Irish Ambassador to South Africa visits Commercial Law Training Programme in Pretoria

Irish Ambassador to South Africa visits Commercial Law Training Programme in Pretoria


Irish Rule of Law International (IRLI), the non-profit Rule of Law initiative of the Law Society of Ireland and Bar Council of Ireland, was delighted to welcome Ireland’s newly appointed Ambassador to South Africa H.E Liam MacGabhann to the Commercial Law Training Programme in Pretoria. IRLI implements this Programme in partnership with the Law Society of South Africa and it has benefited almost 500 lawyers since it first began in 2002. The programme targets lawyers, predominantly sole practitioners, from historically disadvantaged communities with a view to providing theoretical and practical training in the practice of commercial law.

Ambassador's Visit1

Ambassador's Visit3_Class of 2015

Ambassador's Visit4.2_Ambassador Liam McGabhann and Ogilvie

Ambassador's Visit2_Emma Michael and Nomsa

The Programme is funded by Irish Aid and during the Commercial Law Workshop in April this year, which was implemented by a team from Ireland, Ambassador MacGabhann attended to observe the class and spoke to the participants about the importance of the law and legal institutions as a foundation for economic and social development. It was also a great opportunity for the Ambassador to hear from participants from 2013 and 2014 about how the Programme has assisted them to expand their own practices. Allan Kissoon, a sole practitioner from Pretoria who participated in 2014 and undertook a 2 month placement with William Fry in Dublin, spoke very highly of his experience in Ireland and the shared learning with colleagues in the Irish firm.

Ambassador's Visit7_Alan Kissoon from 2014 Programme

The Programme in its current form provides for a one year distance learning course in Corporate Law through the University of South Africa, as well as two practical workshops in Commercial Law and Drafting. Irish lawyers travel each year to lecture in these workshops on a pro-bono basis and the team that travelled in April this year included Michael Irvine (IRLI Director), Michael Carrigan (consultant, Eugene F. Collins), David Barniville SC (Chairman of the Bar Council and IRLI Director), Jarlath Ryan BL, Cillian MacDomhnaill (IRLI Director) and Emma Dwyer (IRLI Coordinator). The Commercial Law Workshop ran from 13th – 18th April and also benefited from the participation of South African lawyers from some of the large Commercial firms in Johannesburg such as Webber Wentzels and DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.



The workshop took the participants through the practical mechanics of a commercial transaction, focusing in particular on the purchase of a business.  It also included modules on accounting, arbitration and mediation, and a basic introduction to legal drafting. Solicitor Anna Hickey from Philip Lee will travel over in August as a lecturer in a 3 day Drafting workshop which will be led by former South African High Court Judge Ismail Hussain.



Interviews were also held in April for those participants interested in undertaking a placement in either South Africa or Ireland and it is envisaged that three of the selected candidates will travel to Ireland from September-October 2015 for a placement in Dublin. The placement element of the Programme has always been very well supported by Commercial firms in Dublin and Cork who have provided opportunities for participants in the Programme to gain a deeper understanding of the practice of commercial law. Firms who may be interested in participating this year are invited to contact IRLI’s Coordinator Emma Dwyer at

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