Over €1m in unpaid barristers’ fees recovered by Bar service

Over €1m in unpaid barristers' fees recovered by Bar service

Around €1.1 million in unpaid barristers’ fees has been recovered through The Bar of Ireland’s in-house fee recovery service since its launch less than three years ago.

Over 175 members of the Law Library are now “actively using” the Bar’s practice support and fee recovery service for assistance in recovering overdue fee notes, according to the latest edition of the Bar Review.

Most (50 per cent) of these barristers are full juniors (years 12 and upwards), 29 per cent are juniors in years four to 11, and the remaining 21 per cent are senior counsel.

There are currently over 200 fee notes worth just over €2.2 million registered with the service in which professional fees remain outstanding. Nearly a third (31 per cent) of these are cases in which a solicitor has failed to engage with the service despite repeated attempts.

However, the service has so far recovered payment for 217 fee notes with a combined value of €1.06 million, representing a recovery rate of over 51 per cent in terms of the number of fee notes referred and 33 per cent in value terms.

The median number of months to obtain payment once registered with the service is 12 months, with over 40 per cent of fee notes being recovered within the first six months of referral.

In 45 cases, the service made complaints to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) to help secure payment. Of these, nine per cent were settled after the complaint was deemed admissible but before reaching the complaints committee, and 22 per cent were settled before the preliminary review stage.

Only two complaints lodged by the service have reached the complaints committee stage, of which one was upheld and the other was not.

Writing in the Bar Review, Lynn Blake, practice support manager at the Bar, said: “We would encourage members to visit the ‘practice support and fee recovery’ hub on the website and familiarise themselves with the range of best practice information and tips on offer, which include guidance in the area of billing and fee collection.

“For those who wish to avail of the fee recovery service, please contact the team. A starter pack will be sent to you, together with the terms and conditions of the service. There is no additional charge for this service as it is part of the full suite of services arising from your membership of the Law Library.”

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