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Limited Liability

Generally, the liability of a solicitor (arising out of his/her professional practise) is unlimited.

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Phew!

Insurance has a strange aspect which we often overlook; we are happy that we did not need it.

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Willie O’Dea

But we should see him as he is, warts and all. We should not have to endure the consequence of more mythical thinking by the judiciary (and the Law Library). The Attorney General is down in the arena with everybody else. He fights for his clients. He represents their interests. He should not be accorded the deference he gets from the judiciary and the Law Library.

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Legal Advice

1. It was (arguably) beyond the remit of the High Court inspector to make exhaustive comment on the giving of legal advice to Mr. Jim Flavin (“Flavin”) on the legality of the sale by Flavin of Fyffes’ shares. 2. However, the advice was wrong, the inspector says. (He could hardly say anything else, given that the Supreme Court effectively said the same thing). 3. Consequently, the question as to whether the solicitor who gave that advice was negligent could arise. […]

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Evidence, please

The essential element of the book, in explaining its success, was prolixity. A work is prolix if it is too long. It is a general human failing to think that there must be substance to something if it can be written about at length.

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Contentious Business

Under the Regulations it is illegal for a solicitor to advertise “No win, no Fee”. Solicitors are not permitted to calculate their fees by reference to a percentage of the compensation recovered for the client. (Or as the Regulations put it, “In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement”.

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The Medical Expert

The issue in a medical negligence action is whether the defendant deviated from approved or appropriate practice. It is an error, usually, to think that the plaintiff will succeed if he/she proves that there would have been no injury had the defendant followed a different course of action. (The exceptional case where it would not be an error would be one where the court was persuaded that the conventional practice carried such obvious defects that it was indefensible and where the court effectively condemns the defendant and the practice.)

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Contract Law (1)

Signing a contract for a new roadway (or a new building) is a significant matter. The contract will have to provide for a great number of things, not least the specification for the type or quality of road or building.

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Complaints and Remedies

The client has voluntarily transferred, or directed the transfer, of the money to the solicitor. On that ground alone the average policeman is immediately bemused at the beginning of any hypothetical investigation of a client’s complaint. It takes a specialised policeman, from a fraud squad, to conduct that investigation. In Ireland we have inadequate resources to investigate fraud.
As a practical matter, therefore, it is a necessary evil that the regulation of solicitors exist and that it apply with full force to the management of clients’ money.

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The New Legal Year 2

It cannot be true, however, that they have little or no confidence in their own lawyer; they hired him or her and would not have done so if they positively had no confidence in him or her. In any event it is probably misleading to use the term “confidence” in this context, something many clients would probably recognize intuitively. The emotion felt is probably closer to hope than anything else, or, in the case of very inexperienced clients, expectation. “Confidence” is something based on past experience; most clients have little experience of the legal system. What of a client accused of the offence of dangerous driving? How can his/her emotional state be said to be one of “confidence”, when the most positive outcome may, to the knowledge of the client, be one where public humiliation is attenuated by the lawyer speaking for the client, rather than snatching an acquittal from the situation?

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