Legal Costs Adjudicator shall apply the basic principle that the costs have been reasonably incurred, and that the costs are reasonable in amount. In determining whether costs are reasonable in amount, the Adjudicator is to consider the following:
- the complexity of the legal work;
- the difficulty and novelty of the issues involved;
- skill and specialised knowledge relevant to the matter;
- the time and labour reasonably expended;
- importance of the matter to the client;
- the urgency of the matter to the client;
- and whether the urgency requires that the practitioner give priority to the matter over other matters;
- the place and circumstances in which matter was transacted;
- the number, importance and complexity of the documents that the legal practitioner was required to draft, prepare or examine;
- where money, property or interest in a property is involved, the amount of the money, or value of the property or the interest in the property;
- whether or not there is an agreement to limit the liability of the legal practitioner;
- whether or not the legal practitioner necessarily undertook research and investigative work and, if so, the timescale within which such work was required to be completed;
- the use and costs of expert witnesses and other experts engaged by the legal practitioner and whether such costs were necessary or reasonable.
Legal Cost Adjudicator
The Office of the Taxing-Master shall be known as the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicator. The Minister is to appoint, a Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator and a number of Legal Costs Adjudicators, with the consent of the Department of Public Expenditure.
They are to be court officers. The powers conferred on the Taxing-Master by law are to be conferred on the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator and every Legal Costs Adjudicator.
The functions of the Legal Cost Adjudicators are limited to those of the Taxing-Masters’ Office and do not extend to the lower courts or to the jurisdiction of County Registrars.
The Legal Costs Adjudicator’s office is to establish a register of determinations in relation to legal cost adjudication. The register is to contain details of the parties, date of receipt of bill of costs; date on which adjudication is assigned; outcome of determination; date of notice of adjudication.
Register and Reasons
The reasons for the adjudication are to be placed on the register, unless it relates to an adjudication held otherwise than in public, or of which there would have been a hearing, it would have been held otherwise in public. The reasons are not placed on the register where the adjudication relates is as between legal practitioner and client.
The adjudication is not placed on the register if it is between parties to proceedings, where the proceedings have been settled prior to hearing. It may be excluded from the register, if the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator considers, it will be contrary to public interest, so to do or where the adjudication does not involve a matter of legal importance.
In the above circumstances (held in private, solicitor client or pre-settlement) the outcome is to be published and the reasons for determination, and certain non-identifying information, in a manner so that, information protected from disclosure is not disclosed, and that the clients may not be identified by name, address, or economic activity.
Where the adjudication relates to costs between parties to proceedings, or a legal practitioner and his client, the information referred is to be published in a manner that commercially sensitive information relating to either parties, is not disclosed.
County Registrars on a taxation of cost are to have regard to the principles of legal costs set out above. Each County Registrar is to maintain a register of taxation determinations. The information in the register is to include: date of receipt of application for taxation; names of parties; date of determination; outline of disputed issues; outcome; reasons for outcome.
Each County Registrar is to report annually to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator providing a summary of information contained in the register of taxation, determinations made by him or her.
The Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator after making appropriate consultation may prepare guidance for Legal Costs Adjudicator, legal practitioners and the public. The guidelines must not be inconsistent with the Act and regulations made under it nor with rules of court. The guidelines are to indicate the manner in which the functions of the Adjudicators are to be performed.
Guidelines may describe the procedures for adjudication of legal costs,
- set out the documents and other information required to accompany the application,
- describe the notices, information that will be provided by the Adjudicator,
- identify provisions of the legislation and rules of court relevant to the application,
- describe procedures to be followed in the Office of the Adjudicators,
- provide guidance in relation to exercise powers,
- set out fees, and provide other appropriate information.
The Superior Courts Rules Committee are to review the scales of fees for contentious and non-contentious business set out in the Rules of the Superior Court. They are to prepare a report setting out amendment or alterations which in the opinions of the Committee, having regard to the principles of legal costs, should be made. A report is to be made to the Minister.
Office of Adjudicator
The Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicator is to prepare strategic plans every three years. It is to prepare business plans annually. It is to submit an annual report to the Chief Executive Officer of the Court Service.
A person may be appointed to the Office of Legal Costs Adjudicator if he is selected by the Public Appointments Service, after completion of a competition under the Public Service Management Act 2004. He must be a solicitor or barrister of not less than 10 years of experience, or has practised as a Legal Cost Accountant for a period of not less than 10 years.
Periods of office are for seven and five years. A seven-year period applies to the Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator and this period may be continued until his retirement. The Legal Costs Adjudicator is appointed for a five-year period and is not eligible for reappointment. A Legal Costs Adjudicator may be removed by the Government if he has become incapable through ill-health of performing his functions,
- he has committed stated misbehaviour,
- he has without reasonable cause, failed to perform his functions for a continuous period of three months within the last six months,
- he has contravened Ethics in Public Office legislation.
- He ceases to hold office if he is convicted of an offence, on indictment or involving fraud or dishonesty,
- he is disqualified as a director, he is imprisoned, he is removed by a competent authority for any reason from a register in respect of a profession.
Important Notice! This website is provided for informational purposes only! It is a fundamental condition of the use of this website that no liability is accepted for any loss or damage caused by reason of any error, omission, or misstatement in its contents.
Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.