Service helping barristers to collect €1.2m in outstanding fees

Bar of Ireland report says membership of Law Library fell slightly to 2,115 over year

A service put in place last year to help barristers collect outstanding fees is currently helping 182 members of the profession collect a total of €1.287 million, acccording to the latest annual report of the Bar of Ireland. Image: iStock.

A service put in place last year to help barristers collect outstanding fees is currently helping 182 members of the profession collect a total of €1.287 million, acccording to the latest annual report of the Bar of Ireland. Image: iStock.

 

A service put in place last year to help barristers collect outstanding fees is currently helping 182 members of the profession collect a total of €1.287 million, acccording to the latest annual report of the Bar of Ireland.

The in-house practice support and fee recovery service was put in place last July and has proven “invaluable throughout the year,” Bar of Ireland chief executive Ciara Murphy said in the report.

The need for the service arose out of ongoing challenges members had experienced over many years in collecting fees, as well as from a demand for information on practice management, she said.

The number of members using the service equates to 6 per cent of the total membership of the organisation, with 22 per cent of those using the service being senior counsel, according to the chief executive’s report.

As of the end of June, the membership of the Law Library was 2,115, only a slight decline on the previous year.

“In the year to date, 68 have ceased membership, while 11 re-entered membership,” Ms Murphy said.

“It had been anticipated that the number ceasing membership over the course of the last year would be greater, owing to the reduction in court business as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, that has not transpired to be the case and the number leaving is less than it was in the previous three years, where the average number leaving was hovering in and around 90 per year.”

There was a strong likelihood that the membership retention figure was maintained because of measures put in place to provide financial relief to members, she said.

The total value of the supports put in place last year was €4.7 million, with the support being made possible through the accessing of State supports for staff costs, cost savings, support from Bar of Ireland group companies, and reserves.

At the end of June, 63 per cent of the membership was male, according to the annual report. At the same date, 82 per cent of the 352 senior counsel members were male.