2018 SOVANI James made an error: she missed a deadline in a particular piece of litigation and, afraid to tell anyone, she lied to both her employer and her client about it. “I had been terrified to report my mistake,” she later said. The deception continued and she backdated four letters over a 17-month period to cover it up. Her lie wasn’t discovered until after she left to work at another firm.

Three years later, an appeals court last month ruled that James should be struck off from the practice of law, ending her legal career. “Dishonesty of any kind is […] a serious matter,” Lord Justice Flaux said in his judgement. “I do not consider that mental health issues […] suffered as a consequence of work conditions […] justify a lesser sanction than striking off.”

REF: ‘Toxic, cut-throat’: the work culture awaiting junior lawyers | Studying law | The Guardian


Doyle v Donovan [2020] IEHC 11 (17 January 2020) Simons J.

“Whereas it is most regrettable that the Defendant and her insurer (represented by BLM Solicitors) chose to make the entirely unsubstantiated allegation that the Plaintiff had deliberately caused the accident, much of the sting of same has been removed by the fact that the plea was not pursued at the hearing before the Circuit Court and, ultimately, liability was conceded in its entirety before the High Court. “

” Applying the principles stated by the High Court (Barniville J.) in Trafalgar Developments Ltd. v. Mazepin [2020] IEHC 13, I am satisfied that the defendant and her insurer have engaged in precisely the type of litigation misconduct which justifies the making of an award of costs on the higher basis (“legal practitioner and client” basis). A party should not make a claim of fraud or dishonesty against the other party without ensuring that there exists clear evidence supporting a prima facie case in relation to such claim. The plea that the plaintiff had deliberately caused the collision was one which imputed fraud and dishonesty to him. The making of this allegation had potentially serious consequences for the plaintiff in terms of his reputation and good name. Moreover, even if not calculated to do so, the existence of the plea might well have dissuaded the plaintiff from pursuing his personal injuries claim for fear that he would be exposed to penalties under the Court and Civil Liability Act 2004. No explanation, still less a justification, has ever been offered for the defendant’s conduct.

In all the circumstances, I propose to make an order pursuant to Order 99, rule 10(3) of the Rules of the Superior Courts (as amended by Rules of the Superior Courts (Costs) 2019 directing that the costs shall be adjudicated on a legal practitioner and client basis.For the avoidance of any doubt, the intention of this order is that the plaintiff will recover costs at a higher level than the usual “party and party” basis, and that the adjudication will allow all reasonable costs (even if such costs are not strictly speaking “necessary” in the sense that the term is understood for the purposes of adjudication). For example, the costs are to include the costs of both senior and junior counsel before the High Court, and to include the costs of the written legal submissions filed.

Barney Quirke, SC and the late Ivan Daly BL RIP for the Plaintiff instructed by Ferrys Solicitors

England & Wales: When George Belamoan succeeded on appeal in suing his solicitor Holden for professional negligence appeal court criticised trial judge for getting caught up in emotion of trial & failing to recognise Belamoan had legitimate reasons to be “angry” at having lost 3 years.


Noonan J.

24.  The trial judge’s reference to Byrne v Ardenheath is, I think, somewhat problematic in a number of respects. It was not referred to by either party in oral and written submissions as a relevant authority. That of itself does not mean that a court ought not be entitled to refer to authorities that might not necessarily be cited in argument but nonetheless come to the attention of the court in carrying out research for the purposes of a judgment. Sometimes a court may refer to a case or cases that may illustrate a particular point being made in the course of a judgment but may not necessarily be decisive to the outcome.

25. In such cases, it is not usually necessary to seek further assistance from the parties before judgment is delivered. However, where a court intends placing primary reliance for its decision on a judgment that has been neither cited nor the subject of argument by the parties, in general the proper approach is to invite the parties to address the court in relation to that authority before a final view is reached.

26. If that procedure were adopted in this case, it is perfectly possible that the trial judge might have been swayed by arguments as to its relevance or non-relevance but unfortunately, that opportunity was not afforded the parties and, in particular, the plaintiff. In my view, Byrne v Ardenheath is of little, if any, assistance in the present case. It bears a passing factual resemblance to the present case in that it involved a person slipping down a steep grassy slope instead of pursuing an alternative route. There, however, the similarity ends.