independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Legal eagles fodder for troika?

With three senior counsels now on board to advise the State in its legal defence of the constitutionality of the Anglo Irish Bank 'prom notes', the costs must be getting pretty eye-watering.

The addition of Michael McDowell (pictured), the former Tanaiste and PD leader, to the team certainly raises the PR stakes, regardless of how the case itself goes.

But it also raised the question of why a Government that already pays millions for in-house legal advice, including the wages of Attorney General Marie Whelan, needs such a high-powered (read expensive) external team?

It may be that the State wants, and can afford, the best advice, but, for the most part, this doubling-up on lawyers is driven by the ludicrous convention that bars qualified barristers who happen to be employees, even of the State, from acting in court. That seems indefensible to The Punt; it's hardly like the presence of mere state employees would undermine justice itself.

The Punt can't help thinking it's something the boys and girls of the troika might want to look at if they are serious about driving down legal costs.

Irish Independent

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