Ministry of Justice set to slim tribunal system as costs soar

The Irish Ministry of Justice has published a proposal to reform the country’s tribunal system, which costs millions of euros a year in lawyers’ fees

Justice Minister Michael McDowell has set out plans for a pared down form of inquiry following press reports suggesting that the Irish state’s tribunals will have cost the tax payer E500m (£347.8m) in lawyers’ fees by the time they are completed.
The proposals follow comments by Irish Finance Minister Charlie McCreey earlier this year which suggested that he was about to call time on lawyers’ fees.
In a letter to the attorney-general, McCreevy referred to an “apparently relentless” increase in lawyers’ fees.
The most high-profile beneficiaries of the fee income are members of the Irish bar, but Dublin’s largest law firms are also involved to some degree on one or other of the tribunals.
One of the most high-profile public inquiries is the Moriarty Tribunal, which is investigating allegations of government corruption in the granting of mobile phone licences.
The Law Reform Commission has also published a consultation paper on the reform of public inquiries. As Jon Robins reports in IR3, there is some support for sensible reform from the Irish legal community.