Law Society to deploy 'undercover agents' at court venues

Move intended to expose unscrupulous solicitors

Inside a courtroom at the Criminal Courts of Justice, Parkgate Street, Dublin.

Inside a courtroom at the Criminal Courts of Justice, Parkgate Street, Dublin.

Wed, Jun 12, 2013, 10:13

The Law Society is to deploy undercover agents around the country’s court venues in a bid to expose unscrupulous solicitors touting for business.

The use of the “secret shopper” at court venues to identify those solicitors engaging in the unauthorised practice of approaching court clients to represent them is one of a series of recommendations aimed at stamping out the practice in a new Law Society report.

The review group was established by the Law Society in response to the “unprecedented level of concern” by solicitors over the unauthorised practice and “the widespread disappointment at the apparent ineffectiveness of the Law Society to act”.

The report by the group says there is now unprecedented competition for criminal legal aid business in an environment where “unacceptable professional practices thrive”.

The report states that the unauthorised practice of solicitors touting for business at courts “has dramatically increased in recent years and appears particularly to affect vulnerable non-national clients who misunderstand an improper professional approach as being officially sanctioned”.