Lawyerwatch

Here is another one for the ‘lawyerwatch’ thread. Please feel free to put them with the others in rogues’ gallery.

irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0618/1224299154615.html

Genuine question, not looking for glib or trite answers to this.

How come no criminal prosecutions are brought in these cases? Is it not theft because the the solicitor has power of attorney over the funds? Is it fraud?

I ask the question because at this point I would be reluctant to allow a solicitor act on my behalf with “hypothetical” mortgage funds because I have no faith in the Law Society to police the system and ensure that the funds are properly disposed.

Speaking of the legal profession…

Drivetime, RTE Radio 1, recently ran a week of reports (very unusually extended to TWO weeks due to an avalanche of interest from the public) on the thorny question of legal fees in Ireland.

While I only caught it some days in passing it was ultra jaw dropping in terms of the outrageous and exorbitant fees charged by this “profession”. The real question now is:

WHAT IS GOING TO BE DONE ABOUT IT?

I won’t be holding my breath. In the meantime, never ask your solicitor for a photocopy…you have no idea how many hundreds of euro it might cost you…

it is fraud and it is theft

The Law Society police the system and these cases come to light through Law Society but in essence if you are dealing with a one man show you are trusting them with your money - there are more checks and balances in bigger firms

Lawyers should refuse to handle client monies as the compliance costs are not worth it any more

other countries have bonded escrow agents

If it is fraud or theft, why are there no criminal prosecutions then? I do understand the Law Society function in relation to regulation of the system.

It’s up to the Guards to investigate and take a case, maybe the Law society should report him to guards but even so it could take a few years to go to court, this way the Law Socity has got hold of his assets and will work to recover the money, which is a better out come for the people he’s stolen money from.

Is there an obligation on the Guards to investigate where it is public knowledge that an offence is believed to have been commited? Do they require a complaint in this instance? This is part of the reason I was asking if the actions are criminal, defined in some statute.

I accept that the affected individual is best served by the recovery of the funds from the offender. However, the common and greater good for society may be served by the enforcement of the law of the land and punish those who commit the offence.

I would argue that the disincentive for solicitors to engage in this activity, either as enforced by the Law Society or the law, is insufficient to prevent them from doing it. Hence, I would argue that there is a need for criminal prosecutions, if at all possible.

Question of resources same as for any crime
The Gardai do investigate them and DPP will prosecute

There is a reason linked to the rules of court which I won’t go into that makes anything other than very simple while collar crimes difficult to prosecute - UK have same issue which is why they adopt a disruption approach and often just charge based on a simple sample charge

In the Lynn case there’s also a problem with extradition - in a nutshell, if you extradite on charge A you can only prosecute for charge A, not any other crimes. Not a problem in a murder case - but a real problem for long running frauds with many different crimes / victims. You have to have all your ducks in a row before you extradite. Otherwise you run a real risk of charges 1, 2, and 3 collapsing, leaving you with no means of prosecuting charges 4 to 100 on which extradition wasn’t sought.

@Tyler - what’s the rules of court point you mention?

The wheels of justice grind slowly - but they grind.

independent.ie/national-news/byrne-may-be-first-of-rogue-solicitors-to-face-charges-2801139.html

The prosecution must disclose material which might be capable of undermining their case or of assisting the defence If they don’t then on appeal will be acquittal. This is doable in for example a murder case but time consuming. However in a case based on a review of tens of thousands of documents and more in some cases it can become close to impossible. And you cannot disclose generally -has to be specific

Nice to know that one can do the brethern a favour. Rule No.1, look after your own interests.

So much for transparency. Alan Shitter is using his incumbency as minister of justice to opacify any dispute on legal fees in family law matters. It hasn’t gone unremarked that the firm which he has recently been associated with (and no doubt will be associated with again in the future), has been involved in conflict over fees. 500,000 euro buys a lot of divorce.
Nice one Alan.

sbpost.ie/news/ireland/shatters-bill-to-prevent-disclosure-of-legal-fee-disputes-in-family-law-cases-59364.html

Keeping an eye on them. 8)

independent.ie/national-news/courts/exsolicitor-charged-with-fraud-over-euro1m-home-loans-2925965.html

The Kings Inns are a stout bunch of people who keep barristers on the straight and narrow. Their latest disciplinary action has been against a high profile member of their profession - a Mr Russell - who has been struck off for some malfeasance or another.

independent.ie/national-news/foster-and-allens-lawyer-becomes-first-to-be-struck-off-by-kings-inns-2988839.html

Oh wait !!!

That explains their prompt and decisive judicial action, he resigned four years ago and has left the country. Little risk of any conflict there my ‘honourable’ ladies and gentlemen of the law.

dailymail.co.uk/news/article … lion-.html

This is the best Pat Russell summary I think.
Although Dearbhail McDonald does mention the State’s evidence thing in the Nevin case which that doesn’t focus on.

Any connection with this place, I wonder?

thepropertypin.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=31040&p=564438&hilit=mattie#p564438

Lawyers are a law until themselves, and self-regultation works exactly as any normal cynical person one would expect it to. They can rob you blind and the Law Society will slap them on the wrist, perhaps administering the slap yourself (with a 2x4) would be the most rewarding approach.

Two things:Firstly, in the Pat Russell case he was a barrister and the Law Society had no involvement. Secondly, the Law Society is a the regulator for a profession and not a a prosecutorial or judicial organisation. Its powers are therefore limited. Beyond professional sanction or disbarment they should have no role in the administration of justice in the country. The Guards and the DPP are the ones we should be looking to to administer justice.

Look at the logo on the cap…dude must be the unluckiest investor ever.

Commonsense tells us self-regulation cannot work, so I’m surprised you’re challenging that.

Can you give the uneducated some insight into the regulation process for barristers?