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Lucinda Creighton’s legal bill

This post is not about the facts of O’Flynn v Creighton, currently at hearing. Except for one fact. How is Lucinda Creighton going to pay for her legal representation? She is in the middle of a very expensive form of litigation. The costs are particularly high in defamation actions.

Leaving aside the fact that she is in receipt of a substantial income as a Minister of State, there is no Legal Aid for defamation actions. Even if she were as poor as a church mouse she would not get legal aid.

So what? Why should anybody get legal aid in such a case? Because without some funding help, a person might not get justice.  It is impractical to think that justice is possible for a lay litigant. In the Irish court system, the judge is not intended to help one party at the expense of the other. If that happens in a case with a lay litigant (as it most likely would), the help will be minimal; otherwise the party with the legal representation will simply appeal to a higher court and have no difficulty finding grounds for the appeal.

What has this to do with Lucinda Creighton? Well, it brings to mind the McLibel case. Ultimately, the UK itself lost the McLibel case. Ireland is perfectly poised to follow it to ignominy.

Ireland’s continuing failure to make proper, modern provision for the funding of litigation of any type (except, minimally, Family Law) is a scandal and will eventually cost a lot of money.

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