Minister Flanagan announces the reappointment of 5 Members of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority



4 October, 2019


The Minister for Justice & Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today announced the Government’s reappointment of the following five members of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA)  to serve for a further three-year term, namely:


-          Sara Moorhead

-          Geraldine Clarke

-          Stephen Fitzpatrick

-          Dermott Jewell

-          Deirdre McHugh.


The reappointments follow the completion of the independent nomination and approval processes as laid out in Part 2 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. This includes the passing of the relevant resolutions of approval for the appointments by both Houses of the Oireachtas which took place yesterday, 3rd October, 2019.


Minister Flanagan welcomed the statutory reappointments, commenting,


“These reappointments to the LSRA will enable the five members to build on the contribution they have already made since the establishment of the Authority in October 2016 under the successful stewardship of the Chair Dr. Don Thornhill. I very much appreciate the experience and expertise they will continue to bring to the work of the Authority as it begins to operate its onerous regulatory and public complaints functions from next week”.


“Next week, I will make the necessary Commencement Orders to support those measures coming into effect. At that point the new regulatory architecture of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 will come into full operation. This will include the new professional conduct and complaints regime, Legal Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships, the new Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal, the new Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators and a suite of new legal costs transparency measures.


I look forward to making a separate announcement on these matters in the coming days.”






Five initial members of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority who have served a 3-year term completed their tenure on 30th September 2019, and are eligible for reappointment under the terms of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. The Authority has eleven members of whom a majority (i.e. 6 members), one of them the Chairperson, are lay persons (i.e. persons nominated by the non-legal bodies). The initial appointments to the Authority, including its lay Chairperson, Dr. Don Thornhill, were made at the time of its establishment on 1st October 2016.


Under the 2015 Act, members of the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority are put forward by a set of prescribed nominating bodies representing a regulatory balance of interests between lawyers and clients.  Each body puts forward a primary and a substitute candidate being one of each sex. Neither the Government nor any other entity can nominate or otherwise insert any candidates under these appointment provisions. Those appointed to the Regulatory Authority are only chosen, therefore, from those nominated by the prescribed bodies. Similarly, there are no Departmental officials on the Authority. Appointments (including reappointments) require approval by a resolution of each House of the Oireachtas. Details of the full membership of the Authority and their nominating bodies are available on its website, .


This statutory framework deliberately ensures the independence of the new Regulatory Authority while recognising that of the legal professions including in their duties to the courts and their clients. The 2015 Act also staggers membership periods between three and four year terms to ensure continuity. The five reappointments now arising relate to those appointed in October 2016 by the drawing of lots under the Act for the shorter three-year term.


The Five Re-Appointees


The five members of the Authority concerned and their respective nominating bodies are –


Sara Moorhead

Bar Council

Geraldine Clarke

Law Society

Stephen Fitzpatrick

Institute of Legal Costs Accountants

Dermott Jewell

The Consumers’ Association of Ireland

Deirdre McHugh

Competition & Consumer Protection Commission