Sunday 25 February 2018

Solicitor leaves Law Society at a loss of €561k from its compensation fund, High Court hears

Dublin's Four Courts
Dublin's Four Courts

Tim Healy

A SOLICITOR who failed to pass on payments due to clients, expert witnesses, and other lawyers has left the Law Society at a loss of €561,000 from its compensation fund, the High Court heard.

Peter Kenny, formerly practising as Kenny Associates, College Street, Carlow, has repaid some of the money but there is still a shortfall of €440,000, the court also heard.   A total of €760,000 in claims have been made against the compensation fund.

High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns struck Mr Kenny off the roll of solicitors given what he said was the "magnitude and scale" of the sums involved.

Earlier, Paul Anthony McDermott BL, for the Society, said Mr Kenny had failed to pass on payments to clients, barristers and expert witnesses who had given evidence in cases brought by clients. 

Mr Kenny's practice was in financial difficulties and he dealt with it by failing to tell clients they were due money from cases they had taken, counsel said.

In one case, a client was due €185,000 from a settlement while another was due €110,000 from a case in which he sued for injuries in a ladder collapse.   Mr Kenny used the money instead to pay for the running of his office. 

While this was not one of those cases in which a solicitor used client monies to fund his lifestyle, the Society took the view it was much the same, Mr McDermott said.

Sean Sexton, solicitor for Mr Kenny, said his client have undertaken never to practice again and, through an arrangement with another firm, he had agreed that all fees due from outstanding cases would be forwarded to the Law Society to reimburse the compensation fund.

* A second solicitor, Elizabeth M Cazabon, of Cazabon Solicitors, Gray Office Park, Headford, Co Galway, was also struck off over failure to comply with undertakings given to a bank in relation to a property transaction for a client in 2004/5 and for failing to respond to correspondence from the Law Society.  There was no appearance in court by her or on her behalf.

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