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Honorable Society of King's Inns
Óstaí an Rí
The Honorable Society of King's Inns.png
Motto Nolumus Mutari (we shall not be changed)
Established 1541 by Henry VIII
Under Treasurer Camilla McAleese
Location Dublin, Republic of Ireland

The Honorable Society of King's Inns (HSKI), is the institution which controls the entry of barristers-at-law into the justice system of the Republic of Ireland. The full title retains the historical spelling variant "honorable" in preference to the contemporary Irish/British "honourable" (see article 'spelling differences').



The society was created in 1541, this being 51 years before Trinity College, Dublin, was founded, making it one of Ireland's oldest professional and educational institutions. The founders named their society in honour of King Henry VIII of England and secured a lease of lands at Inns Quay on the Northside of Dublin. The society was reconstituted in 1607, having undergone inactivity for some time previous. In 1790 the Inns Quays site was acquired for the purposes of the Four Courts, the foundation stone at the present Henrietta Street was laid on 1 August 1795, with James Gandon being commissioned as the architect. The building had not been completed when Gandon left Ireland in 1808, so the building was completed by his pupil, Henry Aaron Baker[1].

Courtyard of the society's building on Henrietta Street

Academic Life

Candidates who have an approved law degree may apply for the Degree of Barrister-at-Law (Latin: ad Gradum Advocatum Apud Judices). Alternatively, candidates without an approved law degree may undertake the society's Diploma in Legal Studies before presenting for the society's degree. Those who are presented with the degree are entitled to be called to and practise at the "Bar of Ireland". In 2006, the society had an enrolment of approximately 300 students, whilst there are approximately 1,400 practising barristers in the Republic of Ireland.


The society has generally kept a low profile in current affairs in Ireland, though it did come to prominence in 1972 when financial difficulties led to the society selling a considerable stock of non-legal books it had in its library. The library dates from the end of the 18th century and was based on that of Mr. Justice Robinson. These were sold at auction at Sotheby's, London, and a considerable stock of them were sold to clients outside Ireland. This was seen at the time as a major cultural outflow as many of the books were of historical and cultural significance. In addition, the society's library had received an annual grant since 1945 for the upkeep of the books from the Irish Exchequer. A King's Inns team or individual has often won the prestigious Irish Times National Debating Championship. In 2006 the Inns' hurling team competed in and won the Fergal Maher Cup (3rd Level Division 3) in their inaugural year and have subsequently reached the final and semi-final.

Notable alumni and academics


  1. ^ PA Management Consultants report on future of Registry of Deeds, August 8, 2006

External links

Coordinates: 53°21′10.4″N 6°16′18″W / 53.352889°N 6.27167°W / 53.352889; -6.27167



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