In a first for Irish legal services, Maples and Calder has established a dedicated Irish Advocacy Service for clients who are engaged in corporate and commercial litigation in the Irish Circuit and High Courts, including the Commercial Court.
At present in Ireland, commercial legal firms brief counsel to litigate in court on their clients’ behalf. The preparatory work is always undertaken by solicitors and then passed to barristers. Solicitors invest significant time and expertise in mastering the factual background, evidence, witnesses, documents and legal issues relevant to the issue in dispute. They then impart that knowledge to barristers to present and argue the case in front of a judge. This sometimes results in duplication that is not in the best interests of the client because the process can be more costly, less efficient and less effective.
Though solicitors have a right of audience in all courts, higher court advocacy in Ireland has traditionally been reserved for barristers. In anticipation of changes proposed by the Irish Government's Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011, clients of Maples' Irish litigation practice will be offered the option of having their solicitor perform the role traditionally performed by junior counsel, including advocating their case in court. This will ensure a continuity of service and will eliminate the duplication of work that often occurs between solicitors and junior counsel. This will also more closely mirror the way in which advocacy services are offered to clients of the firm's Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands litigation practices, and extend the advocacy services already offered to clients by the Irish Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group in other forums.
To this end Maples has established a team comprised of five lawyers that have trained and practised as barristers. The firm’s Irish Advocacy Service team will be led by Enda O’Keeffe and includes Nicholas Cole, Malachi Sweetman, Michael Kennedy and Graham O'Doherty. These lawyers will, in conjunction with the firm’s solicitor advocates, provide the foundation of the firm’s Irish Advocacy Service.
In line with best practice in other common law jurisdictions, Maples will of course continue to appoint counsel in appropriate cases; for example, to prosecute and defend major commercial actions, or where clients specifically wish to instruct members of the Bar.
For more information on the Irish Advocacy Service, please contact one of the individuals listed on the right of the page.
Clients choose us and come back to us because of our team based, commercial approach to solving their problems.