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How to Become a Judge in Ireland

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The Irish legal system is based on the same adversarial model as the British system. The qualifications needed to work as a professional in law in Ireland are quite similar, although the candidate will, of course, need to study Irish law. As in the UK, you cannot become a judge in Ireland unless you have a background as a solicitor or barrister. A law degree is a prerequisite.

Basic requirements

Study law to degree level, gaining the LLB from a recognised university. Gain a post-graduate qualification as a solicitor or barrister. Work as a solicitor or barrister for a minimum of 10 years before applying for a district judge position. Practice for at least 12 years before applying to become a High Court or Supreme Court judge. Solicitors or barristers with experience working in the European Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, the International Court of Justice or the International War Crimes Tribunal will have this experience taken into account when applying for a judge's position. Ensure your reputation and record do not cause concern, as as your character and reputation will be scrutinized.

Apply to positions advertised in the national press, filling in the detailed application form. Appointments are made by the President of the Irish Republic and come from a list of seven suitable candidates put forward by the Ministry of Justice and from candidates recommended by The Judicial Appointments Advisory Board.

Ensure your tax affairs are in order, as directed by the Standards on Public Office Act 2001. The criteria for appointment as a judge include: "suitable on the grounds of character and temperament."


Be prepared to have your privacy restricted; for example, your telephone number must be ex-directory.


Much out-of-hours reading and preparation will be required. A judge may actually receive a significantly smaller salary than the barristers appearing before him/her. For Supreme or High Court judges, however, the holiday allowance is generous.


Noreen Wainwright has been writing since 1997. Her work has appeared in "The Daily Telegraph," "The Guardian," "The Countryman" and "The Lady." She has a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from Liverpool Polytechnic and a postgraduate law degree from Staffordshire University.

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