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I Won a Court Appeal. Is Fee Reasonable?

Declan. Just wondering about the cost of solicitor fees. I received a fee over €1000 for successfully appealing a driving disqualification over missing docs and failing to appear in court initially. This involved applying for appeal, representation at app

Declan and Brian. Just wondering about the cost of solicitor fees. I received a fee over €1000 for successfully appealing a driving disqualification over missing docs and failing to appear in court initially. This involved applying for appeal, representation at appeal and admin charges. This feels quite excessive. What does your resident solicitor think is appropriate costs and what are my options? I have questioned there costs but feel I have no choice but to pay. Also it seems that I an paying over the odds just because I did not receive any fines. Thanks, John

Hi John,

What we’re talking about here is that you received a disqualification from driving as a result, I presume, of your not producing your insurance certificate and driver’s licence to the Gardai as required and then having received a summons to the District Court, you didn’t attend on the day of the hearing. The judge would have imposed fines and a disqualification so you asked your solicitor for help.

What was involved for your solicitor was to bring an appeal for full hearing  to the Circuit Court. This court is much more formalised than the District Court and so the procedures are more complex. €1,000.00 including VAT and expenses sounds like €800.00 + VAT and this sounds a reasonable charge to me.

The appeal probably involved your solicitor doing the following work:

*Requisitioning a written copy of the District Court Order,

*Drafting Recognizances (a type of guarantee to complete the appeal),

*An application to the District Court to fix Recognizances and at the same time,

*An application to court to accept bond and surety,

*Filing completed documents in the District Court office,

*Drafting the appeal papers including the Notice of Appeal,

*Serving the Notice of Appeal on the Gardai,

*Drafting and swearing the Affidavit of Service of the Notice of Appeal,

*Filing all of the papers in the Circuit Court Office,

*Separately paying all court fees due in the process,

*Advising on the proofs, witnesses list, documents for production and other trial papers

*Possibly appearing for you at the “Call-over” of cases several days before hearing,

*Appearing for you at the hearing (in some courts this can take all day mainly waiting for the case to be called).

*After that there would have been some post-hearing papers to be filed to get the disqualification record extinguished.

The result of all this was that you won your appeal. And that meant that you held your clean licence. And that your insurers didn’t load you as if you had lost your no-claim’s bonus – with up to 5 years at much higher premiums to get it back possibly adding up to thousands of Euro.

You could have done the case yourself without a solicitor but you wouldn’t have had a better outcome and it might have been a lot worse. Regarding the fee you could ask the Court Taxing Master to examine the Bill but don’t because it sounds like your solicitor did a terrific job at a reasonable price giving you a great result. Send your solicitor a thank-you card with a cheque for the fee first thing tomorrow.

 

 

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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