The King's Inns

Qualifying as a barrister

How to qualify as a barrister

Specially qualified applicants
Qualified lawyers from outside Ireland and Irish solicitors who wish to practise at the Bar in Ireland (be a member of the Law Library and the Bar Council of Ireland and work as a barrister) should go to the ‘specially qualified applicants’ section of the King's Inns website.
For other candidates you must complete three stages to qualify as a barrister. They are the:

  • academic stage;
  • vocational stage; and
  • apprenticeship stage.

Academic stage
Students must undertake and pass an approved law degree or the King's Inns Diploma in Legal Studies. For more details on approved law degrees and the King's Inns Diploma in Legal Studies, please go to www.kingsinns.ie.

Vocational stage
Students must undertake the one-year full-time Degree of Barrister-at-Law at King's Inns. You can only be admitted to this degree course after you have completed the academic stage and passed an entrance examination. For more details on the Degree of Barrister-at-law and the entrance examination, please go to www.kingsinns.ie.

Apprenticeship stage
Once you have passed the Degree of Barrister-at-Law you will be ‘called to 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.

The first year of your practice must be spent as a pupil (also known as a one-year ‘pupillage’) with an approved Dublin-based practitioner. You must complete a course of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) during this year. Undertakings must also be given in respect of certain areas of practice. You must also have professional indemnity insurance.

During the year of pupillage (also known as “devilling”) the pupil or devil must carry out their master’s instructions and learn about the nature of professional practice. During this year, the pupil is not paid.

You must apply to the Bar Council to become a member of the Law Library before the 30th June of the year in which you intend to begin your practice. Once a barrister becomes a member of the Law Library they are free to take up work in their own right, and to start to build up a practice.

The Bar Council regulates professional practice, is responsible for membership of the Law Library, and maintains the shared facilities of the state’s approximately 2,300 barristers.