Statement of policy in relation to the briefing of Counsel
The Attorney General briefs counsel to give legal advice and to appear on behalf of State parties in litigation.
The Attorney General has a policy of distributing briefs among a wide number of barristers, having regard to the provisions of section 7 of the Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974 which provides:
"The Attorney General shall ensure that barristers retained by him in his official capacity to act or advise on his behalf or on behalf of any other person are chosen, from amongst those barristers who have indicated their willingness to so act or advise, in such manner as to effect a distribution of such retainers amongst them that, in the opinion of the Attorney General, is fair and equitable, taking one year with another, having regard to their suitability in relation to any particular retainer, to the public interest and to the distribution of retainers under subsection (2) of this section."
The Official Languages Act 2003 places an obligation on the State, where it is a party to civil proceedings before a court, to use the official language chosen by the other party.
In discharging his obligation, the Attorney General takes account of the following:
- The public interest in ensuring that counsel retained to act for the State on the instructions of the Attorney General are of a very high quality;
- The quality of service provided by counsel who have previously been retained by the Attorney General;
- The fact that certain areas of law are extremely technical or highly specialised and may be suited only to a limited number of practitioners;
- Non Discrimination � briefing of counsel without regard to gender, sexual orientation, race, disability, age, religious belief, marital/family status or membership of the Traveller community.
- Value for money and ensuring that counsel are briefed who will provide a service of high quality which gives value for money.
The Attorney General invites counsel who wish to indicate their willingness to be briefed by him to submit their details and other relevant information using the form. The application form (revised in January 2023) is intended to provide an opportunity for counsel to identify their relevant professional experience, academic qualifications and/or any other relevant information which counsel feels renders them suitable to be briefed by the Attorney General. While the form applies to all new applicants, it is particularly intended to offer an opportunity to newer entrants to the Law Library and those in their formative years of practice at the Bar to inform the Attorney General of their credentials and suitability.
Where, for personal reasons, (including, but not limited to, maternity leave or parental leave) counsel wish to take a period of time out from receiving briefs they should notify the Attorney General's private office indicating the date after which they will be in a position to resume work. Counsel will be fully accommodated in this regard.
For the avoidance of doubt, an indication of willingness to be briefed does not, of itself, guarantee inclusion on any panel of counsel or guarantee that counsel will be briefed by the Attorney General.