Ireland Professional Regulation
The Republic of Ireland punches above its weight on the world stage at least in part because of its approach to business and the professions.
Ireland makes the most of its unique combination of EU membership, English language, common law tradition, as well as its special relationship with the UK. It offers a trusted, and relatively low tax, place for professionals to live and work.
Accountant: An accountant is a qualified individual who prepares, audits, and finalises the accounts of companies, individuals, and other entities. They are similar to auditors in the sense that both roles are responsible for the accounting of companies, but auditors usually have the added responsibility of reviewing the work of accountants and the remaining business. A general accountant in Ireland is different to a chartered accountant. Chartered accountants are specialist in services and businesses, whilst possessing greater job experiences and a higher academic degree.
The Accounting Technicians Ireland (formerly IATI now ATI) qualification is the minimum standard required in order to become a qualified accountant. It is a popular entry route for anyone hoping to become an accountant who does not have any formal qualifications, and once you have achieved an IATI accreditation you are able to offer your services as a professional bookkeeper.
In Ireland, all accountants must adhere to The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA), which was established under the provisions of the Companies Act.
Chartered Accountant: To be considered a chartered accountant in Ireland, all individuals must be associated with a professional accountancy organisation recognised within Ireland. These include the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW); the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI); the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS); and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA Ireland).
Lawyer: A lawyer is a generic term used to identify an individual who is a licensed legal practitioner qualified to give legal advice in one or more areas of law. They are either known as barristers, solicitors, or legal executives. Depending on the type of lawyer, all lawyers within Ireland are regulated by a particular organisation. This reassures employers, clients and the public that they can trust organisational members as safe and competent legal practitioners.
Barrister: Barristers (in Ireland) are lawyers specialised in advocacy, representing individuals or organisations in court, and providing reasoned opinions on complex areas of law. They are usually self-employed who come together with other barristers in ‘chambers’. They are more often instructed through solicitors for specialist work, rather than directly by clients.
Barristers practicing in Ireland are regulated by The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) is responsible for the regulation of legal practitioners (solicitors and barristers) in Ireland.
Solicitor: A solicitor (in Ireland) is a qualified lawyer responsible for preparing legal documentation, representing and/or defending a client’s legal interests. Usually working in firms, they are the first port of call for most clients, and will instruct barristers on their clients behalf where necessary.
Solicitors practicing in England and Wales are also regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authori The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA).
Legal Executive: Legal executives (in Ireland) are a form of trained legal professional in certain jurisdictions. They often specialise in a particular area of law. The training that a Legal Executive undertakes usually includes both vocational training and academic qualifications.
Legal executives practicing in Ireland are regulated by The Irish Institute of Legal Executives (IILEX).
Legal Adviser: A catch all term which includes regulated and unregulated lawyers.
Tax Adviser: Another catch all term, a tax adviser is an individual specialised in tax legislation. Tax Advisers include tax lawyers, tax accountants and unqualified consultants. They provide advisory and consultancy services to their clients. They ensure that their clients pay taxes in the most efficient way and benefit from any tax advantages and exemptions.
Representative body for lawyers
Regulatory body for lawyers
Lawyers in Ireland are regulated mainly by one body. This is The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) which is an independent body responsible for the regulation of legal practitioners (solicitors and barristers) in Ireland.
Lawyers Code of Conduct
The applicable Codes of Conduct for lawyers within Ireland are the Law Society of Ireland’s Professional Code of Conduct, and the Code of Conduct for the Bar of Ireland.
The Law Society of Ireland’s Code of Professional Conduct of Conduct applies to solicitors within Ireland.
The Bar of Ireland’s Code of Conduct applies to barristers within Ireland.
Obligations and requirements to practice law
There are 5 steps to qualify as a solicitor within Ireland:
Preliminary Examination (Non-Graduates)
To become a barrister, there are 4 main steps that must be completed to qualify within Ireland:
Academic stage – Students must undertake and pass an approved law degree or the King’s Inns Diploma in Legal Studies. Full details of approved courses for the purposes of direct access to the Degree of Barrister-at-Law at King’s Inns can be viewed here. Full details of the Kings Inns’ Diploma in Legal Studies can be viewed here.
Vocational stage – Students must undertake the one-year full-time, or the two year-modular (part-time), Degree of Barrister-at-Law at King’s Inns. You can only be admitted to this professional course after you have completed an approved law qualification and satisfied the entry requirements for King’s Inns, which include passing an entrance examination.
Pupillage – Pupillage is the final stage of training to qualify as a practicing barrister, in which practical training is supervised by an experienced member of the Bar who is listed on the Register of Masters maintained by The Bar of Ireland.
Entering practice – When you have completed these three stages you will be admitted to practice by the Chief Justice of Ireland and will be eligible to become a member of the Law Library.
Rules regarding referrals and commissions for lawyers
The Law Society of Ireland’s Code of Conduct sets out the level of professionalism expected from solicitors within Ireland.
The rules regarding referrals and commissions of all kinds are illustrated in sections 6, 8, 9, and 10 of the Law Society of Ireland’s Code of Conduct.
The Bar of Ireland’s Code of Conduct sets out the level of professionalism expected from barristers within Ireland.
The rules regarding referrals and commissions can be found within section 12 of the Bar of Ireland’s Code of Conduct.
Solicitors within Ireland can be found on the Law Society of Ireland’s register.
Barristers within Ireland can be found on the Bar of Ireland’s register.
Representative body for chartered accountants
Within Ireland, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland (ICAI) is considered to be the main representative body.
Regulatory body for chartered accountants
Within Ireland, there are several regulatory bodies that regulate chartered accountants and can be found here.
However, the main regulatory body for chartered accountants within Ireland is the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA).
Chartered accountants’ Code of Ethics
The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) is responsible for setting out the Code of Ethics for chartered accountants within Ireland.
Their Code of Ethics can be found here.
Obligations & requirements for accountants
There are 2 essential steps towards becoming a chartered accountant within Ireland.
Gaining the IATI qualification. The Accounting Technicians Ireland (IATI) qualification is the minimum standard required in order to become a qualified accountant.
Gaining the ACCA qualification. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is one of only two qualifications that allow you to legally sign off on accounts for organisations all over the world. The ACCA accreditation allows you to become a fully qualified accountant and can offer a full range of accountancy services including tax and audits.
Once these steps are complete, it is recommended that an individual gains and experience within various aspects of accounting, and then later begins to develop specialisations within those areas.
Rules regarding referrals and commissions for accountants
The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) establishes the mandatory Code of Ethics for chartered accountants within Ireland.
Rules regarding referrals and commissions can be found within Section 4 of the Ethical Standards for Auditors in Ireland, found here.
The Chartered Accountants of Ireland’s (CAI) register can be found here.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) register can be found here.
The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) register can be found here.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) register can be found here.