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Friday 19 September 2014

Lawyers to foot the bill for misconduct probes: Shatter

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

Published 10/01/2014 | 02:30

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Alan Shatter, T.D., Minister for Justice and Law Reform
Justice Minister Alan Shatter

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has insisted that new bodies investigating misconduct in the legal sector will "impose no burden" on taxpayers -- as lawyers will foot the bill for any inquiries.

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Mr Shatter has tabled a series of amendments to parts of the Legal Services Regulation Bill aimed at overhauling regulation of solicitors and barristers.

If he secures cabinet approval he also wants the introduction of new one-stop shop businesses, where lawyers can form companies with other professionals.

Yesterday, Mr Shatter provided 65 pages of amendments to the Oireachtas ahead of a meeting next week of the Oireachtas justice committee.

Under the amendments, barristers will remain banned from handling clients' funds.

But this could change if Mr Shatter secures the backing of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore for the introduction of multi-disciplinary partnerships and alternative business structures.

Under the latest amendments, a levy to cover the expenses of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority and Disciplinary Tribunal will be imposed on the Law Society and the Bar Council as well as barristers who are not members of the Law Library.

This means 10pc of expenses will be levied on the Bar Council and barristers who are not members of the Law Library, and 10pc on the Law Society.

The remaining 80pc will be levied on a pro-rata basis between all three categories of lawyers in proportion to the expenses incurred in investigating them.

Irish Independent

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