Dáil Éireann - Volume 540 - 04 July, 2001

Written Answers. - Patents of Precedence.

83. Ms O'Sullivan asked the Taoiseach the basis on which a patent of precedence is conferred to be called to the Inner Bar; if the Government proposes to change the legal and administrative provisions which apply to the grant of such patents; when the Government and its predecessor the Executive Council of Saorstát Éireann first granted such patents of precedence; the circumstances giving rise to the decision to continue making such grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20322/01]

The Taoiseach: The position as outlined in my reply to a similar question on 13 June 2000 is unchanged and the Government has no plans to change the procedures for the granting of patents of precedence. On that occasion I indicated that since the establishment of the State, the Government has granted patents of precedence to barristers leading to the call to the Senior Bar by the Chief Justice. Historically, at common law, the grant of silk was an exercise of the Royal prerogative. The transfer of functions which had previously been dependent on the Royal prerogative, to the Executive Council of Saorstát Éireann was clarified by section 2 of the Executive Powers (Consequential Provisions) Act, 1937. The function is now exercised by the Government as successor to the Executive Council and is no longer dependent on the Royal prerogative.