King’s Inns to nominate Mr Justice Kearns to new regulatory authority

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns

Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, former president of the High Court, will be nominated by the King’s Inns to serve on the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority, the Irish Independent reports.

Mr Justice Kearns retired from the top judicial post, to which he was appointed in 2009, at the end of last year.

He is now expected to be appointed to the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority, which will have oversight of both barristers and solicitors.

The body has been established by the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015, which was approved by the Oireachtas in December 2015.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the legislation, which was extensively scrutinised and amended before its eventual approval, was part of “real and lasting reform” in the legal sector.

Mr Justice Kearns is also eligible to become the inaugural chairperson of the new body as he has not served as a practising barrister or solicitor for the past five years.

The eleven members of the Authority are formally appointed following nominations from a number of legal and civic bodies.

The Bar Council, Legal Aid Board, and King’s Inns can each nominate one person for membership of the Authority.

They are expected to nominate “a primary nominee of one sex and a substitute nominee of the other sex”.

The Law Society of Ireland can nominate two members, which the legislation says should be one man and one woman.

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