Legal Services Regulation Act 2015
Reports on specified matters to Minister
34. (1) Without prejudice to the functions of the Authority referred to in section 13(2)(h) and (i), the Authority shall, following appropriate public consultation processes, prepare and furnish reports to the Minister in relation to the following:
(a) the education and training (including on-going training) arrangements in the State for legal practitioners, including the manner in which such education and training is provided;
(b) unification of the solicitors’ profession and the barristers’ profession;
(c) the creation of a new profession of conveyancer;
(d) such other matters as the Minister may, from time to time, request the Authority to report on to him or her.
(2) The fact that the Authority has provided a report under subsection (1) in respect of a matter referred to in that subsection shall not, of itself, preclude the Minister from requiring another report in respect of that matter or the Authority from providing that report.
(3) A report in respect of a matter referred to in subsection (1)(a)—
(a) shall be provided to the Minister within 2 years of the establishment day,
(b) shall contain a review of the existing arrangements relating to the education and training of legal practitioners and make such recommendations as it considers appropriate in relation to the arrangements that in the opinion of the Authority should be in place for the provision of the education and training referred to in that subsection, including the accreditation of bodies to provide such education and training, and the reforms or amendments, whether administrative or legislative, that are required to facilitate those arrangements,
(c) without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (b), shall include recommendations in relation to—
(i) appropriate standards of education and training for legal professional qualifications,
(ii) arrangements necessary to monitor adherence to the standards referred to in sub paragraph (i),
(iii) the scope and content of the curriculum forming part of courses of legal professional education and training, including the teaching methodology of legal education, legal ethics, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution and advocacy,
(iv) arrangements that would facilitate the minimisation of duplication, and consequent expense incurred, in the taking of examinations in legal subjects on the part of a person—
(I) who wishes to undertake a course of legal professional education and who has obtained a third level law degree that includes one or more of the subjects that form part of that course,
(II) who, being a solicitor, wishes to become a barrister, or who, being a barrister, wishes to be admitted as a solicitor,
(v) standards required for the award of legal professional qualifications pursuant to courses of legal professional education and training,
(vi) the need for, and, if such need is identified, the manner of and requirements relating to the accreditation of bodies or institutions to—
(I) provide, or procure the provision of, courses of legal professional education and training,
(II) hold or procure the holding of examinations, and
(III) award, or procure the awarding of, diplomas, certificates or other awards of merit,
(vii) any other matters that the Authority considers relevant and appropriate.
(4) A report in respect of the matter referred to in subsection (1)(b)—
(a) shall be provided to the Minister within 4 years of the establishment day,
(b) shall contain details of arrangements in operation in other jurisdictions in which the professions have been unified,
(c) shall contain recommendations as to—
(i) whether the solicitors’ profession and the barristers’ profession in the State should be unified having regard to, among other things—
(I) the public interest,
(II) the need for competition in the provision of legal services in the State,
(III) the proper administration of justice,
(IV) the interest of consumers of legal services including access by such consumers to experienced legal practitioners, and
(V) any other matters that the Authority considers appropriate or necessary,
(ii) if the recommendation in sub paragraph (i) is in favour of unification of the solicitors’ profession and the barristers’ profession—
(I) how the professions can be unified, and
(II) the reforms or amendments, whether administrative, legislative, or to existing professional codes, that are required to facilitate such unification,
(iii) any other matters that the Authority considers appropriate or necessary.
(5) A report in respect of the matters referred to in subsection (1)(c) and (d) shall—
(a) be provided to the Minister within a period specified by the Minister in a written notice to the Authority requesting the report,
(b) contain such details and make recommendations as to such matters as may be specified by the Minister in the notice referred to in paragraph (a).
(6) (a) The Authority shall, either at the request of the Minister or on its own initiative, prepare an interim report for the Minister in relation to any of the matters in respect of a report being prepared under this section.
(b) An interim report referred to in paragraph (a) may refer generally to the progress of the public consultation process concerned or it may refer to—
(i) where the Minister has requested the interim report, to such matters as the Minister requests, or
(ii) where the interim report is prepared on the initiative of the Authority, to such matters as the Authority considers appropriate,
and may contain recommendations in respect of such matters.
(7) The Minister shall cause copies of any report referred to in this section to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas within 30 days of having received it.