Barristers have been practising in Ireland for over 450 years. In 1541, The Honorable Society of King’s Inns was established when a lease was granted by Henry VIII for the use of Blackfriars monastery (now the location of the Four Courts). The Society was moved to its present location on Constitution Hill in 1800.

The benchers of the Honorable Society of King’s Inns (benchers include all the judges of the Supreme and High Courts and a number of elected barristers) admit candidates to the degree of Barrister-at-Law. They may then be called to the Irish Bar by the Chief Justice. Barristers are subject to the professional standards set by The Bar of Ireland.

The Irish legal system is based on the common law, which originated in England. This type of system attaches great significance to judge-made law. A decision in one case is legally binding on all subsequent cases with similar facts unless it is reversed by a higher court or on appeal. Other sources of law in Ireland include the Constitution, Acts of the Oireachtas (statutes) and the law of the European Communities.

Under the Irish justice system, court hearings in contested cases are conducted in an adversarial manner. This means that each side presents its case and seeks to challenge that of its opponents through the evidence of its own witnesses, cross-examination and legal argument.

Trailblazers: 100 years of Women at the Bar

To mark the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 the Bar of Ireland Library Services have curated an online exhibition of the first 100 women called to the Bar in Ireland.

Many of these first 100 women pushed through the barriers of society to blaze a trail for those that have followed over the last century and given a voice to women all over Ireland.

If you have any further information on the women featured in our exhibition, or any pictures that could help fill the gaps, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact: thebarofireland@lawlibrary.ie

World War l Centenary

World War I had a massive impact on The Bar of Ireland, then only a few hundred members. To commemorate the centenary of the Armistice, Law Library staff have put together this online exhibition to tell the stories of the barristers who went to war between 1914 and 1918, and in particular those who never came home.

1916 Centenary

Bullets, Books & Barricades is an exhibition currently on show in the Round Hall in the Four Courts, explaining the role the building and its played during Easter Week 1916. The exhibition is a joint project between the Bar of Ireland and the Courts Centenary Commemoration Committee.