Lay litigants and the price of justice

Sir, – Further to "High costs and rise in repossessions drive growth of lay litigants" (February 4th), the troika's demands in 2010 to slash the cost of legal fees in 21st-century Ireland went unheeded.

Hence the present scenario where certain people are left with no option but to become lay litigants as affording a solicitor in this country is far beyond their means, a common complaint among those sandwichedbetween the rich and the poor.

Just last week, a judge ordered that a defendant lodge a total of €929,000 to include an award of €560,000 and legal costs for one week in the High Court. I presume the balance of €369,000 is to cover the legal fees on both sides and not just the winning side.

To put this colossal amount of money into perspective, €369,000 equates to the annual gross salary of 12 gardaí, who are also servants of the law and who, unlike solicitors and barristers, put their lives at risk every day in their line of duty.

How barristers and solicitors believe they are entitled to exorbitant fees for their legal services is extraordinary, considering that the running of the courts and judges’ salaries are funded entirely by the taxpayer.

It is now high time that law be taught in Irish schools so that the next generation is better equipped to deal with legal procedures and court etiquette, an issue that is presently ruffling feathers in the courtroom. – Yours, etc,



Bóthar Phairc na bhFianna

Cnoc Mhuirfean,

Co Bhaile Átha Cliath.