The Law Society of Northern Ireland

Law Society House
98 Victoria Street
Belfast, Northern Ireland BT1 3JZ
Tel: +44 1232 231614
Fax: +44 1232 232606
Email: info@lawsoc-ni.org

Overview

Number of Members: 2,000 (approximately)
Annual Cost: £500
Membership is: Compulsory

Bar Profile:
The Society is the governing body for all solicitors in Northern Ireland. It deals with the education, regulation and conduct of its members in their dealings with clients, public, government and other organisations.

It is run by a council of members, comprising 21 ordinary members and 9 constituancy representatives elected by the members every two years. A committee structure deals with various aspects of Society business.

Administration is carried out by the Chief Executive assisted by a Deputy Secretary, two Assistant Secretaries (all solicitors) together with two qualified accountants and two qualified librarians and nine support staff.

Brief Historical Background
The Society was incorporated under Royal Charter in 1922. It has been located in Law Society House since 1983, having previously resided in the Royal Courts of Justice, Belfast.

It has the legal responsibility for running the Legal Aid Department which administers legal aid throughout Norhtern Ireland.

It operates its own financial services company for the benefit of members' clients, which is regulated by the Personal Investment Authority.

At present it runs a compensation fund (currently uncapped) for the benefit of clients who have suffered loss or hardship as a consequence of dishonesty or failure to account for money on the part of a solicitor.

The home charter scheme run by the Society is a quality assurance scheme for conveyancing aimed at improving standards in this field.

ACTIVITIES

Annual Conferences
Usually April with venues in Great Britain and Ireland. Contact: Suzanne Bryson, Deputy Secretary.

Education & Seminar Programme
Contact: Jennifer Shevlin, Assistant Secretary.

Journal or Newsletter
Writ magazine published monthly. Contact: Suzanne Bryson.

Publications Available to Non Members
Information leaflets for solicitors, clients and general public available from Law Society House.

Other Services
Library facilities for members only. Contact: Heather Semple, Librarian.

PRACTICE REQUIREMENTS

Admission
Normally recognized law degree and professional qualification.

Annual License to Practice
Subject to fees and compulsory professional indemnity insurance funds.

Continuing Legal Education Requirements
None.

Code of Ethics
Society has its own practice regulations.

Disciplinary Functions
Disciplinary tribunal, set up independently of Society under solicitors order 1976, can admonish, fine, restrict from practice or strike off role of solicitors.

Practice by Foreign Lawyers
Permitted.

Restrictions
Subject to suitable qualifications.

Current Officers & Leadership

President
Mr John Meehan

Junior Vice-President
Mr John Neill

Senior Vice-President
Mrs Catherine Dixon

Secretary
Mr John Bailie

Contacts

Membership Inquiries
Ms. Suzanne Bryson, Deputy Secretary
Law Society House
98 Victoria Street
Belfast, Northern Ireland BT1 3JZ
Tel: +44 1232 231614
Fax: +44 1232 232606