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Reform of the Courts and the Legal Profession


kbar2011

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Jul 13, 2011
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212
Enby started talking about this on Kelly thread, but thought it deserved its own.

At the Law Society Annual Conference, Shatter decided to have another go at the judges and criticised the court timetable. He questioned whether all of the breaks were really necessary in this day and age.

As loath as I am to admit it, and as much as I despise him, unfortunately I, for once, find myself in agreement with Shatter. I feel so dirty saying that.

As a "relatively" young practitioner, I find the amount of breaks in the year excessive. It's a holiday for senior practitioners who have consistent incomes and regular work, but for people starting out and struggling at the beginning its not a holiday but essentially two months of the year where you make no money. I remember dreading the long vacation and trying desperately to save as much money as possible to get me through the two months.

Inevitably, by sticking around, you get some stuff to keep you going, but it really is an unacceptable practice in a supposedly modern system and a deterrent to younger barristers who may not necessarily be able to afford two months "vacation". Of course, it's also bad for clients. The only people it benefits are the judges and cosy senior practitioners. I know the excuse is that the judges use the time to write judgments, but there's more than a whiff of bullsh*t about that excuse. Sure, some of them write judgments, but not all. Secondly, if shorter holidays means more streamlined and concise judgments rather then the 100 page + ridiculousness that is sometimes produced now, then that's a good thing.

We all know the school holidays and the court holidays are left overs of a time when people needed to head home to assist with planting and then the harvest. Those times are long gone. There is no excuse for the continuation of either. I also found it extremely amusing that Shatter would criticise the judges when the Dail is the only body that has longer holidays! No excuse for those breaks either but you won't hear a peep from politicians about that.

I see no reason why the courts can't start back properly in September. August would be unworkable due to the large number of experts who take holidays during that period.

I also see no reason for the number and length of the other "vacation" periods throughout the year. I want to work. I want to earn money. I can't do that if the courts aren't sitting and cases aren't being heard. The "holidays" only suit senior practitioners with established practices and in my opinion are a significant barrier to entry and further obstacle (amongst too many already) to people trying to build a practice.

While we're at it, I think the courts should start earlier, at maybe 9.30 or 10. You need a bit of time to talk before cases start, but an 11 o'clock start is not justifiable. I'm not sure you could extend the finish time beyond 4 o'clock. The registrars have to write up Orders after court, and if the court sits longer than 4, they wouldn't have time to finish up the Orders and organise lists etc for the following day. Unless they had secretarial support staff which would simply increase overall running costs.

So, even though the President of the High Court has indicated that some cases will be heard in September, I don't think it goes anywhere near far enough. I .... agree ..... ugh .... with Shatter. Jesus, that was hard.

He also suggested reforming judicial appointments, which again is badly needed. Although bizarrely he suggested that academics should be appointed judges. Talk about a disaster waiting to happen. At least in America, where legal and professional education are combined, and where a lot of the academics are actually practising lawyers, there is some basis for it. In England, some of the more senior academics are barristers attached to chambers and appear in cases as consultants so there is a justification there as well. However, in this jurisdiction, most of them barely have a professional qualification, let alone have ever practised. They're not exactly up there with the likes of Baroness Hale or Posner. The only one who would even approach it was Hogan, who was a Senior Counsel and he has been made a judge. I can't think of anyone else who'd be up to it to be honest, apart from Binchy, who is back practising now and who I think would be too old for appointment.

On a final note, there is another article in today's Irish Times reporting on another aspect of Shatter's speech at the weekend. He apparently said that his revenge bill, "reforming" the profession, has been amended to take into account the "concerns" (read almost universal condemnation) raised by people in relation to his grab for power. He said the Bill will now be referred to Committee stage, almost two years later.

I'll be interested to see what changes he's made to his little glory project. Will family law taxations still be secret? Will he still be able to appoint himself Senior Counsel? Will he still try and abolish the bar (as he suggested quite strongly in a recent address to Law Society graduates I think)? Will he still try and establish three new quangos, which he never costed and which have been demonstrated to cost more than the current model, and which will have to be paid for by the professions (read the clients through increased fees)? And all these quangos will have permanent jobs for life, with public service style pensions, all of which again will be funded by us through increased fees. Truly inspired reforms Shatter. Really.
 

Congalltee

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6,211
It was odd that Kearns' concession of the High Court sitting in September was not mentioned by RTE when the covered the Minister's speech.
 

Radix

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Aug 31, 2010
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Ger Killally and Ivor Callelly are lookin' for a wee bit of legal advice at the minute, if that's any good to you.
 

Franzoni

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Joined
Mar 3, 2010
Messages
16,469
As a "relatively" young practitioner, I find the amount of breaks in the year excessive. It's a holiday for senior practitioners who have consistent incomes and regular work, but for people starting out and struggling at the beginning its not a holiday but essentially two months of the year where you make no money. I remember dreading the long vacation and trying desperately to save as much money as possible to get me through the two months.
Don't worry Kbar...you will have some of the usual establishment hacks along in a while to tell you your a whinger and to get a part time job packing shelves in the local supermarket for the two months....:)
 

kbar2011

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Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
212
Ger Killally and Ivor Callelly are lookin' for a wee bit of legal advice at the minute, if that's any good to you.
I'm not sure I get your point? Unless it was a some sort of dig about me needing work? Rest assured, I'm doing ok thanks, but I appreciate the concern. Thanks for contributing.
 

Captain Willard

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Joined
Feb 13, 2009
Messages
405
Hello kbar2011,


At the moment I am busy with another matter. However, I would be delighted if you would consent to an honest exchange of opinions on how to improve upon the current oversight mechanisms for your profession. By that I mean the Solicitors Acts, since you opened this thread by mentioning the LSI Annual Conference.

Perhaps, tomorrow I can start with an overview of Doorley and Ors? Shall I supply link to judgment for starts? 2011 86/SA

Yea or Nay?
 

Evestown2

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Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
185
I agree with kbar.

But we still need an expanded Supreme Court, an Appeals Court and lots of other reforms.

And a way of making sure that shatter can never practise as a sc or be made a judge.
 

Sister Mercedes

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Dec 19, 2011
Messages
20,663
And a way of making sure that shatter can never practise as a sc or be made a judge.
I'll concede you that, if none of the spouses, children, siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces or neighbors of current Judges are allowed to serve as Judge either.
 

artfoley56

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Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
9,595
Hello kbar2011,


At the moment I am busy with another matter. However, I would be delighted if you would consent to an honest exchange of opinions on how to improve upon the current oversight mechanisms for your profession. By that I mean the Solicitors Acts, since you opened this thread by mentioning the LSI Annual Conference.

Perhaps, tomorrow I can start with an overview of Doorley and Ors? Shall I supply link to judgment for starts? 2011 86/SA

Yea or Nay?
You do know kbar is a bl?
 

kbar2011

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Joined
Jul 13, 2011
Messages
212
Hey Captain,

As Art mentioned above, I'm with the dark side. My knowledge of the solicitors' side of regulation is limited to what I have gleaned having written some opinions about minor aspects of it. I would of course welcome a debate about regulation, but you'll have to forgive me if I plead ignorance on the specifics re solicitors.

I've had a look through the High Court records and some databases for "Doorley" decision, but the only reported judgment is a 2007 case concerning the relationship between clients and legal aid solicitors and how legal professional privilege applies to the situation.

I think you're talking about the solicitor who was struck off from practice in January re a Ponzi scheme, and although I can find a newspaper report, there is no actual "judgment", based on my search anyway. If you have a link that would be great.

Also, just as a heads up, you should be very careful about referring to it as the "Doorley" decision if it's not reported as such, as both people with that surname were cleared of all wrongdoing, and the striking off concerned a solicitor in the firm with a different name. As it's not the firm that is sanctioned, but the solicitor personally, it's misleading to refer to it as "Doorley" in the circumstances. That warning only applies if their name isn't in the "reported" judgment btw. If they are listed in a reported judgment, then you're ok. However, as I've been unable to find one, I just wanted to give you a heads up about how you reference it.

The thread is about reform of the courts and the profession, and as the new Bill deals with reform of the regulatory aspect of the profession its fair game for the thread, so please feel free to contribute. I will do my best to respond if I can when I can (which will generally be at night).

Hello kbar2011,


At the moment I am busy with another matter. However, I would be delighted if you would consent to an honest exchange of opinions on how to improve upon the current oversight mechanisms for your profession. By that I mean the Solicitors Acts, since you opened this thread by mentioning the LSI Annual Conference.

Perhaps, tomorrow I can start with an overview of Doorley and Ors? Shall I supply link to judgment for starts? 2011 86/SA

Yea or Nay?
 

Researchwill

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Joined
Aug 2, 2011
Messages
4,779
Hello kbar2011,


At the moment I am busy with another matter. However, I would be delighted if you would consent to an honest exchange of opinions on how to improve upon the current oversight mechanisms for your profession. By that I mean the Solicitors Acts, since you opened this thread by mentioning the LSI Annual Conference.

Perhaps, tomorrow I can start with an overview of Doorley and Ors? Shall I supply link to judgment for starts? 2011 86/SA

Yea or Nay?
The reference is not a judgement ref, they usually take the form case name IEHC (High Court) number or case name IESC (Supreme Court) number if unreported (example here Keating v Radio Telefís Éireann & ors) if reported it would be case name 2001 1 IR 1 or something like that. The ref you have given seem to be a court reference as in name year case number type of case so yours would be Doorley a case launched in 2011 and it was the 86th Solicitors Act case of that year. I have searched here Terms and Conditions and can find no link to a doorley case of 2011 number 86 SA. Can you link to the judgement on Courts Service of Ireland.
 

artfoley56

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Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
9,595
The reference is not a judgement ref, they usually take the form case name IEHC (High Court) number or case name IESC (Supreme Court) number if unreported (example here Keating v Radio Telefís Éireann & ors) if reported it would be case name 2001 1 IR 1 or something like that. The ref you have given seem to be a court reference as in name year case number type of case so yours would be Doorley a case launched in 2011 and it was the 86th Solicitors Act case of that year. I have searched here Terms and Conditions and can find no link to a doorley case of 2011 number 86 SA. Can you link to the judgement on Courts Service of Ireland.
something ropey going on there, if it's not listed under HC search it must be in relaton to an in camera matter

but back to kbar's opener;

just my current bugbear but definitely something that needs to be sorted ASAP is effing GALs (guardians ad litem, for the unitiated), decide whether they are expert witnesses or officers of the court or contradictors to the proceedings and have a proper register and training for them and spell out in detailed terms what their roles and responsibilities are in legislation. that should save a few million quid

secondly, get shatter to call in the heads of the big 10 and tell them in no uncertain prices that unless prices drop ASAP for state contracts that the government will start an inhouse legal team and do away with them. there's plenty of willing lawyers on the scratcher

wasted costs orders, and lots of them; practitioners who waste everyone's time on frivolous applications adjournments etc will start paying for their frivolity and that in turn should have a knock on effect on court time

no legal aid for severity appeals: do the crime do your time

make the applications for deviling and appenticeships a anonymous meritocracy; applicants will be given points based on academic results and experience and will be dished out accordingly ensuring that the influx into each profession becomes more reflective of society

proper use of legal executives, as in the UK, allowing a stream into becoming a solicitor if wanted and granting limited rights of audience reducing costs for solicitor attendance, with rates of legal execs set out in s68 letter

start awarding costs in family law cases that are more than 2 years old

thats all i can think of for the moment
 

drummed

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Oct 22, 2010
Messages
37,438
Was'nt this lad banned about 15 times already?
 

Dame_Enda

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Dec 14, 2011
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The IMF are pushing (correctly) for an independent regulator of the legal profession, in the teeth of opposition from the Bar Council and Law Society. It is imperative Shatter get his skates on. It is part and parcel of ending crony capitalism and the rip off culture in this country. Leinster House is largely populated by this profession, which likely explains the stonewalling of the legislation.

The Bar Council and the Law Society have a conflict of interest as self-regulators of their respective professions. They resemble the American cartels that Teddy Roosevelt had to break up in the States like ALAM (Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers) and Standard Oil because of their destructive impact on competition within their respective trades (Henry Ford was sued by the ALAM cartel for breach of patent to stop him competing with them). We need an Irish Teddy Roosevelt who will take on crony capitalism, which has done so much to ruin our competitiveness in recent years.
 

Congalltee

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Nov 10, 2009
Messages
6,211
The IMF are pushing (correctly) for an independent regulator of the legal profession, in the teeth of opposition from the Bar Council and Law Society. It is imperative Shatter get his skates on. It is part and parcel of ending crony capitalism and the rip off culture in this country. Leinster House is largely populated by this profession, which likely explains the stonewalling of the legislation.

The Bar Council and the Law Society have a conflict of interest as self-regulators of their respective professions. They resemble the American cartels that Teddy Roosevelt had to break up in the States like ALAM (Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers) and Standard Oil because of their destructive impact on competition within their respective trades (Henry Ford was sued by the ALAM cartel for breach of patent to stop him competing with them). We need an Irish Teddy Roosevelt who will take on crony capitalism, which has done so much to ruin our competitiveness in recent years.
Both the Bar Council and Law Society are in favour of an independent regulator ie independent if the profession and the minister (which is what is going to happen now).
 

Dame_Enda

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Both the Bar Council and Law Society are in favour of an independent regulator ie independent if the profession and the minister (which is what is going to happen now).
Like the NRA were in favour of background checks on gun purchases? Just had to get it right? :roll:

My understanding is that the LS/BC are opposed to ministerial appointments to the regulator. They argue this constitutes an infringement on their independence. But all regulatory boards are appointed by ministers. There is an argument for greater transparency in appointments to state boards generally, but the urgency of tackling the barriers to entry in this sector means that we cannot wait for that to happen before bringing self-regulation to an end.
 

kbar2011

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Jul 13, 2011
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212
1:- State in-house legal team - They are already supposed to have that with the counsel in the Attorney General's office, the Chief State Solicitors Office and the various legal advisers to the Government Departments. And yet they still apparently need to outsource almost everything. One wonders why they bother having in-house legal expertise at all. I also agree that the large firms should be hauled in and told to drop prices. There are plenty of smaller firms willing and able to do the work. It's either sheer laziness and the fact that they are spending someone else's money (OURS!) or pull that allows all the work to go to a small number of firms. Why can't work be farmed out to a larger number of smaller firms?

2:- More liberal use of wasted costs orders is BADLY needed. Particularly against barristers who draft frivolous sh*te that doesn't belong anywhere near a courtroom. Some cases can only be described as legalised blackmail - pay some money for the costs and we'll go away. It's truly awful, and the same culprits are at it every fecking day with no adverse consequences. And your clients then are left in a position of risking having to go in front of a judge (some of whom are complete idiots) and have them make an ass of it at their expense, or pay the extortion money and know that it'll go away. Start fining the barristers and solicitors for the frivolous lawsuits and then they might actually start advising their parasite clients that no, they don't have a leg to stand on legally. Sorry, major bug bear today. Was involved in one of these recently and still angry about it. Same person every time.

3:- Legal aid - I think this should go further and there should be no legal aid after you reach a certain number of convictions. You could specify that they be serious convictions, as opposed to minor public order offences. It's ridiculous that these people should get legal representation every single fecking time at our expense. I also agree that there should be no legal aid for severity appeals. I'm not a fan of legal aid in general but there are various European and International Conventions which we have to adhere to so not sure how much scope there is for reform apart from slashing the fees paid.

4:- Anonymous meritocracy - In general I would agree with this, however, you also have to take into account that Masters volunteer to take on Devils, and most interview prior to agreeing to take people on. They have to work very closely with this person for a year, and need to make sure they get on well with them. Someone could be brilliant academically, which would suit a paper practice, but if they are useless on their feet then that's not going to suit someone with a busy Circuit Court or PI practice that needs dvil to attend motions. Further, the choice is based on what you want to specialize in. Also, how do you rank the Masters to assign them with the more brilliant candidates? Or would you have a system where people got first pick from the list of those available based on merit? Not sure how feasible that would be either, unless you had a list system where people submitted list of preferred Masters, and then if none were available because taken by higher ranked candidates do you then just assign based on lottery? I don't think this is really workable. You could ban people reserving Masters years in advance, and require that Masters must make their choices based on applications in any given year, but again, this is impossible to police effectively.

5:- I don't agree with the legal executive proposal. They have no professional training. They are not regulated. I don't see why they should be allowed to have rights of audience in court. Fine if you think they should be allowed to attend on counsel instead of sending a solicitor, but if something goes wrong and the solicitor isn't there, that's the solicitor's head on a platter re professional negligence suit. If the job could be done by someone who isn't professionally qualified, why have a solicitor at all? It is necessary for solicitors to attend court because they know the case, they are responsible for it, and when things go wrong, they are the ones with the authority to help fix it. If a legal executive can do that, then they shouldn't be a legal executive and should be training to qualify as a solicitor. I don't think it's really workable, but I will leave myself open to being convinced otherwise.

something ropey going on there, if it's not listed under HC search it must be in relaton to an in camera matter

but back to kbar's opener;

just my current bugbear but definitely something that needs to be sorted ASAP is effing GALs (guardians ad litem, for the unitiated), decide whether they are expert witnesses or officers of the court or contradictors to the proceedings and have a proper register and training for them and spell out in detailed terms what their roles and responsibilities are in legislation. that should save a few million quid

secondly, get shatter to call in the heads of the big 10 and tell them in no uncertain prices that unless prices drop ASAP for state contracts that the government will start an inhouse legal team and do away with them. there's plenty of willing lawyers on the scratcher

wasted costs orders, and lots of them; practitioners who waste everyone's time on frivolous applications adjournments etc will start paying for their frivolity and that in turn should have a knock on effect on court time

no legal aid for severity appeals: do the crime do your time

make the applications for deviling and appenticeships a anonymous meritocracy; applicants will be given points based on academic results and experience and will be dished out accordingly ensuring that the influx into each profession becomes more reflective of society

proper use of legal executives, as in the UK, allowing a stream into becoming a solicitor if wanted and granting limited rights of audience reducing costs for solicitor attendance, with rates of legal execs set out in s68 letter

start awarding costs in family law cases that are more than 2 years old

thats all i can think of for the moment
 
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