Society denies threat to compensation fund

THE IRISH Law Society has been forced to reassure the public that its compensation fund is secure after speculation that an £11m claim could threaten it.

The massive claim followed the suicide in 1992 of Dublin solicitor Jonathan Brooks, who left behind a complex series of debts totalling £11m.

The society has paid £3.3m to 35 of the 71 former clients who claim they are owed money. The society claims the compensation fund will only have to pay out another £2.7m.

But the Irish press has recently suggested that the fund's assets might fall below the £1m required by its rules.

Ken Murphy, director of the Law Society, said the stories were misleading. He insisted the fund would retain £3.5m in net assets “over and above” the money still pending. He said: “There is no risk to the fund itself, and with regard to the £1,230 annual subscription, the amount that goes to the compensation fund will remain at £600, as it has for the last two or three years.”

The amount paid to the compensation fund did rise from £475 to £600 as a result of the Brooks case, but this rise could have been greater, according to Murphy.

“We were lucky because we had insurance on the fund at the time and the number of solicitors paying subscriptions has grown substantially since 1992,” he said.

The complexity of Brooks' speculative international dealings mean that any quick resolution of the remainder to be paid is unlikely.