Wednesday 21 February 2018

Solicitors' body stays oddly quiet on its bankrupt members

SOLICITORS have been all over the news in the past few days, for all the wrong reasons.

Insolvency practitioner Jim Stafford (right) landed them in it with comments about their need to retain a trophy home, even if they are insolvent.

Newly qualified PIP (personal insolvency practitioner) Mr Stafford said solicitors may need larger houses than PAYE workers. Mr Stafford was quick to withdraw the remarks and apologise.

But the Punt could not help noticing that there has not been a word out of the solicitor's representative body, and its director general Ken Murphy, on the matter. The normally voluble Mr Murphy surely needs to tell us what the society's views are.

It is well known that many legal eagles got involved in the property game as players, and not just as legal advisers. Major questions arise from solicitors entering bankruptcy and having insolvency arrangements put in place.

The Punt could not help noticing a piece on this very topic buried on page 52 of the 'Law Society Gazette' in the summer 2012 edition.

It points out that for solicitors who go bankrupt, the law states that the practising certificate is suspended, but can be restored, subject to the court and the Law Society.

That's the law. But significantly, the practice has changed. Lawyers who go bankrupt, or sign up for a personal insolvency arrangement, can be employed or be a consultant. But they just cannot have access to client funds. This is one to watch.

Irish Independent

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