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Registered European Lawyer

European lawyer

A lawyer belonging to one of the Member State legal professions listed in the European Establishment Directive (98/5/EC) may practice under their home jurisdiction title in Northern Ireland provided he or she:

  • is registered with a “competent authority” in the host state (Article 3); and

  • complies with the rules of conduct governing lawyers regulated by that “competent authority” (Article 6).

The Law Society of Northern Ireland is one of the two "competent authorities” in Northern Ireland. The other is the General Council of the Bar of Northern Ireland.


The following information has been supplied to help those wishing to apply to become a Registered European Lawyer.

WHAT IS THE ESTABLISHMENT DIRECTIVE?

WHAT IS THE SERVICES DIRECTIVE?

HOW DO I APPLY TO BECOME A REGISTERED EUROPEAN LAWYER?


ESTABLISHMENT DIRECTIVE AND BREXIT

Following the decision of the UK to withdraw from the European Union, the REL process will no longer be open to EU lawyers wishing to establish in Northern Ireland once the UK leaves the EU. Should the UK leave the EU with a negotiated deal in place, under current terms in this area the Establishment Directive would continue to apply until the end of the transitional period (31 December 2020).

In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the UK Government has put in place legislation (this includes Northern Ireland and England and Wales, with equivalent legislation introduced in Scotland) to unilaterally offer EU lawyers registered in the UK a grace period until December 2020 to either transfer to UK title, or to alter their business model accordingly. However, the process will close to new applicants.

The Services of Lawyers and Lawyer’s Practice (Revocation etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 can be found by clicking here 


Under the terms of The Services of Lawyers and Lawyers Practice (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, which implement the UK-Swiss Separation Agreement, the rights of existing Swiss Lawyers registered as RELs in Northern Ireland, England and Wales before Exit Day will not be revoked and the Regulations also provide for a longer transitional period for Swiss Lawyers seeking to register and initiate the application to transfer to the host profession for a period of four years from the date of Exit Day. The Regulations can be found by clicking here.



 

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