undertake a two-year apprenticeship under a supervising solicitor (called a ‘master’). The practical component comes first, with a four-month period of office-based training. This is followed by one year studying for the Certificate of Professional Studies at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at QUB. This is then followed by a further eight months of office-based work. There is a reciprocal arrangement whereby English and Welsh-qualified solicitors may transfer to Northern Ireland without taking further qualifications or examinations. They need only complete an application form, provide two character references, supply any proofs asked for and pay a fee. The same applies for solicitors who are qualified in Scotland. Barristers Trainee barristers must undertake the Bar Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Studies at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at QUB. They are then called to the Bar; but before they can practise, they must enter into one year of pupillage with a practising barrister of not less than seven years’ standing.
must undertake a 21-month period of paid training in a solicitors’ office (as for a trainee solicitor above, although slightly shorter), followed by a nine-month period ‘devilling’ as an unpaid pupil to an advocate. The intrant must then pass an exam set by the Faculty of Advocates covering written and oral advocacy. At this stage, he or she is admitted as an advocate. Prospective students should note that a law degree from an English university will not form part of the qualification process in Scotland. Nor will a Scottish law degree be recognised by the Law Society of England and Wales as part of its qualification process. If you train in, say, Scotland, you will have to retrain to practise in England and Wales or Northern Ireland, and the same applies for movement in the opposite direction – unless you hold the special dual-qualified degree on offer from the universities of either Dundee or Strathclyde.
For more details visit www.lawscot.org.uk and www.advocates.org.uk.
Northern Ireland Undergraduate study Law degrees are offered at Queen’s
University Belfast (QUB) and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. However, law degrees from a number of other universities in England, Wales and Ireland are also accepted as qualifying law degrees for the purposes of passing on to the next stage: apprenticeship. Non-law graduates must complete an accelerated two-year master’s in law (MLaw) at QUB before they can progress to their apprenticeship. Vocational study/training Solicitors The vocational study and practical training aspects that are found separately in England, Wales and Scotland are combined in Northern Ireland. Trainee solicitors must
For more details visit www.lawsoc-ni.org and www.barofni.com.
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