Sunday 23 October 2016

No sign of light on issue of court litigation costs

Published 16/04/2016 | 02:30

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Once again, the need for a systemic solution to the present crushing cost of High Court litigation has been highlighted.

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Justice Max Barrett has shone quite the unflattering light on the staggering costs in the legal system with his breakdown of the bill arising from a case. Of course, the case before the judge is important and justice must be seen to be done. But the precise breakdown of the €600,000 costs for just one side in the case will be an eye-opener for many. It also shows why so many laypeople are unwilling and unable to engage in litigation. What's more, the same case is unlikely to be heard for another two years.

The judge was not questioning the validity of the litigation. However, there is a lack of scrutiny of the cost implications arising from the lack of competition in the legal profession.

The failure of the government to address this area over the course of the downturn - largely due to effect of lobbying from vested interests - showed even the Troika couldn't force change in this area. The European Commission is still monitoring the weak-willed efforts to reform the legal services sector. Don't hold your breath for any changes.

Irish Independent

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