Tuesday, 30 May 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
76. Mr. Shatter asked the Taoiseach the basis upon which a patent of precedence is conferred to be called to the inner bar; if the Government proposes to change the legal and administrative provisions that apply to the furnishing of such patents; the basis on which such patents of precedence are given only to Junior Counsel; and if such a patent can be given to a solicitor. [14809/00]
The Taoiseach: On foot of an application received from a barrister, a patent of precedence may be granted by the Government on the basis of a recommendation by the Taoiseach, based on the advice of the Attorney General following discussions involving the Chief Justice, other senior members of the Judiciary and the chairman of the Bar Council.
Membership of the senior bar is a mark of eminence among barristers and not a requirement for audience in the courts. Solicitors have by law full rights of audience in all courts of Ireland although not members of the Bar. This right has existed in Ireland since 1972.
Statutory provisions such as section 67(5) of the Courts of Justice Act, 1936, and section 14 of the Courts Act, 1988 make it clear that the phrases “Senior Bar” and “Senior Counsel” refer to barristers.
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