High Court bans man from acting as a legal advisor after ‘taking advantage of vulnerable litigants’

High Court bans man from acting as a legal advisor after 'taking advantage of vulnerable litigants'

A High Court judge has made an order preventing a man from acting as a legal advisor in court cases because he is “taking advantage of vulnerable litigants”.

The order was made by Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds yesterday in respect of Eamon O’Neill, a “business advisor” who the judge said is now barred from acting as what are known as a McKenzie friend – persons who advise lay litigants participating in court proceedings.

The judge said that, despite having no legal qualifications, Mr O’Neill had purported to give legal advice to defendants who were in a dispute with a receiver over a commercial property in Waterford, who the court had made orders against.

She had previously described a letter sent to various parties, including the gardaí, by Mr O’Neill as being “scurrilous” and contained averments about what had occurred when the matter was before the court that were simply not true. Mr O’Neill apologised to the court for what was contained in the letter.

The judge adjourned the case to yesterday, when she directed Mr O’Neill to attend with a legal representative to answer what she said was his alleged contempt.

When the matter returned before the judge, she said that Mr O’Neill had failed to attend.

A new letter was handed into the court on Mr O’Neill’s behalf stating why he could not attend court, which the judge said she did not accept.

“He thinks he is above the law,” she said, adding that she was giving him one more chance and that he would have to appear before the court next Thursday.

The judge said that when the matter returns before the court, Mr O’Neill may apply to have the order barring him from advising litigants against him lifted.

Aodhan O Faolain, Ireland International News Agency Ltd.

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