The Courts Service
The Courts Service has offices in Dublin (City and County) and at over 60 locations around the country in every county in Ireland. Our staff are employed at civil service grades and there are plenty of opportunities for promotion and career development. We are committed to identifying a person's individual training needs and to delivering a tailored training and personal development plan. We positively encourage self-development. Our staff are supported to study part-time by the refunding of fees for courses seen as relevant to the job and by the giving of exam and study-leave.
We offer flexible working hours (flexi-time) and work-sharing facilities. Our staff can avail of job sharing and other facilities to pursue further education or for personal reasons. In addition, after working with us for a particular period of time you can apply for a career break. This allows you to take from six months to five years unpaid leave while still retaining the option to return to work within the Courts Service after the career break has expired.
A career in the Courts Service offers a great opportunity to participate in the general operation of the courts system in Ireland. Our work covers a diverse range and includes working in the courtroom as a court registrar and working in court offices dealing with the preparation of cases for court. You might like to work dealing directly with the public or maybe you would feel happier working in our departments that support the work of the courts such as human resources, finance, information technology or the refurbishment and maintenance of court buildings. No matter what you are interested in, it is very likely that there are many jobs in the Courts Service that will appeal to you.
Joining the Courts Service
Staff of the Courts Service are recruited by the Office of the Public Appointments Service. They recruit staff for numerous Civil Service grades including clerical officers and executive officers.
You may register your interest in particular categories of jobs using the interactive jobs website www.publicjobs.ie. You will find information about the recruitment process on that website, together with job advertisements. Positions are also advertised in the Irish national newspapers. You should check the website for positions that interest you.
A familiarisation booklet is available explaining the selection tests used in the recruitment process and including sample questions.
Public Appointments Service Chapter House 26-30 Abbey Street Upper Dublin 1.
Tel: + 353 1 858 7400 Lo-call: 1890 449 999
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The first step in becoming a barrister is entrance into the Honourable Society of King's Inns in Dublin to study for a Barrister-at-Law degree. Participation in the Barrister-at-Law degree course is confined to (1) people who have a law degree, or (2) people who have successfully completed the diploma course in legal studies organised by the King's Inns. Participants must then pass entrance exams organised by the Society which are usually held in September.
Students in the one year full time degree course study subjects such as Conveyancing, Taxation, Administrative and Planning Law, Commercial Law, Practice and Procedure, Competition Law, Advocacy, and Evidence.
King's Innsstudents must be able to conduct a case in the Irish language and are therefore obliged to pass a written and oral Irish exam. In addition to passing the required exams, students must 'keep commons', by dining in the Dining Hall at the King's Inns ten times in each academic year. Following successful completion of the barrister-at-law degree, the King's Inns graduate will be called to the Bar. The call to the Bar is a formal ceremony whereby a graduate is admitted to take their place in court and to practice as a junior counsel.
Following the call to the Bar, a barrister must spend at least one legal year as a pupil of an experienced barrister. This period is known as devilling, and the pupil barrister is known as a devil, while the experienced barrister is referred to as the master. During the pupil stage, the devil is required to assist their master in all aspects of their practice including court work, drafting court papers, and making court applications on behalf of their master's clients.
Life as a barrister
Barristers are professional advocates, who deal with court work at all levels of the legal system. They tend to have particular expertise in certain areas of law. Barristers must act as independent practitioners; they depend entirely on themselves for work and income. This is an essential difference between life at the Bar and life in a solicitor's office, although the role of the barrister as an advocate before the courts is still regarded as the main difference between the two professions. Barristers are governed by the Honourable Society of the King's Inns and the General Council of the Bar of Ireland.
Barristers are not allowed to take instructions directly from lay clients although in the case of contentious matters they are allowed to have preliminary consultations with clients once a solicitor is present. Barristers are largely dependent upon solicitors for work. The Code of Conduct of the Bar Council obliges a barrister to uphold the interests of his client 'without regard to his own interests or any consequences to himself or any other person'. Furthermore, written or oral communications between a barrister / solicitor and a client are legally privileged if made in the context of contemplated or pending litigation.
After some years as a junior counsel, a barrister may apply to the Chief Justice and Attorney General for admission to the Inner Bar (to become a Senior Counsel). A barrister is called to the Inner Bar by the Chief Justice in the Supreme Court, on the approval of the government. When accepted into the Inner Bar, the barrister is granted letters patent by the Government. This is known as "taking silk". A senior counsel takes precedence over junior counsel in court and wears a silk gown.
Another difference between junior and senior counsel is in the amount of payment they receive. The fee for a junior counsel is normally two-thirds of the fee charged by a senior counsel except where the latter is charging a special fee due to the length or difficulty of a particular case, in which case they are entitled to be paid more.
The Honorable Society of King's Inns Henrietta Street Dublin 1
Tel: + 353 1 874 4840
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The Law Society of Ireland is responsible for the education of prospective solicitors who must sit an entrance exam. Knowledge of the following subjects is essential for passing these exams: Torts Law, Contract Law, European Union Law, Property Law, Equity, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Company Law. Non law graduates can also qualify as solicitors once they pass the requisite entrance exams.
Once a prospective solicitor has passed the entrance exams, they must then secure a position in a firm to be trained. During this training ('apprenticeship') period, the apprentice earns a minimum weekly wage. Some large firms have many partners and much of their work is for public or commercial bodies (as opposed to private individuals). Many of these firms visit universities and an excellent academic background is required in order to gain entry to these firms. Many trainee solicitors also find apprenticeships in firms dealing with private client work such as conveyancing, wills and probate, tax work, crime, divorce and family disputes. An important factor to consider for an apprentice is the quality of training a firm gives trainees.
The trainee solicitor applies to the President of the High Court, having passed the requisite exams and served the apprenticeship, to be admitted as a solicitor. The ceremony consists of the President of the High Court presenting the applicant with their solicitor's parchment. The final step on the road to qualification sees the solicitor obtaining a 'practising certificate'.
Life as a solicitor
The term 'solicitor' dates from the 16th and 17th centuries and was a term used for an official who represented lay clients at the early stages of litigation and prepared the case for the professional advocate. To be admitted as a solicitor, you must be twenty-one, served an apprenticeship and passed the requisite exams which include Irish language exams. The Law Society must also be satisfied that you are a fit and proper person to be a solicitor. Since the 1970s, solicitors have rights of audience before all courts, but in practice it is unusual for solicitors to speak in the higher courts, where much of the work is still undertaken by barristers.
The Incorporated Law Society of Ireland Blackhall Place Dublin
Tel: +353 1 672 4800
If you want information regarding a legal career in the USA you should contact: American Bar Association 1155 East 60th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 or, New York State Bar Association One Elk Street Albany, New York 1220
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A legal executive is a professional person who assists in the operation of general and specialist legal matters with solicitors, barristers and within other areas of commercial and legal practice. Legal Executives are members of the Irish Institute of Legal Executives.
The Institute was formed in 1987 and incorporated in 1992. It aims to provide a system of training and examination and to obtain a recognised professional qualification for those engaged in legal work. Members of the Institute are employed in private practice, legal departments of banks, public or local authorities or in industry and commerce.
The Institute, in conjunction with Griffith College, Dublin has developed a course specifically for legal executives. The Diploma in Legal Studies and Practice (Hetac Level 7) is a two year course which is designed to give legal executives the necessary academic and practical skills for a legal office. There are a number of levels of membership of the Institute. Members can describe themselves as "Legal Executives" of the Institute or use the applicable initials providing they hold a current annual Practising Certificate.
Irish Institute of Legal Executives 22 Lower Mount Street Dublin 2 Ireland.
Tel: +353-1- 890 4278
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