So­lic­i­tor in­volved in ‘se­ri­ous over­charg­ing’

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS / NEWS - MARY CAROLAN

The case of a so­lic­i­tor who dis­putes he over­charged a for­mer client by more than €650,000 was de­scribed by an ex­pe­ri­enced le­gal costs ac­coun­tant as the “worst case of over­charg­ing” he had ever en­coun­tered, the High Court has heard.

De­ci­sions of a High Court tax­ing mas­ter showed Wick­low-based so­lic­i­tor Joseph Buck­ley was in­volved in “se­ri­ous over­charg­ing”, in­volv­ing sums up to €700,000, of De­nis Doyle, Paul An­thony McDermott SC, for Mr Doyle, said.

Mr Buck­ley had dou­ble-charged, charged for work he did not do and charged ex­ces­sive fees, he said.

There was an el­e­ment of “Hal­loween” here be­cause Mr Buck­ley’s ob­jec­tions to tax­ing mas­ter De­clan O’Neill’s find­ings in re­la­tion to var­i­ous bills of costs of the so­lic­i­tor raised is­sues of “ghost files and ghost boxes”, he said.

The tax­ing mas­ter had said Mr Doyle, a client of Mr Buck­ley’s for more than 10 years from 1998 was at best pre­sented with bills of “al­most impenetrable opaque­ness”. While Mr Buck­ley ar­gued Mr Doyle con­sented to the fees and signed bills, there was an is­sue whether that was in­formed con­sent.

The tax­ing mas­ter had also ex­pressed “huge con­cerns” about Mr Buck­ley’s cred­i­bil­ity fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent where Mr Doyle al­leged he was “ver­bally as­saulted” by the so­lic­i­tor in the court precincts.

Mr Buck­ley de­nied that hap­pened, a dig­i­tal record­ing showed words were said and Mr Buck­ley was in­sist­ing the tax­ing mas­ter was not en­ti­tled to lis­ten to that record­ing, coun­sel said.

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