Dáil Éireann - Volume 346 - 22 November, 1983

Written Answers. - Criminal Legal Aid Scheme.

453. Mr. Coogan asked the Minister for Justice if as reported, payments made under the criminal legal aid scheme to solicitors in group practice are in part for work required to be done by other solicitors in the practice who are not separately remunerated and if he agrees with claims made that figures published from time to time concerning earnings under the scheme are misleading.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): Assignments under the criminal legal aid scheme are made to individual solicitors and not to firms. Accordingly, payments in respect of fees and expenses are related to the services of the individual solicitor and not services of the firm. The solicitor will of course [151] have secretarial and other overhead expenses. In addition he may, under the scheme, be represented at the hearing of a legal aid case to which he has been assigned and this may of course be by a solicitor who is in practice with him. However, it would be an abuse of the scheme if that were to occur frequently.

Accordingly, I would not agree that figures published from time to time concerning earnings of individual solicitors under the scheme are misleading.