Solicitors win order on costs

 

TWO SOLICITORS who admitted 50 charges of gross misconduct and operating secret accounts to evade tax have won a Supreme Court order requiring the Law Society to pay their legal costs of the society’s unsuccessful appeal against an order refusing to strike off both men. The costs could amount to €100,000.

While the three-judge Supreme Court ruled yesterday that solicitors Colm Carroll and Henry Colley were entitled to have their costs of the appeal against the society, Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan remarked that the costs application was not indicative of “remorse” by the pair.

Both solicitors were guilty of the “most serious misconduct” which damaged the reputation of the profession and they were now effectively seeking to have their solicitor colleagues pay their Supreme Court costs, the judge said. The Law Society “is every solicitor in the country”, he added.

Hugh Mohan SC, for Mr Carroll, said the solicitors were seeking only the Supreme Court appeal costs and had not appealed against an order requiring them pay the society’s much more substantial costs in the High Court. They were asking only to have the normal rule apply, that costs go to the winning party, he said.

Cian Ferriter, for Mr Colley, said it was the society which had decided to appeal. The society had also argued the Supreme Court decision had clarified the law but Mr Colley had not volunteered to be a “guinea pig” in that regard and should not have to bear the appeal costs.

Mr Carroll has retired and Mr Colley is still a solicitor.