More court cases involving construction firms and banks

Is construction lending going to be our sub-prime mortgages?

It is interesting that we are starting to see a flurry of legal actions to impose contract terms, or recover cash surrounding construction appearing over the last few months.

Given the profiles of the individuals involved, it seems to me, that the self professed “smart money” is now moving out of bricks and mortar and into securing the best legal team available to either extricate people from, or tie people into their obligations.

If it were a move, it could be (Imagines gravelly voice …) “The most eagerly awaited sequel in over a decade. In good times they were the best of buddies, now, with blood on the streets and prices falling, the gloves are off and it’s every investor for themselves. Canny McSavvy and a cast of fundamentally sound bankers in - ‘Irish Property Boom II: Aftermath - Now It Gets Legal’. Falling out all over Ireland this summer”.

Blue Horseshoe

Why is it that no matter which way things are going, through good times and bad, war and peace, (make up yer own examples…) lawyers just keep getting richer? You think the Banks always win? Just look at these shysters - they profit from the winners AND the losers, both parties to bitter divorces (made bitter by lawyers usually), company start-ups and bankruptcies, etc. Can anyone envisage a scenario where lawyers lose money, have to grovel for credit or even apologise for something? If so please let me know so I can start working for this New World.
(rant not over, not by a long shot…) db.

They are a necessary evil !! :slight_smile:

No, we could not do without them, and it is unfair to generalise that way.

I remember during the Divorce Referendum, and in my limited sphere of operation, that many of the pro people were solicitors. It did occur then that they are the one profession that would profit from a breakdown of society and so, as it turns out, is the case. As I said before on the Pin, you can take your mates spouse; but a Coco Cola employee can in no way fraternize with a Pepsi Cola Employee. When the rules of business, growth and greed, are stronger than the fundamental bonds that hold society together; the whole house of cards, business and all, eventually come tumbling down and we revisit the era of warlords and the dark ages :cry:

Quite simple answer … because when two or more “Adults” with differing opinions can’t sit down and negotiate a solution to their dispute then you need to bring in a third party. In most cases, people who feel very strongly that they they are/have been “wronged” in a legal sense resort to the courts to resolve the dispute, in others, it’s their first course of action.

At the end of the day there is no compulsion of people to get legal, you can sit down, quietly and rationally and discuss option to resolve disputes. The law is set out to protect individuals, but it is intended to be generally a shield and not a sword.

WTTR, not really a valid comparison for one simple reason. Said Coke employee agrees to their contract of employment, the rules if you like of their relationship with their employer. Legally, both parties are equal unless one attributes rights to the other in the contract. Once they decide to abide by the agreed rules, then they have agreed. If they later don’t like it they have the ultimate sanction … they can freely leave.

Blue Horseshoe

With respect, Proximo, please do tell why we could not do without them. There are so may areas where "everybody knows " solicitors or barristers are needed yet they actually are not - eg house purchases or sales, separations/divorces, business transactions, even many business or personal disputes that end up in a Court could be resolved in other ways. The Tribunals should have worked without the need for Senior Counsel et al, with fat-cats buying their way out of being exposed to the clear light of day. The lawyers have insinuated themselves into every aspect of our lives and if we took a long hard cool look at it I suspect we could eliminate their meddling and shit-stirring from 90% of our lives to everyone’s benefit. That everyone includes lawyers - having too much money, especially unearned or undeserved money, is bad for the soul!
Maybe this is getting a bit OT but I do feel deeply about it, and I would welcome supporting AND conflicting opinions. I do know 2 lawyers that are honest and it worries me that they will get dragged down to the level of the quite a few more I know that are not. The legal game (I hesitate to call it a profession) attracts many scumbags - even if you are a lawyer you know this - and the self-regulating bodies do NOTHING to keep them out, remove them once they have got in, or protect the public. Just look at this nonsense that is going on at present - solicitors who have stolen (there is no other word for it) client monies, or defrauded the banks, or assisted fraud by individuals or organisations, or occupied properties and never paid for them - they might get a fine of €5,000, or Heavens even be suspended from practicing for a while - that’s going to punish them, isn’t it??
Disputes between parties get resolved not by fair justice but by threats of how the expenses of employing big-gun Barristers will bankrupt the party with the least resources. To lawyers this is all a game, a theatrical production, to be played out in front of a frightened audience who pay and pay and end up losing. db.

the way solicitors have tried to destroy the PIAB is nothing short of a disgrace. We can’t have people settling insurance claims without solicitors getting their cut now can we? :imp:

I had the unfortunate pleasure this morning of being in the High Court. The pomp and ceremony and general waste of people’s time and money is a disgrace not to mention how inept some junior and indeed senior counsel are, which ultimately all involved in a case pay for. Unbelievable how this legal lot play games and amuse themselves to generate fees… :unamused:

What has always puzzled me about lawyers is that there is no incentive for them to conclude a case as the longer it goes on the more BOTH sides get paid!

Dowtchaboy, firstly, lawyers do lose. In the 1990’s in the UK solicitors houses were repossessed when they lost their jobs as conveyancing dried up and the same will happen here, there are plenty of rumblings already on that front here.

Do you really think most divorces wouldn’t be bitter if there weren’t lawyers involved? In my experience, many parties to divorces prefer to say ‘The solicitor told me to do it’ rather than be seen as the bad guy by friends and family, which gives a misleading impression. The truth is, divorcing people are frequently bitter with and mistrust each other, so they have bitter divorces. The adversarial system doesn’t help, I agree, but it doesn’t cause it any more than it ever caused family breakdown. Most company start-ups and bankruptcies are dealt with by accountants and liquidators, not normally solicitors.

We lose money when we lose cases, frequently. If the client loses and has no money, we don’t get paid. We write off fees the whole time when we know we won’t get paid. Do we have to grovel for credit? No, but then neither do most professionals, nor civil servants. Some of us have even been known to apologize when we make mistakes and I know firms who paid out the full value of a claim to the client from their own pockets when they made a mistake.

You need a solicitor to buy because the banks won’t give you a mortgage to do it yourself. I agree that the well-educated members of the Pin could probably learn enough to do a straight-forward one themselves, the trouble is they would likely not notice the small thing that makes one non-straightforward. Insurers won’t insure non-solicitors to do it for that reason. Separations and divorces again could certainly be done by people themselves, the trouble is one party is likely to be less well-informed or less able to bargain than the other and will lose out. They may well never know that they did lose out.

I know plenty of solicitors who are absolute scumbags and have worked for a few of them and i know what they do. But, i also know several, including on occasion the same scumbags, who give out advice for free or do work where they know they will never get paid. The people we do that for are not the same people who read the Pin. They are poor, illiterate, foreign and have no idea what the ECB is. They have no idea how any system of the State works, never mind the legal system. They wander in off the street in most small practices and have no idea where else to go or what to do. Not everyone has the internet. People with debt problems and family crises don’t go around telling everyone in the pub about it so you’re not likely to hear that they got some free help from a solicitor either. Free legal advice centres around the country are run by volunteer solicitors.

As for PIAB, if the average (again not Pin members) individual submits their own claim with only help from PIAB, they risk ending up statute-barred, because PIAB couldn’t care less if you sue the wrong legal entity. This happens, and the individual has no professional indemnity policy to then sue instead. Lawyers don’t get paid based on the length of time that they have a file. Wander into the Taxing Masters court any time and you’ll see the basis on which they get paid. As for wasting time in the High Court, we don’t get paid extra for sitting around for hours because the government is too cheap to hire enough judges/build enough courtrooms for them. The pomp and ceremony involves mostly wigs and gown. They help us solicitors tell who is a barrister to be honest so they have a purpose. The rest of the stuff barristers ramble on about in court is usually for a reason, however long-winded.

As for being filthy rich, you’re talking mostly about partners. Most solicitors are employees and earn a salary not based on the fees we charge. We spend years studying and being paid the minimum wage, then are faced with bloody long hours, the fact that most people hate us and most solicitors will have a complaint made about them to the Law Society at least once in their careers. If you think it’s not a stressful job, have a look at the suicide statistics for lawyers. There are easier ways to make money. I know plenty of people who earn a lot more than me and will never be sued for their mistakes. We’re an easy target because a lot of what we do seem like ‘games’ to everyone else.

I’m not defending the scumbags or the antiquity of our legal system or saying most lawyers work for free! I’m simply saying that while we may seem unnecessary to the well-educated, yours is a narrow perspective. You overlook a vast mass of people who for numerous reasons find themselves needing us. Some of us got into this job because we actually wanted to help people out. The constant generalizations and ‘let’s kill all the lawyers’ stuff is sending people like me out of the profession but will have no effect on the rather thicker-skinned scumbags.

Sorry for the rant. Has been building up for a while…

Lord that was not a rant , it was a hearfelt pleading for understanding .

You will be forgiven them letters after your name (in my book anyway) Mallow 8) .

Being a legal eagle in 2008 is very competitve – every Tom Dick and Harry out of Trinners/UCD are now doing FE1s and trying for the bar. There’s great money if you’re good – but let’s be honest – a lot of the people going in for the law now are complete gimps and won’t survive. They build up these great expectations about themselves and most don’t make it. There’s huge depression and as you say, suicide, amongst young legal people.

I think lawyers are necessary part of any civilised society. If I got in to trouble, I’d pay top dollar to get the best lawyer I could afford.

And let’s not forget that if it wasn’t for the lawyers down in the Mahon tribunal, this country would still be plodding along aimlessly and nobody would know nuthin’. I’d advocate giving all the hot-shot eagles down in the tribunal a big fat bonus once they’re finished the messy job of Mahon.

So we’ve had the tradesmen, the social welfare recipients, the civil servants, the journalists, the economists, the religious, the health care workers and now the legal profession. Is there any section of the population that will be spared the wrath of the Pin? Is it not possible that there are good and bad in all walks of life? Or is it just the financially minded amongst the population who are pure of heart?

The fact is that in a rights-based culture such as that which has developed in this country over the past few decades, there is a need for people who are qualified to interpret the law on behalf of others. Without such a body of people it would be impossible for the average citizen to ensure that his or her rights are upheld. Or maybe we should revert to the days of allowing various categories of authority figures interpret and allocate rights on our behalf?

IMO the aspect of the legal profession which irks most has been its self regulating nature. However, only last week the Minister for Justice published a Legal Services Ombudsman Bill which will introduce independent regulation of the legal profession along the lines of what they have in both England and Scotland. Hopefully this will go some way towards redressing the deficiencies in the current system.

justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Min … ill%202008

Mallow - thank you for your lengthy and passionate response. Without trying to beat you down or somehow win an argument I’d like to respond to some points:

It may sound hard-hearted but that means there are/were too many. There really shouldn’t be any need for conveyancing by lawyers - it should be a government registry, perhaps a justification for “stamp duty”, and no need to eternally check back on ownerships. However I do accept that some solicitors, probably young and way down the pecking order, will suffer financially in a recession. Alas the few decent solicitors who don’t always insist on their fees from unfortunate cases will likely also be harder hit than the money-grabbers.

I can only go by personal experiences here - that of myself and that of a close friend - and in both cases one or both parties from the start offered to settle things amicably, and gave and gave in negotiating positions, and in both cases the lies, acccusations and deliberate use of inflammatory language in each new incoming solicitor’s letter was outrageous. I was grimly amused at the wrap-up stage when my solicitor got me to sign a specific document that stated that he had made me aware of the government mediation service (whatever it is called) and that I had declined this - the truth is I had never heard a thing about it (nor had my wife I believe). Still, my guy who thought i was a fool for bending over backwards (and he was probably right) only charged me 2,500 - her shyster got 10,000 for a job well done.

Fair enough - I will accept that there are more good guys around in the legal profession that we hear about - obviously we will hear the bad stories as the good ones are not as juicy!

Agreed you do need them right now, if only because the other parties employ one and that would leave you exposed - but you SHOULD not need them - buying a house and having the money transferred from your bank to the other parties bank should be a push-button operation, crystal-clear and tightly defined and regulated. No middleman needed. And dare I point out that right now the banks would probably trust a member of the unwashed public before they would trust many solicitors? :slight_smile:

I take your points about how people involved in emotional disputes like divorce or say land do sometimes prefer to blame solicitors for certain actions, just like people hide behind “there was a computer error” excuse, so there is a need for an independent arbitrator/referee/authority figure - that does not necessarily have to be a judge, nor does either party have to have a rottweiler to hide behind.

Again - fair enough - it’s good to hear about pro-bono work by some solicitors, and there are some groups who need help from all of us who are in a position to give it when they are up against the State, the legal system or conmen - but wouldn’t it be better if we eliminated legalese from documents, and from the thought processes of bureaucrats, or anywhere else subtle use of language is used to trap the innocent unwary?

The Taxing Master is a lawyer, is he not? Why would you expect a sensible, reasonable valuation protecting the taxpayer or the clients from a member of the same club?

OK - I fully agree that this archaic system, like the system we have for Junior Doctors, is utterly stupid. So - change it! Why not kick up shit till there is a decent wage for juniors, with the renumeration spread out more evenly over your career. I can’t do anything about it - you can.

well you are, if you don’t push your trade association sorry esteemed company of lawyers or whatever to take real and severe action against them.

again - you are, if you don’t do something about it.

Nor should they work for free!

Ah now! Are you really telling me that the majority of a lawyer’s work is for poor uneducated hard-done-by folks? Sorry, no offence, but I find that one highly unlikely!

Same here - I got distracted by making serious money for a couple of years there, but I’m back to my original idealism doing something useful, albeit a bit more cynical about how the world works.

Why leave the profession? Why not get the scumbags out of your profession? So they have thick skins - so what? Every lawyer I know has and has to have a hide like a rhino and a love of tilting at windmills - now you have a juicy target right in your midst - charge!

Don’t apologise for the rant - glad to hear solicitors have emotions - who’d a thunk? :smiley:
But I mean it - we (Society - oh God I sound like a Social Worker!) place certain groups in positions of power or authority - lawyers, police, teachers, doctors, etc - and when they stray off the straight and narrow they must accept that they will (or should) be dealt with more harshly than some poor bugger who has no such advantageous position. Sorry I didn’t do any of the social studies type courses in college so I don’t have the appropriate vocabulary.
db.