busy year for the Conveyancing Committee in assisting and guiding solicitors in matters of increasingly complex conveyancing practice. The committee deals with queries from solicitors, issues practice notes to the profession, and represents solicitors’ interests in its engagement with Government bodies and departments, as well as with external bodies.

It also provides a conveyancing helpline that dealt with 1,169 queries in the year under review, including:

  • Various problems with lending institutions (such as qualified redemption figures, qualified letters of release of undertaking, among other matters),
  • Problems with receiver contracts and electronic discharges in receiver sales,
  • Problems to do with non-principal private residence (NPPR) tax between 2009 and 2011,
  • Registration of easements,
  • AML requirements of foreign entities,
  • First registration issues, including timelines for registration,
  • Building regulations, including opt-out issues,
  • Undertakings in conveyancing,
  • Not acting for both vendor and purchaser,
  • Local property tax (LPT),
  • Commercial certificates of title,
  • Electronic stamping/PPS numbers,
  • Help-to-buy scheme, and
  • The impact of the Fines (Recovery and Payment) Act 2014, among other matters.

This year, the committee finalised and published:

 

The most notable of the committee’s ongoing projects and activities include:

  • A review of the contract for sale with a view to a move to pre-contract investigation of title,
  • A rolling review of requisitions on title to keep them up to date – a new edition is due later this year,
  • A comprehensive review of the practice position with regard to easements.

Work in progress by committee task forces includes:

  • Interacting with the Property Registration Authority on a wide range of practice matters concerning registered and unregistered title, and new issues,
  • Reviewing and updating pre-lease enquiries, rent-review clauses, and service charge clauses in commercial leases, and
  • A comprehensive review of searches to be made on the purchase or mortgage of a property.
LIAISON WITH EXTERNAL BODIES

The committee met with, and has ongoing liaison with, several external bodies in relation to matters of conveyancing practice, including:

  • The Department of Justice on the protection of purchasers’ deposits,
  • Revenue on the Help-to-Buy Scheme,
  • Continued liaison with Revenue and the Taxes Administration Liaison Committee on electronic stamping and LPT, in conjunction with the Taxation and Technology Committees,
  • Property Registration Authority on Land Registry forms, data protection, and other registration matters,
  • Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on NPPR and water charges, • Banking and Payments Federation Ireland on title issues arising on sales by receivers or banks, and in relation to issues arising from the residential certificate of title system,
  • Construction Industry Federation on amendments to the arbitration clause in building agreements,
  • RIAI on certificates of compliance with building regulations in opt-out cases,
  • Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland on matters of mutual interest, in conjunction with the eConveyancing Task Force.

My thanks are due to all committee members and consultants, vice-chair Paddy Sweetman, and our dedicated secretary Catherine O’Flaherty for their time, hard work and support throughout the year.

CRIMINAL LAW
COMMITTEE

Darach McCarthy, Chairperson

During another busy year for the committee, our significant work projects and achievements have included:

  • A campaign for the restoration of legal-aid fee rates to levels prior to the financial crisis – the committee continues to engage with key stakeholders on legal aid fee rates and other crucial system reforms,
  • An update of our Guidance for Solicitors Providing Legal Services in Garda Stations will be launched by year end,
  • Delivery of garda station legal services training to solicitors across the country, through the Society’s cluster events,
  • The development of a European arrest warrant section on the ‘Find a garda station solicitor’ websearch directory,
  • Several submissions on topics such as bail and criminal procedure,
  • Liaison with all relevant State departments and agencies to address problems experienced by solicitors when attending garda stations or prisons. The committee continues to engage regularly with An Garda Síochána and the Irish Prison Service on relevant issues,
  • The Criminal Law Update 2017 conference took place on 27 September 2017, covering topics such as the Policing Authority, vulnerable witnesses, and parole practice developments, and
  • Replies to criminal law practice queries from solicitors.

During the coming year, the committee will continue its campaign on legal-aid fee rates and to represent the interests of criminal law practitioners with various State bodies. It is focusing on further developing communications and relations with other stakeholders to ensure that solicitor and client interests are represented.

We will make further contributions to law reform in the criminal justice sphere, and will provide continued assistance to criminal law practitioners who have practice guidance queries.

My thanks go to the vice-chair Robert Purcell and the committee members and colleagues who contributed to the committee’s activities, as well as our committee secretary Emma-Jane Williams for her tireless dedication over the past year.

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT UNIT

Carol Plunkett, Chairperson

The mission of the legal education function of the Law Society is to enable solicitors to provide excellent legal advice to the public. The Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) contributes to that mission. We meet with the teams running the CPD, diploma, and certificate courses. We review the curricula and materials furnished to students of the Law School to ensure that the courses offered are state of the art.

The CDU suggests improvements to existing courses and topics for new ones, which are discussed and, if considered appropriate, adopted by the Law School through the Education Committee.

This year, we reviewed the PPC I foundation course and diploma courses and looked at developments in the use of social-media platforms and electronic communications generally and as they apply to Law School students. We received a report on the proposed substantial changes in the training of solicitors in England and Wales, maintaining a qualifying entrance examination, but abolishing the need to attend a legal practice course (although this is likely still to be required by some firms). Concerns have been raised there of the possibility of a consequent fall in standards and the potential emergence of a two-tier profession.

In June, the CDU visited Queen’s University in Belfast to review the courses provided by the Institute of Professional Legal Studies to trainee solicitors and barristers there and compare them with ours.

We also met with representatives from the Education Committee of the Law Society of Northern Ireland to discuss the ongoing educational developments arising from their review carried out some years ago.

Thanks to each CDU member, from a multiplicity of areas of practice throughout the island of Ireland, for contributing their views on the issues considered during the past year, to Dr Geoffrey Shannon (deputy director of education) for his unfailing support as secretary, and to all the dedicated and enthusiastic managers and tutors of the Law Society School, CPD and diploma courses.

EMPLOYMENT AND EQUALITY LAW COMMITTEE

Joanna Hyde, Chairperson

The year under review was a busy one for the Employment and Equality Law Committee. It was the first full year since the enactment of the Workplace Relations Act 2015, which saw the introduction of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), radically changing the systems for adjudicating workplace disputes.

In the past year, the committee members have monitored the experience of practitioners attending before the WRC and we have written to and, along with other stakeholder organisations, met with representatives of the WRC to offer suggestions for continuous improvement. We have also published an eZine to the profession with an update on WRC procedures.

Committee members have continued to publish updates to the profession, and particular thanks to Anne O’Connell, whose article on the extensive impact of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 was published in the July Gazette.

A subcommittee of members has undertaken a significant body of work on a submission advocating the establishment of a forum for bullying cases, and this will shortly be issued to relevant Government departments and interested bodies, as well as to the Law Reform Commission.

Other activities of committee members included making a written and oral presentation on behalf of the Employment and Equality Law Committee to the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Thank you to all committee members, vice-chair Loughlin Deegan, acting secretary Fergal Mawe, and secretary Deirdre Flynn.

EU & INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

Martin Cooney, Chairperson

The purpose of the EU and International Affairs Committee is to monitor and report on developments at EU level and internationally.

The committee maintains representation on the Council of Bars and Law Societies in Europe, International Bar Association, American Bar Association, Union Internationale du Notariat Latin (UINL) and the German-Irish Lawyers and Business Association (GILBA). These relationships allow the Law Society to represent the solicitors’ profession at an international level and to influence policy debate on legal services and regulation matters.

Much of the focus of the past year has been on Brexit. In April 2017, a delegation of five members attended a round-table event in Brussels with representatives from a number of EU member states. In May 2017, committee secretary Eva Massa attended a Paris seminar - also on Brexit - with delegates from the EU27, and spoke at a similar event in Brussels in June 2017. Duncan Grehan attended a GILBA Brexit-themed conference in Leuven from 7-9 July.

Committee members submitted articles for publication in the Gazette and in a variety of other national publications. On 13 October 2016, we arranged a talk focusing on the international response to terrorism and its local impact.

On 8 June 2017, we organised a seminar on EU Law titled ‘A practitioner’s guide to immigration and inward investment – keeping Ireland open for business’.

During the year, committee member Mary Casey was awarded the Chevalier de L’Ordre Nationale du Mérite by the President of France for her services to that country. The committee facilitated and sponsored the placement of an Irish student in Paris for the Stage International in late 2016.

I wish to thank all of the committee members for their ongoing commitment and hard work, and committee secretary Eva Massa who ensures the smooth running and success of our programmes and events.

FAMILY AND CHILD LAW COMMITTEE

Keith Walsh, Chairperson

The Family and Child Law Committee has continued its remit in terms of both informing and updating the profession on developments in family and child-care law, advocating for change in the law, and representing the profession on a variety of external committees and organisations.

The main achievements in 2016/17 included:

  • The significant role of committee members that resulted in the overhaul of order 59 of the Circuit Court Rules to facilitate more efficient and effective practice in the Circuit Court in family law matters.
  • Agreement by the Courts Service to make the proposed new family law courthouse facility in Hammond Lane, Dublin 7, more user-friendly for practitioners.
  • Launch of a new code of practice for family law in Ireland.
  • Submissions to Government on the Mediation Bill 2017 (specifically relating to family law aspects), the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2017 regarding guardians ad litem, and the Domestic Violence Bill 2017. In addition, committee members attended and appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs.
  • The family law conference in November 2017.

The committee’s educational role has been facilitated through a number of articles, practice notes, and guidance in the Law Society Gazette. The committee continues to play a significant role in seeking to advance proposals in the area of family law reform.

Members of the committee are active in a number of external committees, including several committees of the Courts Service, the Legal Aid Board Liaison Committee, the CCBE and others.

I wish to thank committee members, vice-chair Helen Coughlan, and our secretary Jane Moffatt for their drive and enthusiasm, which resulted in us achieving our objective to shape the law reform agenda in our area of expertise.

GAZETTE EDITORIAL
BOARD

Michael Kealey, Chairperson

The editorial board has enjoyed a vibrant year – one that has delivered dynamic change for the Gazette. The editorial and design team launched a major redesign in January 2017 to highly positive feedback. Visits to the interactive digital edition have been holding steady in the year under review, with a total of 21,941 visits recorded.

That number is set to grow further with the launch of the magazine’s new microsite during the final quarter of 2017. Gazette.ie will deliver a daily legal news and information service to members of the profession and the general public. To assist with this task, journalist Mary Hallissey has joined the Gazette team from the Sunday Business Post.

The magazine, in all its guises, continues to be one of the key media channels for members of the profession. With the advent of Gazette.ie, social media channels will be utilised to even greater effect by pushing out frequent information to subscribers through Twitter and LinkedIn.

The magazine continues to grow its readership figures, due to an increase in the number of practitioners on the Roll, including an influx of British solicitors applying for membership in Ireland post- Brexit.

Last year marked a turning point for advertising revenue, although Brexit has had a dampening effect on the upswing that was evident during the first half of 2016.

Once again, the Gazette made the shortlist at the Irish Magazine Awards, this time in four categories. Our congratulations to the editor, Mark McDermott, who took home the ‘Editor of the Year’ gong.

I am extremely grateful to my editorial board colleagues for their commitment and valuable contributions throughout the year. The energetic and creative Gazette team deserves full credit for its sterling efforts in ensuring that the Gazette maintains pole position as Ireland’s premier legal publication.  

GUIDANCE AND ETHICS COMMITTEE

John Glynn, Chairperson

It has been a pleasure to chair this committee. The attendance level has been very good and, generally speaking, the input by the members has been very rewarding.

The ‘Ten Steps’ project dealing with practice management issues has been going from strength to strength, with the publication of several excellent articles in the Gazette. Lots more are lined up, and the feedback to date has been excellent.

The Guidance and Ethics Helpline is manned continually, as is the panel to deal with guidance and ethics issues raised by email or through correspondence. Approximately 600 queries have been dealt with in the current year.

Perhaps the greatest achievement, however, has been the satisfaction generated through the ‘Bar Association Visits’ project. We have assisted at seminars with the DSBA, Wicklow, Cork and West Cork. Further seminars are planned for Kilkenny and Donegal.

Participation in these seminars gives colleagues a bird’s-eye view of what we are doing in Guidance and Ethics, while enhancing the image of the Society and, of course, generating valuable CPD regulation points.

HUMAN RIGHTS
COMMITTEE

Shane McCarthy, Chairperson

This year, the Human Rights Committee continued with its programme of activities, promoting the law and practice of human rights among both the profession and members of the public.

Through this committee, via member Alma Clissmann, the Law Society maintains representation at the Access to Justice Committee and the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe.

On 8 October, the committee hosted the Annual Human Rights Conference at Blackhall Place, entitled ‘Human rights in health advocacy and domestic violence: time for a new Proclamation?’ The conference was widely attended, generated significant debate, and garnered considerable and positive national media coverage.

In March 2017, the committee (in collaboration with the Criminal Law Committee) prepared a submission on the Parole Bill 2016 in relation to the proposal to place the Parole Board on a statutory footing, providing recommendations regarding eligibility for parole, the future board’s powers and around conditions of parole.

The committee is also continuing its awareness initiatives with regular contributions to the Gazette and regular updates to its committee page on the Law Society website. Articles published by the committee and its members in the Gazette included:

I would like to thank vice-chair Hilkka Becker and all the committee members for giving so generously of their time, interest, and expertise. In particular, my sincere thanks go to Michelle Lynch for her assistance and support as secretary to the committee.

IN-HOUSE AND
PUBLIC SECTOR
COMMITTEE

Brian Connolly, Chairperson

Drawing on the results of the RED C survey and input from the committee, Society staff, and members of the in-house sector, the committee produced a multi-year action plan for enhanced support and representation of the sector in July 2016.

The action plan provides a framework for the Society to continue and deepen its support for in-house solicitors in the areas of skills and value, education and training, professional issues, and trainees. The Society has engaged its Representation and Member Services, Regulation, and Education Departments to implement the plan and has convened quarterly meetings of key staff and committee representatives to ensure progress.

Law Society Professional Training held a seminar on ‘Professional wellbeing for the in-house lawyer’ on 15 September 2016 in Cork, while our 2016 annual conference – ‘Leadership in changing times: opportunities and challenges facing the in-house solicitor’ – was held on 10 November.

Since December 2016, a new In-house LinkedIn Group has enabled in-house solicitors to connect and network with colleagues across organisations. Also since December, the committee has liaised with the Gazette to ensure content relevant to in-house solicitors is included and highlighted in every issue, and to provide relevant material for publication.

A new monthly 'in-house update' has been published on the Society’s website and in the members’ eZine since February 2017.

On 4 May, the committee held a panel discussion with experienced in-house practitioners on setting up and managing an in-house legal function.

The committee supported the Diploma Team with the design of the current Diploma in In-house Practice and with the new Certificate in Strategic Development for In-house Practice.

I continued to represent the Society at general assemblies of the European Company Lawyers’ Association, and the committee continued to provide guidance on a variety of ad hoc practical queries from members of the in-house sector.

I wish to thank all committee members for their contributions this year, with special thanks to Anna-Marie Curry (vice-chair) and secretary Louise Campbell.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & DATA PROTECTION LAW COMMITTEE

Ann Henry, Chairperson

In terms of outputs, the committee makes submissions on the reform of the law and policy initiatives pertaining to intellectual property and data protection law. The members inform the profession on legislative changes and meet with public and private sector stakeholders to discuss areas of common interest and address queries.

Some examples of the work undertaken by the committee during the year include:

  • Meeting with the head of the Intellectual Property Unit at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to discuss law reform at national and EU level, the Unified Patent Court, and Brexit,
  • Speaking on cybersecurity law at various Law Society Skillnet symposiums organised in association with the DSBA, Laois Solicitors’ Association, Carlow Bar Association, Kildare Bar Association, and Midland Bar Association,
  • Attending a round-table session organised by Knowledge Transfer Ireland,
  • Meeting with Marie Daly, general counsel at IBEC, to discuss issues of common interest and Brexit,
  • Submission on the transposition of the Trade Secrets Directive to the Intellectual Property Unit, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation,
  • Speaking on data protection at the Skillnet Cluster event in Donegal,
  • Ann Henry (Law Society representative to the Data Forum, Department of An Taoiseach), as a member of the steering committee, organised the successful inaugural Dublin Data Summit on 16-17 June 2017 at the National Convention Centre,
  • Considered IMRO submission on digital single market copyright proposals,
  • Meeting with Tina Chappell (Intel Corporation’s director of IP policy) to discuss law reform at national and EU level, the Unified Patent Court, and Brexit,
  • Seminar on the overview of changes to be introduced by the GDPR, with guest speaker Seamus S Carroll (head of the Data Protection Unit in the Civil Law Reform Division of the Department of Justice and Equality). He represented Ireland throughout the GDPR negotiations.

LITIGATION COMMITTEE

 

Fiona Duffy, Chairperson

The Litigation Committee had a very busy and full schedule this year. Throughout the year, we dealt with a wide range of queries from colleagues.

The committee and its members published articles and guidance via the eZine, the Gazette, and the Law Society’s website on a variety of topics, including the change to Circuit Court jurisdiction in land matters, the European Account Preservation Order, and various changes in court rules and procedures.

The committee’s annual Litigation Update seminar was held on 5 October 2016.

We continue to engage with relevant representative bodies, including the PIAB and the Courts Service, and to collaborate with the Society’s representatives on the court rules committees.

The VHI undertaking has taken up a sizeable amount of our time. In addition, the taxation and recovery of legal costs remains a standing agenda item. The appeal to the Supreme Court in the case of Sheehan v Corr was closely monitored and we welcomed the introduction of Practice Direction HC 71 by the President of the High Court. The committee also provided a detailed and considered response to the Law Society Legal Costs Working Group on its draft guidance and section 150 notices.

Other matters before the committee include issues relating to the possession lists in some counties and the ‘Abhaile scheme’, the shortage of county registrars, and concerns about the lis pendens procedure.

The cancellation of lists and the non-appointment of a list judge under the 2016 Pre-Trial Procedure Rules are ongoing issues of concern for the profession and are being closely monitored. The committee continues to monitor and review recent and proposed legislation, such as the Courts Act 2016, the Mediation Bill and the scheme for the PIAB Bill.

A Brexit subcommittee has been set up and is working with the Society in the preparation of a position paper on the potential impact, opportunities, and challenges presented by Brexit from a litigation perspective.

I would like to thank all the committee members, some of whom travel long distances, for their hard work and dedication, as well as the vice-chair Liam Kennedy for his support and our secretary Colette Reid, whose input was invaluable.

PROBATE, ADMINISTRATION AND TRUSTS COMMITTEE

Richard Hammond, Chairperson

The committee dealt with the decision of the Court of Appeal in relation to section 68 letters to residuary beneficiaries and issued a practice note in the eZine and the Gazette. The committee also advised the president in relation to the imperative that solicitors have access to clients in nursing homes.

We continued our work in relation to the Fourth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive, the Assisted Decision- Making (Capacity) Act 2015 and opposed the proposed Registration of Wills Bill again.

The committee submission to the Law Reform Commission in relation to section 117 of the Succession Act 1965 was substantially reflected in the subsequent report of the LRC.

Committee members actively engaged with the Revenue Commissioners at the TALC direct/capital taxes subcommittee, and also contributed to the Law Society Budget submission.

In addition, we continue to engage with the Capital Acquisitions Tax Revenue Online Service Users’ Group, the Probate Office Users’ Group, the Probate Office, the Courts Service and Irish State Savings and the Irish League of Credit Unions.

The committee also engaged with the Society’s Regulation and the Representation and Member Services Departments in the production of new clientcare leaflets.

It also engages with the bar associations and provides assistance to colleagues who contact it.

The committee and its members published a number of articles in the eZine.

Members spoke at the second Probate and Taxation Annual Conference and at a number of Law Society and other events.

Challenges to be taken on in 2017/18 include potentially extending dormant accounts legislation to client accounts, seeking an increase in Probate Office staff, extending the role of the District Probate Registries, and a review of the CAT ROS system.

My thanks to committee secretary Padraic Courtney, and all the committee members, for their hard work throughout the year. 

PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE

Michael Kealey, Chairperson

In June, the committee hosted the annual Justice Media Awards, while a highly successful Communications Day took place last May.

The latter event involved media training by Carr Communications, including advice on engaging local media, conducting a media interview, and using social media effectively. Andrea Gilligan from Newstalk also provided insights into how the typical newsroom operates and on ‘pitching’ a story to journalists.

The popularity of the Justice Media Awards continues to grow. This year saw the largest ever number of entries, outstripping the previous records in 2015 and 2016.

The JMAs recognise, reward, and encourage excellence in legal journalism and generate acres of newsprint and broadcast reaction to the awards. The team from RTÉ television’s Nationwide won the overall award, with a programme highlighting the Law Society Access Programme and its Street Law initiative.

The Law Society’s ‘Talk to your solicitor’ radio advertising campaign continues and, while changes are not anticipated in the short term, the committee will continue to monitor its effectiveness and value for money following last year’s detailed review.

We continue to work closely with the Representation and Member Services Department and its director Teri Kelly, who is an important committee member. As a consequence, the PR Committee has taken on a more strategic, rather than functional, role. We envisage this continuing.

TAXATION COMMITTEE

 

Gavin McGuire, Chairperson

The Taxation Committee has had another busy year representing the Society and its members. It did this through interaction with the Revenue Commissioners and other tax advisors. It also continued its active participation in the Tax Administration Liaison Committee (TALC) and its relevant subcommittees dealing with direct taxes, indirect taxes, capital taxes, audit, technical tax issues, collection tax issues, base erosion and profit shifting, and the Companies Act working group.

The committee made numerous submissions to Revenue both through the TALC forum and directly to Revenue in respect of issues concerning practitioners. It is also continued to liaise with the Revenue Commissioners in relation to electronic stamping, local property tax, the new Revenue website, and other practical issues.

The committee, as usual, also prepared a detailed pre-Budget submission, which was submitted to the Minister for Finance and other relevant Government departments. This year, the submission provided an executive summary and outlined recommendations to deal with inequalities and the changed domestic society to keep Ireland competitive and encourage international investment.

It also focused on administrative and technical issues that need to be dealt with in order to ensure the tax code keeps pace with ongoing changes.

The committee also reviewed, to the extent appropriate, and commented on the provisions of the Finance Act 2017 as it passed through the legislative process and summarised its relevant consequences in the annual Tax Guide published and distributed to members.

We continued to issue practice notes and respond to queries raised by members throughout the year.

I have been ably assisted in my role by the committee’s secretary, Rachael Hession, and I thank her for her support and assistance throughout the year.  

TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE

 

Joe Kane, Chairperson

The Technology Committee continues to represent solicitors and the Society in its interactions with the Courts Service, Revenue Commissioners, Property Registration Authority and other government bodies and, most recently, the Government Chief Information Officer. It also continues to monitor the use of technology in the profession, and to advise best practice to members through guidance notes in the Gazette and eZine.

Continuing credit goes to Neil Butler and Eamonn Keenan for their ever-diligent work on the eConveyancing Project.

A focus in the past year revolved around cyberthreats and, in particular, spear-phishing attacks and the threats exposed via members emailing IBAN accounts. A revised and updated practice note was issued in this regard in March 2017.

Protecting confidential data was a strong theme, and the practice note from May 2017 delved into the risks involved with public websites. Digital privacy will continue to be a big issue for the committee in the year ahead.

The committee is involved in warnings on fraud relating to PRA matters and staying ahead of potential issues that have affected neighbouring jurisdictions.

Our goals for the coming year involve advising on the minimum standards for law firms’ IT requirements, and identifying key areas that firms should consider when thinking about technology in practical terms in the office. Artificial intelligence is a topic that is being discussed more frequently – we are keeping a watching brief.

I wish to thank my vice-chair Brian Horkan for his support and valued input, our hard-working committee members who ensure that we achieve our goals, and our diligent secretary Veronica Donnelly.

YOUNGER MEMBERS COMMITTEE

Emer O'Connor, Chairperson

The Younger Members’ Committee strives to identify, explore, and promote issues affecting members of our profession who are qualified for less than 15 years. We aim to provide representation for younger members and provide them with opportunities to enhance their professional skills.

In October 2016, we hosted a conference on the topic of ‘Work/life balance – managing clients, mastering time, and dealing with stress’. The conference aimed to help attendees learn to strike a balance between the competing demands of work and home life.

During the past year, we have carried out a significant amount of research on the topic of flexible working for solicitors. We have prepared a guide for solicitors on this topic, which will be published in late 2017.

Our committee is also exploring how Brexit might affect younger solicitors, and we will continue to monitor developments. In particular, we are looking at how Brexit might affect Irish solicitors who wish to practise in England and Wales.

On 12 October 2017, we hosted a conference on the topic of 'The smart client – mastering the solicitor/ client relationship in a new era'. The speakers examined how developments in technology, communications, and lifestyle are transforming the traditional solicitor/client relationship and provided advice on how to master this relationship.

I wish to thank my vice-chair, Jennifer Dorgan, for her support, hard work and enthusiasm throughout the past year. I also extend my gratitude to Sinéad Travers, who was our committee secretary from 2015 to June 2017, and to our current secretary, Judith Tedders. Sincere thanks are also due to the committee members for the commitment and valuable contributions at our meetings.

Committee Membership

8,360

the average number of hours donated by the Law Society’s 418 committee members on committee-related work in 2016/17 – all on behalf of practitioners. 

This excludes hours spent on task forces, working groups, and by Society representatives on other bodies

STANDING COMMITTEES

COMPLAINTS AND CLIENT RELATIONS

Chair: Paul Egan
Vice-Chairs: William Aylmer
Bernadette Cahill
Solicitor Members
Elaine Given
Peter Groarke
Don Murphy
Emma Neville
Greg Ryan
Jonathan White
Lay Members
Chair: Dan Murphy
Brian Callanan
Michael Carr
Tom Coughlan
Ultan Courtney
Frank Cunneen
Vera Hogan
Brid Horan
Paddy Keating
Peter McLoone
Lenore Mrkwicka
Tom O’Sullivan
Chris Rowland
Secretary: Linda Kirwan

COORDINATION

Chair: Stuart Gilhooly
Members
Michael Quinlan
James Cahill
Simon Murphy
Patrick Dorgan
Michele O’Boyle
Ken Murphy
Mary Keane
Secretary: Mary Keane

EDUCATION

Chair: Brendan Twomey
Vice-Chair: Keith Walsh
Members
William Aylmer
Colm Costello
Paul Egan
Richard Hammond
Martin Lawlor
Valerie Peart
Carol Plunkett
Ex officio:
Stuart Gilhooly
Michael Quinlan
James Cahill
Consultants:
John O’Connor
Michael V O’Mahony
Michael Peart
Secretary: Paula Sheedy

FINANCE

Chair: Eamon Harrington
Vice-Chair: Chris Callan
Members
Martin Crotty
Patrick Dorgan
Paul Egan
Julie Herlihy
Paul Keane
Eugene McCague
James McCourt
Simon Murphy
Michelle Ní Longáin
Michele O’Boyle
Kevin O’Higgins
John P Shaw
Austin Slattery
Brendan Twomey
Ex officio:
Stuart Gilhooly
Michael Quinlan
James Cahill
Secretary: Cillian MacDomhnaill

ADMINISTRATIVE SUBCOMMITTEE ON FINANCE

Stuart Gilhooly
Michael Quinlan
James Cahill
Simon Murphy
Eamon Harrington
Chris Callan
Ken Murphy
Secretary: Ken Murphy

LITIGATION MANAGEMENT SUBCOMMITTEE

Chair: Michael Quinlan
Members
Liam Kennedy
James McCourt
Conor McDonnell
Ken Murphy
Michelle Ní Longáin
Secretary: Deirdre Byrne

MONEY-LAUNDERING REPORTING

Chair: Chris Callan
Frank Bowen
Martin Crotty
John Elliot
Martin Lawlor
Dara Robinson
Secretary: Tina Beattie

PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE

Chair: Richard Hammond
Vice-Chair: Barry MacCarthy
Members
David Curran

Brendan Dillon
John Elliot
Derek Gately
Brian Hunt
Lorna McAuliffe
Adrian Shanley
Brendan Twomey
Lay Member: Jim O’Mahoney
Secretary: Sorcha Hayes

REGULATION OF PRACTICE

Chair: Martin Crotty
Vice-Chairs: Maura Derivan
Martin Lawlor
Imelda Reynolds
Dara Robinson
Members
Chris Callan
Gerard Carroll
Garry Clarke
Michael Cullen
Brendan Cunningham
Ciara Farrell
Frank Gearty
David Higgins
Mary C Keane
Niamh Kimber
David Lavelle
Terry Leggett
Rosemarie Loftus
Shane McCarthy
Katherine McMahon
Patrick McNeice
Dan O’Connor
John G O’Malley
Claire Ryan
Eamonn Shannon
Lay Members
Frank Bowen
Richard George
David Martin
Frank Mee
Lenore Mrkwicka
Secretary: John Elliot

 

NON-STANDING COMMITTEES

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Chair: Anthony Hussey
Vice-Chair: William Aylmer
Members
Michael Carrigan
Eamonn Conlon
Liam Guidera
Bill Holohan
Alison Kelleher
Damien Keogh
Helen Kilroy
James Kinch
James McCourt
Claire McGrade
Michael O’Connell
Secretary: John Lunney

BUSINESS LAW

Chair: Robert Heron
Vice-Chair: Joy Compton
Members
Philip Andrews
Niamh Counihan
Maire Cunningham
Eleanor Daly
Philip Daly
JP Gilmartin
Michael Hanley
Patricia Heavey
Mark Kavanagh
Paul Keane
Neil Keenan
Conor Lupton
Justin McKenna
Seán Nolan
Fiona O’Connell
Jack O’Farrell
Gavin O’Flaherty
John Olden
Alvin Price
Paul Robinson
Mark Ryan
Paul Ryan
Eamonn Shannon
Lorcan Tiernan
Consultant: Patricia McGovern
Secretary: Joanne Cox

CONVEYANCING

Chair: Joseph Thomas
Vice-Chair: Patrick Sweetman
Members
Suzanne Bainton
Gabriel Brennan
Peter Byrne
Justine Carty
Niall Colgan
Orla Coyne
Julie Doyle
Majella Egan
Deirdre Fox
Joyce Good Hammond
Kevin Hoy
Geraldine Kelly
Barry MacCarthy
Jason McGoey
Eleanor McKiernan
Sandra Murphy
Dermot O’Dwyer
Michael Walsh
Consultants:
William Devine
Rory O’Donnell
Secretary: Catherine O’Flaherty

CRIMINAL LAW

Chair: Darach McCarthy
Vice-Chair: Robert Purcell
Members
Yvonne Bambury
Shalom Binchy
Conal Boyce
Carina Davidson
Jonathan Dunphy
Alan Gannon
Helena Kiely
Eileen McCabe
Shane McCarthy
Margaret McEvilly
James MacGuill
Fergus Mullen
Joan O’Brien
John O’Doherty
Emer O’Sullivan
Mairéad Quigley
Hugh Sheridan
Consultant: Michael Staines
Secretary: Emma-Jane Williams

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT UNIT

Chair: Carol Plunkett
Vice-Chair: Jill Callanan
Members
Bernadette Cahill
Colm Costello
Ruth Craig
Emma Crowley
Freda Grealy
TP Kennedy
Andrew McGovern
Gemma Neylon
Fiona Ormond
Liam Quirke
Aideen Ryan
Claire Ryan
Deborah Spence
Secretary: Geoffrey Shannon

EMPLOYMENT AND EQUALITY LAW

Chair: Joanne Hyde
Vice-Chair: Loughlin Deegan
Members
Susan Battye
Cian Beecher
Conall Bergin
Geraldine Carr
Maura Connolly
Áine Curran
John Dunne
Geraldine Hynes
Janice Kavanagh
Mary Kelleher
Deirdre Malone
Ciara McLoughlin
Rhona Murphy
Ronnie Neville
Emer O’Callaghan
Anne O’Connell
Catherine O’Flynn
Breda O’Malley
Emma O’Neill
Hugh O’Neill
Jane O’Sullivan
Terence O’Sullivan
Siobhra Rush
Barry Walsh
Secretary: Deirdre Flynn

PENSIONS SUBCOMMITTEE

Chair: Stephen Gillick
Conall Bergin
Liam Connellan
Lydia Leonard
Jane McKeever
Alexandra Moore
Tommy Nielsen
Orla Ormsby
Fiona Thornton
Susan Webster

EU AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Chair: Martin Cooney
Vice-Chair: Diane Balding
Members
Louise Carpendale
Mary Casey
Duncan Grehan
Marco Hickey
Niamh Hodnett
Richard Kelly
TP Kennedy
Cormac Little
James MacGuill
Ross McMahon
Greg Ryan
John D Shaw
Secretary: Eva Massa

FAMILY AND
CHILD LAW

(with responsibility also for civil legal aid)
Chair: Keith Walsh
Vice-Chair: Helen Coughlan
Members
Noeline Blackwell
Ailbhe Burke
Deirdre Burke
Carol Anne Coolican
Betty Dinneen
Sinead Kearney
Geraldine Keehan
Denise Kirwan
Josepha Madigan
Donagh McGowan
Aaron McKenna
Joan O’Mahony
Moya Quinlan
Aidan Reynolds
Justin Spain
Geoffrey Shannon
Susan Webster
Consultant: Rosemary Horgan
Secretary: Jane Moffatt

 

Committee Membership (Cont'd)

422

the decrease in the overall number of complaints made against solicitors in the year under review.
This drop is due chiefly to a decline in the number of complaints about solicitors’ undertakings, which fell from 829 last year to 404 this year

FINUAS NETWORK

Chair: Carol Plunkett
Kate Browne
Paul Egan
TP Kennedy
Kevin Lavin
Attracta O’Regan
Secretary: Michelle Nolan

GAZETTE EDITORIAL BOARD

Chair: Michael Kealey
Members
Patrick Ambrose
William Aylmer
Aoife Byrne
Mairéad Cashman
Tracy Cruikshanks
Hilary Forde
Richard Hammond
Teri Kelly
Patrick J McGonagle
Aisling Meehan
Heather Murphy
Ken Murphy
Andrew Sheridan
Secretary: Mark McDermott

GUIDANCE AND ETHICS

(with responsibility also for guidance on practice management)
Chair: John Glynn
Vice-Chair: Valerie Peart
Members
Justine Carty
Gus Cullen
Liz Dowling
Leonora Doyle
Graham Farrell
Gerard Flynn
Charles Gilmartin
John G Harte
Flor McCarthy
Susan Martin
Michael Moran
Fergus Mullen
Stephen Mulvey
Davnet O’Driscoll
Brian Sherry
Consultant: Brendan Dillon
Secretary: Linda Kirwan

HUMAN RIGHTS

Chair: Shane McCarthy
Vice-Chair: Hilkka Becker
Members
Noeline Blackwell
Grainne Brophy
Alma Clissmann
Kieran Cummins
Michael Finucane
Aine Flynn
Patricia Hynes
Barbara Joyce
Gary Lee
Clare Naughton
Rose Wall
Consultants
Colin Daly
Betsy Farrell
Michael Farrell
Secretary: Michelle Lynch

IN-HOUSE AND PUBLIC SECTOR

Chair: Brian Connolly
Vice-Chair: Anna-Marie Curry
Members
Patrick Ambrose
Alison Bradshaw
Alan Daly
Caroline Dee-Brown
Mark Cockerill
Fiona Conroy
Vincent Costello
Carolann Harte
Robert Heron
Niamh Kimber
Shane King
Roisin Magee
Aoife Marrinan
Aideen Neylon
Deirdre O’Sullivan
Mary Reynolds
Secretary: Louise Campbell

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW AND
DATA PROTECTION LAW

Chair: Ann Henry
Vice-Chair: Fiona O’Beirne
Mary Bleahene
Peter Bolger
John Cahir
Maureen Daly
James Hickey
Deirdre Kilroy
Paul Lavery
Patricia McGovern
Elaine McGrath
David McMunn
Leo Moore
Elaine Morrissey
Aoife Murphy
Alistair Payne
Maurice Regan
Colin Rooney
Niall Rooney
Laura Scott
Irina Sharapova
Consultant: Tara MacMahon
Secretary: Katherine Kane

LITIGATION

Chair: Fiona Duffy
Vice-Chair: Liam Kennedy
Members
Michael Boylan
Lisa Carty
Tanya Colbert
Eamon Harrington
Áine Hynes
Mike Kavanagh
Conor MacGuill

Karen McDonnell
Ann McGarry
Sonya Morrissy Murphy
Jack O’Brien
Joseph O’Malley
Ronan O’Neill
Riobard Pierse
Julie Sadlier
James Seymour
Damien Tansey
Catherine Tarrant
Frances Twomey
Consultants:
Joseph Deane
Stuart Gilhooly
David Martin
Secretary: Colette Reid

PROBATE, ADMINISTRATION AND TRUSTS

Chair: Richard Hammond
Vice-Chair: Georgina Drum
Members
Gareth Bourke
Gwen Bowen
Pat Bradley
Bernadette Cahill
Damien Jordan
Maurice Joy
Aileen Keogan
Morette Kinsella
Nora Lillis
Kevin Martin
Tom Martyn
Ciara O’Callaghan
Tracey O’Donnell
Claire Ryan
Gemma Stack
Anne Stephenson
Margaret Walsh
Secretary: Padraic Courtney

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Chair: Michael Kealey
Vice-chair: Sonia McEntee
Members
James Cahill
John Glynn
Teri Kelly
Aaron McKenna
Aisling Meehan
Ken Murphy
Dan O’Connor
Susan Webster
Secretary: Kathy McKenna

SKILLNET

Chair: Brendan Twomey
Members
Garry Clarke
Brendan Donnelly
Anthony Ensor
Deirdre Fox
TP Kennedy
Sonia McEntee
Conor MacGuill
Attracta O’Regan
Keith Walsh
Secretary: Michelle Nolan

TAXATION

Chair: Gavin McGuire
Vice-Chair: Vacant
Members
Deirdre Barnicle
Pat Bradley
John Cuddigan
Caroline Devlin
Maura Dineen
Tara Duggan
Aidan Fahy
Ruth Higgins
Donal Kennedy
David Lawless
Cathal Lawlor
Sonya Manzor
Tom Martyn
Aisling Meehan
Ruairi Mulrean
Michael O’Connor
Andrew Quinn
Petrina Smyth
James Somerville
Consultant: Brian Bohan
Secretary: Rachael Hession

TECHNOLOGY

Chair: Joe Kane
Vice-Chair: Brian Horkan
Members
Jane Bourke
Neil Butler
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
John Furlong
Jim Heney
Eamonn Keenan
Patrick Madigan
Flor McCarthy
Peter McKenna
Michael Monahan
Liam Quirke
Greg Ryan
Reamonn Smith
Secretary: Veronica Donnelly

YOUNGER MEMBERS

Chair: Emer O’Connor
Vice-Chair: Jennifer Dorgan
Members
Ciara Anderson
Caroline Crowley
Carina Davidson
Carol Eager
Avril Flannery
Frank Halley
Donal Hamilton
Madeleine Thornton
Secretary: Judith Tedders

SOCIETY WORKING GROUPS AND TASK FORCES ARTHUR COX FOUNDATION BOARD

Chair: Michael Carrigan
John F Buckley
Tom Courtney
Elma Lynch
Secretary: Mary Gaynor

eCONVEYANCING IMPLEMENTATION BOARD

Chair: Patrick Dorgan
Gabriel Brennan
Stuart Gilhooly
Mary Keane
Eamonn Keenan
Ken Murphy
Simon Murphy
Michael Quinlan
Secretary: Liam Barrett

eCONVEYANCING TASK FORCE

Chair: Eamonn Keenan
Vice-Chair: Neil Butler
Nessa Aylmer
Gabriel Brennan
Patrick Dorgan
Majella Egan
Deirdre Fox
Flor McCarthy
Sonia McEntee
Clodagh O’Hagan
Martina Ward-Clancy
Secretary: Liam Barrett

eSIGNATURES WORKING GROUP

Co-Chairs: Peter Bolger and Gabriel Brennan
Liam Barrett
Chris Bollard
Jane Bourke
Neil Butler
Eamonn Keenan
Teri Kelly
James Somerville
Secretary: Martina Ward-Clancy

FATF AND AML
TASK FORCE

Chair: James MacGuill
Brian Bohan
David Brangam
Chris Callan
Martin Crotty
Colm Dunne
John Elliot
Mary Keane
Paul Keane
Martin Lawlor
Cormac Little
John Olden
Secretaries: Helen Kehoe/Emma-Jane
Williams

LEGAL SERVICES REGULATION BILL TASK FORCE

Chair: Paul Keane
Martin Crotty
Paul Egan
John Elliot
Stuart Gilhooly
Eamon Harrington
Sorcha Hayes
Rachael Hession
Mary Keane
Liam Kennedy
Ken Murphy
Simon Murphy
Kevin O’Higgins
Attracta O’Regan
Valerie Peart
Michael Quinlan
Robert Ryan
Brendan Twomey
Keith Walsh
Secretary: Simon Treanor

MENTAL HEALTH AND CAPACITY TASK FORCE

Chair: Patricia Rickard-Clarke
Aine Flynn
Mary Condell
Padraic Courtney
Mark Felton
Aine Hynes
Marie Kinsella
Nora Lillis
John O’Connor
Secretary: Rory O’Boyle

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT STANDARD WORKING GROUP

Chair: Valerie Peart
William Aylmer
Chris Callan
Maura Derivan
Laurence Grace
Richard Hammond
Brian McMullin
Pat Mullins
Michelle Ní Longáin
Mike O’Reilly
David Phelan
John P Shaw
Secretary: Attracta O’Regan

REGULATION DEFENCE COSTS INSURANCE WORKING GROUP

Chair: Richard Hammond
Patrick Dorgan
Paul Egan
John Elliot
Liam Kennedy
Susan Martin
Roderick Tyrrell
Brendan Twomey
Secretary: Lorraine O’Donoghue

Committee Membership (Cont'd)

1,169

the number of queries dealt with by the Conveyancing Committee helpline from July 2016 to June 2017

WORKING GROUPS WITH THE BPFI
Steering Group

Co-Chair: Ken Murphy
eConveyancing Working Group
Co-Chair: Patrick Dorgan
Secretary: TBC
Conveyancing Issues
Co-Chair: Suzanne Bainton
Secretary: Catherine O’Flaherty
Banking/Other Issues
Co-Chair: Paul Keane
Secretary: Sally Winters

REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SOCIETY ON OTHER BODIES

ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON GARDA INTERVIEWING OF SUSPECTS

James MacGuill

ADVISORY GROUP DEALING WITH ASPECTS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REGULATION OF LOBBYING BILL

Cormac Ó Culáin

ADVISORY GROUP
ON EFFICIENCY 
MEASURES IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Conal Boyce

CCBE

James MacGuill (three-year term, until November 2018)

CCBE COMMITTEES

Anti-Money-Laundering – Mary Keane
Access to Justice – Alma Clissmann
Company Law – Mark Ryan
Competition – Ken Murphy
Criminal Law (Chairman) – James MacGuill
Deontology – John Glynn
European Private Law – Paul Keane
Family Law – Keith Walsh
Free Movement of Lawyers – TP Kennedy
Future of the Legal Profession – James MacGuill
Human Rights Law – Alma Clissmann
IT Law – Greg Ryan
PII – Richard Hammond
Succession Law – Tom Martyn
Surveillance – James MacGuill
Training – TP Kennedy
CCBE Information Officer: Eva Massa

COMMITTEE ON CODIFICATION OF CRIMINAL LAW

Conal Boyce

COMMITTEE ON VIDEO-CONFERENCING

Patrick J McGonagle

INCORPORATED COUNCIL OF LAW REPORTING FOR IRELAND

Niall Farrell
John Glynn
Eamonn Hall
Ken Murphy

SUPERIOR COURTS RULES COMMITTEE

Mike Kavanagh
Stuart Gilhooly

CIRCUIT COURT RULES COMMITTEE

Fiona Duffy
Keith Walsh
Consultative Working Group on the Rules re Family Law
Matters
Keith Walsh

DISTRICT COURT RULES COMMITTEE

Shane McCarthy
Riobard Pierse

COURTS-MARTIAL RULES COMMITTEE

Niall Farrell

COURTS SERVICE BOARD

James McCourt (three-year term, until November 2017)

COURTS SERVICE BOARD BUILDING COMMITTEE

James McCourt 

COURTS SERVICE BOARD FAMILY LAW COURT DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Donagh McGowan

COURTS SERVICE BOARD DIGITAL AUDIO RECORDING WORKING GROUP

TBC

COSC (National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence)

Joan O’Mahony

Monitoring Committee of the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and
Gender-based 
Violence 2016-2021

Joan O’Mahony

COURTS SERVICE CUSTOMER USER GROUPS

Civil Litigation: David Martin
Court of Appeal – Civil: Liam Kennedy, John P Shaw
Court of Appeal – Criminal: Shalom Binchy, Dara
Robinson
Dublin Circuit Civil: Aine Hynes (alternate
Ronan O’Neill)
Examiners and Official Assignee’s Offices:
Joy Compton
Family Law (Circuit and High Courts): Justin Spain
Family Law (District Court): Carol Anne Coolican
Wards of Court: Justin McKenna
Criminal Courts
Criminal Courts of Justice: Emer O’Sullivan
Blanchardstown District Court: Margaret McEvilly
Dun Laoghaire District Court: Ronnie Lynam

COURT USERS GROUP

The president (for the time being)

CROLINK

Maire Cunningham

DJEI ADVISORY GROUP FOR A STUDY ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Fred Logue

NATIONAL ELDER ABUSE STEERING COMMITTEE

John Costello

ELDER ABUSE STEERING GROUPS OF THE HSE

Dublin North East: Paula Fallon
Dublin Mid Leinster: Justin McKenna
Southern: John Jermyn
Western: Tom Martyn

Engineers Ireland – Ethics and Disciplinary Board

Kevin O’Higgins
Environmental Protection Agency Working
Group – National Inspection Plan: Domestic
Wastewater Treatment Systems
Dermot O’Dwyer

EUROPEAN COMPANY
LAWYERS
 ASSOCIATION (ECLA)

Brian Connolly

FOUR COURTS COMMITTEE
ON CENTENARY 
COMMEMORATIONS

James McCourt

HIGH LEVEL GROUP ON BUSINESS
REGULATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JOBS, ENTERPRISE AND INNOVATION

Patrick Sweetman

IEDR POLICY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Joe Kane

IIS INTER-PROFESSIONAL TASK FORCE ON PROPERTY BOUNDARIES

Gabriel Brennan
Patrick Sweetman

INTERNATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION

John D Shaw (three-year term, until November 2019)

INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

ICC National Committee
Anthony Hussey
Frank Murphy
ICC Commission on Arbitration
Bernard Gogarty
Frank Murphy
ICC Commission on Intellectual Property
Deirdre Kilroy

INTER-PROFESSIONAL GROUP

Cormac Ó Culáin

IRISH LEGAL TERMS ADVISORY

Máiréad Ní Ghabháin

IRISH RULE OF LAW INTERNATIONAL

Michael Irvine
Mary Keane
Cillian MacDomhnaill
John D Shaw
Simon Murphy (alternate)

JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE WITH THE BAR

Stuart Gilhooly
Michael Quinlan
Fiona Duffy
James McCourt
James MacGuill
Simon Murphy
Mary Keane
Ken Murphy

JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS ADVISORY BOARD

John D Shaw

LAWCARE

Louise Campbell
Valerie Peart (three-year term, until November 2019)

NATIONAL INTER-SECTORAL SAFEGUARDING COMMITTEE

Mary Keane

PERSONAL INJURIES COMMISSION

Stuart Gilhooly
Frances Twomey (alternate)

PROPERTY REGISTRATION AUTHORITY

Deirdre Fox

PRA eREGISTRATION PROJECT BOARD

Gabriel Brennan

PUBLISHED ACCOUNTS AWARDS COMMITTEE

Alvin Price

REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL USERS GROUP

Grainne Brophy
Ángel Bello Cortés

REGISTRATION OF DEEDS AND TITLE RULES COMMITTEE

Majella Egan

SMDF

Patrick Dorgan

STAKEHOLDER GROUP TO DEVELOP SI TO COMMENCE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS ACT 2013

Anthony Hussey

SUPREME COURT COMPUTERISATION
 WORKING GROUP

Frank Lanigan
Frank Nowlan

TAXATION ADMINISTRATION LIAISON COMMITTEE

Pat Bradley
Caroline Devlin
James Somerville

Audit Subcommittee
Tom Martyn
Justin McGettigan

BEPS/KDB Subcommittee
Caroline Devlin
Aidan Fahy
Andrew Quinn


Collections Subcommittee
Deirdre Barnicle
Tracey O’Donnell


Companies Act workgroup
Sonya Manzor


Direct Taxes Technical/CAT Subcommittee
Padraic Courtney
Caroline Devlin
Maura Dineen
Deirdre Fox
Aileen Keogan
Gavin McGuire


Indirect Taxes Subcommittee
Donal Kennedy
David Lawless
Michael O’Connor

UNION INTERNATIONALE DU NOTARIAT LATIN

Mary Casey

VETERINARY COUNCIL FITNESS TO PRACTISE COMMITTEE

Simon Murphy (chair, four-year term, until
December 2018)
Michael Quinlan (deputy chair, four-year term, until
June 2021)

NOMINEES OF THE SOCIETY

COMPANY LAW REVIEW GROUP

Eleanor Daly

IRISH TAKEOVER PANEL

Paul Egan
Lorcan Tiernan (alternate)

SOCIETY OF ACTUARIES DISCIPLINARY PANEL

Patrick Dorgan
Michael Quinlan

SOLICITORS RETIREMENT FUND

Chair: Laurence K Shields
Walter Beatty
Owen Binchy
Adrian P Bourke
Geraldine Clarke
Anthony Collins
Gerard Doherty
Anthony Ensor
Gerard Griffin
Elma Lynch
Ward McEllin
Ken Murphy
John D Shaw
John P Shaw

Reports and consolidated financial statements

For the year ended 31 December 2016

 

1,169

the number of queries dealt with by the Conveyancing Committee helpline from July 2016 to June 2017

The Finance Committee is required to prepare financial statements for each financial year.

Click on the link below to view the Law Society of Ireland Reports and Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2016

LAW SOCIETY OF IRELAND COMPENSATION FUND

For the year ended 31 December 2016

The Regulation of Practice Committee is responsible for ensuring that financial statements are prepared each year which fairly present in all material respects the state of affairs of the Law Society of Ireland Compensation Fund and of its result for that period.

Click on the link below to view the Report and Financial Statements for the Law Society of Ireland Compensation Fund for the year ended 31 December 2016.

Commitment to the environment

The Law Society of Ireland is committed to energy efficiency, minimising waste, reducing water consumption, encouraging greener modes of transport, and generally encouraging a culture of sustainability and an awareness of our impact on the environment.

 A limited number of hard-copy annual reports have been produced for administrative, accessibility and archival purposes.

Our full Corporate Responsibility Statement is available at: www.lawsociety.ie/csr

Index

Click on any link below for more details.