Irish act on complaints

THE PUBLIC made 1,350 complaints to the Irish Law Society against solicitors in the Republic of Ireland last year.

About half of them concerned delays, failure to communicate with clients or hand over files. One fifth alleged inadequate professional services, while 16 per cent claimed that excessive fees were charged.

Most of the complaints were dealt with by the Society's secretariat, with 15 cases of alleged misconduct involving 10 solicitors referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Irish High Court.

The details are in a report to Irish Justice Minister Nora Owen by the recently-appointed lay members of the Society's complaints committee. The report welcomed recent legislative changes about the way the profession polices itself and said they had “substantially increased the protection offered to clients”.

The report recommended a “more positive” approach by the society on issues of delays and poor communication with clients. It also recommended action to protect future clients of solicitors against whom complaints had been made.

The society has 4,131 practising members.