Superior court judges not entitled to hear case, says barrister

Lawyer claims judges are inextricably linked to him through King’s Inns membership

Alan Toal has asked the Government to introduce “as a matter of urgency” legislation to prevent judges being automatically made benchers of the Honorable Society of the King’s Inns

Alan Toal has asked the Government to introduce “as a matter of urgency” legislation to prevent judges being automatically made benchers of the Honorable Society of the King’s Inns

 

A barrister who has brought High Court proceedings seeking to prevent an internal disciplinary tribunal imposing sanctions on him has argued that judges of the superior courts are not entitled to hear his case.

Alan Toal initiated the proceedings after an internal tribunal found he breached the barristers’ code of conduct.

The alleged breaches include allegations that in 2010 he took money directly from a former client which barristers were not supposed to do, failed to engage with internal inquiries properly and berated the former client at a consultation.

Injunction

Honorable SocietyGeneral CouncilIreland

Mr Toal, from Arklow, Co Wicklow, is seeking various orders and injunctions to have certain complaints made against him expunged.

All four respondents oppose the action.

The court heard yesterday that Mr Toal’s lawyers wrote to the Attorney General, Minister for Justice and President Michael D Higgins raising concerns that all judges, on appointment, are automatically made benchers or a senior member of the Honorable Society of the Kings’ Inns. Mr Toal’s side argues that that effectively makes all judges parties to any action brought against the Barristers’ Disciplinary Tribunal.

Linked

Fergal KavanaghJustice David Keane

Mr Toal has asked the Government to introduce “as a matter of urgency” legislation to prevent judges being automatically made benchers of the society, counsel said. New judges who were not benched could then hear Mr Toal’s case, he said.

Lawyers for the respondents all opposed the application and asked that the matter be heard as soon as possible.

Mr Justice Keane said there was no legal basis for the application to recuse himself or adjourn the action until the Government replied to Mr Toal’s lawyers.

The case continues.