Solicitors Face Discipline over Fees Charged
January 11, 2006
A DOZEN firms of solicitors are facing a formal disciplinary inquiry over allegations they overcharged clients who received awards because of institutional abuse in Ireland.
The Law Society of Ireland this week confirmed it has referred 12 different legal practices to an independent disciplinary tribunal arising out of complaints from 22 individuals who were former residents of industrial schools.
Law Society director general Ken Murphy said a total of 162 complaints had been received to date.
But he stressed the number of solicitors referred to the disciplinary tribunal represented just over one-inevery 200 cases which had come before the Residential Institutions Redress Board.
The independent disciplinary tribunal can impose a range of sanctions including fines, suspensions and striking off from the profession if it finds misconduct.
A number of solicitors who have been referred to the disciplinary tribunal have already been ordered to refund fees with interest to their clients without delay.
Mr Murphy said the society was also checking separately with all clients to confirm that such refunds had been received.
The investigation followed complaints that some solicitors had overcharged clients or taken a percentage of their awards from the redress board for work done.
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