224. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice, further to Parliamentary Question No. 622 of 27 January 2021, when the information requested will be collated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10672/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I am very happy to be able to reply to the Deputy on these matters and for his understanding in allowing the additional time necessary to complete the relevant enquiries with the Legal Aid Board.
As the Deputy will appreciate, the Legal Aid Board is the statutory, independent body responsible for the provision of civil legal aid and advice to persons of modest means, in accordance with the relevant criteria and provisions of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995.
This includes the Board’s provision of key supports under Abhaile as the National Mortgage Arrears Resolution Service. The Programme for Government commits to continuing to fund Abhaile, and to introducing the necessary reforms to our personal insolvency legislation to ensure that sufficient supports are in place for mortgage holders with repayment difficulties. This also reflects the Government’s ongoing prioritisation of more vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic and for the period of national recovery which will follow. There is, in addition, a commitment to reviewing the scheme this year.
An important component of Abhaile relates to the provision of legal aid for proceedings under section 115A of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (as amended). This legislation provides for a process where a proposal for personal insolvency arrangement can be implemented by a court even if rejected by creditors at a creditors meeting.
The legal aid available includes the services of a solicitor from the Legal Aid Board’s Abhaile Solicitors’ Panel and payment to the personal insolvency practitioner with respect to the expenses they occur in making the section 115A application. Prior to 1 March 2019, the services of Junior Counsel were funded in all s115A applications. Since that date the services of Counsel may be sought on a case-by-case basis as is the case in other civil legal aid matters.
These Panels and supports are administered independently by the Legal Aid Board under the relevant legislative and regulatory provisions. They are also subject to statutory audit and certification by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General and subject to the relevant Internal Audit and corporate governance procedures. The following information has been provided in the form of three Schedules by the Legal Aid Board.
Schedule A sets out the amounts spent by the Legal Aid Board on solicitors, barristers and personal insolvency practitioners for applications under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 during the year 2020.
Schedule B sets out the amount paid by the Legal Aid Board to each individual solicitor, barrister and personal insolvency practitioner for applications under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 during the year 2020.
Schedule C sets out the total amounts incurred but not yet paid by the Legal Aid Board in connection with solicitors, barristers and personal insolvency practitioners for applications under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 as at 1 January 2021, and the amount of those liabilities which were accrued during 2020. It is assumed that the accrued fee will be invoiced in full.
I have had enquiries made with the Legal Aid Board and am informed that the Legal Aid Board is not in a position to provide information as to individual amounts accrued into the future by individual service providers. This is because the legal aid recipients concerned engage their own solicitor from the panel on foot of a legal aid certificate and it is for that solicitor (if authorised to do so) to instruct Counsel. The Legal Aid Board does not therefore become aware of which solicitor and barrister has been so engaged until the relevant claim is later submitted to it for that purpose.
Fees actually paid (inc VAT) to personal insolvency practitioners, solicitors, and barristers in respect of legally aided applications under section 115A of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (as amended)
|Fees to barristers||€194,881|
|Fees to personal insolvency practitioners||€890,239|
|Fees to solicitors||€1,700,176|
Part 1 – Fees paid to solicitors
|Anthony Joyce & Co||€282,817|
|Catherine Allison & Co||€269,881|
|Elizabeth Howard & Co Solicitors||€250,055|
|Hanlon & Company Solicitors||€179,400|
|Ashtown Gate Solicitors||€179,174|
|Alan McGee & Co Solicitors||€139,427|
|Louisa C. McKeon & Company Solicitors||€94,640|
|Gibson & Associates Solicitors||€62,287|
|Kayanne Horgan Solicitors||€52,595|
|Carley & Associates Solicitors||€44,881|
|Kieran Mulcahy Solicitors||€23,840|
|Damien Sheridan Solicitors||€12,620|
|J.F. Williams & Co Solicitors||€12,578|
|Martina Murphy Solicitors||€4,674|
|John O’Keefe & Co Solicitors||€3,856|
|Mullan & Associates||€3,506|
|Andrew D King||€1,070|
|McCambridge Duffy Ltd||€189,530.24|
|Alan McGee Personal Insolvency Services Ltd||€109,573.32|
|Uhy Personal & Corporate Insolvency Solutions Ltd||€100,186.50|
|Grant Thornton Debt Solutions Ltd||€81,394.07|
|Insolvency Resolution Service||€63,496.35|
|Kirk & Associates||€60,848.07|
|Rebate Insolvency Solutions||€28,029.41|
|Midland Insolvency Solutions||€25,953.00|
|Moore Stephens Debt Solutions||€20,603.71|
|The Debt Clinic||€15,128.50|
|Cork Insolvency Centre||€14,815.70|
|R. Hendy & Co. Chartered Accountants||€13,617.68|
|Kildare Audit & Accountancy Services||€13,553.00|
|DV Mannion & Co. Ltd||€9,014.57|
|John Paul Donelon||€8,567.00|
|Professional Debt Solutions Limited t/a Rescue Me""||€6,050.00|
|W.O. McGrory & Company||€5,740.41|
|Quintas Insolvency Services Limited||€4,612.50|
|John J Lupton||€3,429.14|
|Firm Advice Ltd||€3,075.00|
|Prima Finance Debt Solutions||€2,050.41|
Fees incurred but not yet paid in relation to the services of personal insolvency practitioners, solicitors, and barristers in respect of legally aided applications under section 115A of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 (as amended)
|Total at 1st Jan 21||Of which incurred during 2020|
|Total – comprising of:||€5,334,278||€1,869,940|
|Fees to barristers||€1,661,519||€226,285|
|Fees to Personal Insolvency Practitioners||€2,023,613||€793,370|
|Fees to Solicitors||€1,649,146||€850,285|