Solicitor loses appeal on €500,000 charge
A SOLICITOR who was found to have overcharged a client by more than €500,000 has failed in bid to have the decision judicially reviewed.
Wicklow-based solicitor Joseph Buckley brought a case to the Court of Appeal over an earlier refusal by the High Court to grant him a judicial review.
He had been seeking a review of a decision by the High Court Taxing Master who examined bills for work the solicitor carried out for publican Denis Doyle. The three-judge appeal court yesterday dismissed his application.
The Taxing Master, Declan O’Neill, ruled earlier this year following a marathon legal case that Mr Buckley had over-
charged Mr Doyle by hundreds of thousands of euro. The issues has been in dispute for the past seven years and Mr Buckley previously sought a judicial review from the High Court but it ruled this was not “the appropriate remedy for his attempts to challenge the decision of the Taxing Master”.
In his appeal against that decision, Mr Buckley’s barrister John Fitzgerald SC told the Court of Appeal yesterday “rules were broken” at a Taxing Master’s hearing on April 30, 2014. Mr Buckley was alleged to have made “reprehensible” remarks to Mr Doyle during a lunchtime interval.
He had initially denied making them, but Mr O’Neill later checked the court’s digital audio recording, and a stenog- rapher gave sworn evidence the words had been said. Mr Buckley had apologised and agreed to have his bills taxed.
However, Mr Fitzgerald argued yesterday the Taxing Master had conducted an unlawful “tribunal of enquiry” that had breached Mr Buckley’s right to fair procedures, and everything subsequent was “tainted”.
Paul Anthony McDermott SC, for the Taxing Master, said Mr Buckley had consented to the bills being taxed and “you cannot challenge your own consent”.
Mr Justice Sean Ryan said: “It seems to me that this application does not get to first base.” He dismissed the appeal.
Other proceedings related to the case are due before the High Court in a few weeks.