LegalEagleStar

… a kind of Legal Column

Posts Tagged ‘Politics

Psychiatrist holds Banks responsible for Suicide while State Blacklists Protestors

with 11 comments


Leinster House, 18th century Dublin townhouse ...

Leinster House, 18th century Dublin townhouse of the Duke of Leinster. It is now the seat of parliament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the current depressing economic times, people are getting angry. Unfortunately for most they have no avenue open to them to vent this anger and they end up letting it well up inside them causing dreadful health and indeed mental health problems. The ultimate of course is when they’re pushed entirely over the edge and end up taking their own life. Hence we have the dreadful amounts of suicide we see in the Ireland of today. An article worth reading is in the Irish Independent written by Niamh Horan– 14 July 2013. I am taking the liberty of quoting the article in its entirety as it’s a powerful statement of the facts as we see them today…

A Leading psychiatrist is writing to banks on behalf of vulnerable patients, telling them he will hold them responsible in the event of a patient’s suicide.

Dr Ivor Browne says he has been seeking out the names of bank staff responsible for the pressure his patients are under before issuing them with the formal notice.

Dr Browne, former chief psychiatrist of he Eastern Health Board, said the action is “making waves” in favour of
patients who can no longer cope with mounting pressure. “I am hearing people who are being hassled and who are being threatened that their homes will be repossessed,” Dr Browne said.

“I am writing letters to the banks holding them personally responsible if this man commits suicide.”

“Unless you can make them take personal responsibility, it is very difficult to get at them,” he said.

“I would write to the individual who would seem to be implicated. The name that I can get,” he explained, adding “I think it is making waves in the background”.

In a call to other health professionals who are treating people in similar circumstances, Dr Browne said these
exceptional times called for direct action: “I am there to try to help in whatever way I can, and if there is something or someone that is clearly putting unfair pressure on patients, then I think that you have to address that.”

A move by health professionals who are concerned about the welfare of their patients could lead banks to rethink their debt-collection strategy – for fear of future lawsuits.

The Master of the High Court has previously warned that the banks are driving some
borrowers who can not pay their debts to suicide.
Ed Honohan, brother of Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan, said he had dealt with several debt cases where the borrowers had subsequently taken their own
lives. The news comes as suicide campaigners have accused lending institutions of adding to the suicide crisis by harassing people crippled by debt and struggling to cope with the recession.

Paul Kelly, CEO of Console, welcomed the move by Dr Browne and called on other clinicians to take action if they made a “good clinical decision” that a person’s life may be in danger. “If their client is at risk and in great distress, and the clinician or therapist has a fear their patient could take their own life, then banks need to be made fully
aware of this and steps need to be taken to ensure the individual is protected,” he said. He added: “We are dealing with calls every day where people feel suicidal because of the pressure from banks and lending institutions. In one case, we dealt with a man who walked out of the bank after his loans were foreclosed and he took his own life. People are telling us ‘I would be better off dead’ rather than continue with the pressure they are being put under.”

That is indeed the situation in Ireland today and the actions of our politicians and their close cousins, the bankers, have created a situation where people feel helpless and worth nothing.

What if you’ve taken enough and decide to lend your weight to the many street protests taking place around this time? Well, it is an outlet for your frustrations and indeed can make you feel that little bit better. Nothing worse than sitting about all day complaining when you could be out protesting with the many worthwhile campaigns about today. Remember that The State is an Institution which is very protective of itself. Once you march down the street behind a banner, or turn up to join in a protest at Leinster House, are you aware that you are being photographed and investigated by our ‘Sovereign State’ ? Yes indeed you are. A file will be opened which will contain your personal details. Your Facebook and Twitter Account may be examined as well as other social media you may indulge in. Perhaps you’ll get a knock on your door by some middle-aged detectives who just want to see ‘what you’re up to’. These would be the same characters who have overseen Republicans since the creation of the State.You see The State, our State technically, wants to know the ‘trouble makers’. In today’s scenario that is you and me. Of course all this can and will be shared by the Garda Commissioner with ‘Our’ Minister for Justice, currently Mr Alan Shatter. What they decide to do with all this personal information obtained on you is of course a matter for them. Sadly, it appears the more successful your protests, the higher up their List of Troublemakers you’ll be. And it doesn’t stop there. You may appear on Lists. Yes, private listings where you can end up being ‘Black Listed’. That in effect means that your chances of employment in the future will take a turn for the worst. Sure, who would employ a trouble maker?

Living in Ireland today is not easy. Our Politicians and indeed Bankers are pure foot soldiers for an Elite who have taken the world by storm. Our Citizens are suffering terrible hardships from imposed austerity and this will continue until their goal of complete subjugation has been completed. Suicide or protest? Well I do hope that some day soon the Trade Union Movement will awaken and give leadership to their members and not concern themselves as appears to have happened, with maintaining their ‘cosy relationship’ with Government. The ties between the Labour Party and the Trade Union Movement should and must be cut now and true Leadership shown. Nothing short of this will give the much-needed hope that the Irish People deserve. Overthrow the Irish Trade Union Leadership. That seems essential in order that the irish Citizen gets the Leadership they deserve and so urgently need.

LegalEagleStar , Tuesday , 16th. July , 2013.

Ireland in Ruins

with one comment


English: Anglo Irish Bank, Great Victoria Stre...

English: Anglo Irish Bank, Great Victoria Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, October 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the week I Retweeted the following from KSat News in San Antonio, Texas….

Tom Baldwin@LegalEagleStar

I wonder how many of these guys made money from Irish Citizens? Bondholders ? Ask #Enda World’s richest billionaires http://www.ksat.com/-/478556/9259712/-/wvv8urz/-/index.html#.UTT3ocxeiUo.twitter …

If we go to the List we see Warren Buffett, the 82-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is worth an estimated $53.5 billion. Bill Gates, chairman and co-founder of Microsoft Corp., is also co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His net worth is more than $67 billion. I ask the hypothetical question whether any of these made money on the back of the Irish Citizen? The answer is that I don’t know and our Government is making sure that I cannot find the answer as they refuse to disclose the identity of the Bondholders of Anglo Irish Bank and other Bank Bondholders who have been handed money by our Tax Payers. Our Government has, and is paying back every cent due to these same anonymous bondholders. The Citizen on the other hand, those that invested their redundancy or inheritances, if they were lucky enough to have the money in the first place, have taken huge loses in whatever Funds they were advised to invest in. No bailout for the Citizen, only those who claim Elite status.

The Citizen in Ireland now faces a life devoid of hope. They face the serious prospect of their homes being repossessed by these same Banks and Financial Institutions who they have in fact bailed out. My point is that Billionaires small change would rescue Ireland. But our Government prefers to be the Good Boy in the Euro Class and instead bleed their citizens dry. I’m sure that Billionaires have reaped the rewards from their Bonds, many of which were purchased, I’m told, at a great markdown. I’m sure they were laughing at the incompetent Irish all the way to their banks.

We’re told we are in a recession. I’m not an economist but have listened carefully to our Economists over the past number of years. Their diverse opinions are at times illuminating but it seems most just base their opinions and comments on what is in the media at any given time.  Some, who I believe should know better give us little hope and just side with Government strategy in advising more austerity and pain for Citizens who already have been cut to the bone. It seems they reside in a parallel universe where people count for little or nothing and all that is important is the survival of the multinational conglomerates and their bankers. Tune in to Vincent Browne’s Show Monday to Thursday at 11pm on TV3 and listen to their endless diatribe. To be fair to Vincent he does tend to show them up for what they are and in an entertaining fashion.

Historically, Irish People have trusted their politicians and for that matter, their local friendly bank manager. If advised to purchase a home they will follow the advice, take whatever mortgage is offered and complete the purchase. They are fed media hype concerning what they should buy and most if not all media handed out advise on a weekly basis with glossy inserts in the daily papers. People are trusting and believe what they are told. Naive many would say, but I for one have seen what motivates people. As a solicitor in practise for over thirty years, I see the ‘little guy’ spending his/her hard-earned cash in ways that they are ‘urged’ to do by their ‘leaders’, whether politicians, bank managers, investment brokers, Thursday’s Irish Independent Property Supplement, Friday’s Irish Times Property Supplement or indeed the Sunday Papers with their advice regarding the queues outside housing developments to get a bargain. People cannot be expected to discriminate against such pressure from those they have come to trust. Their Friday Irish Times has in fact become the ‘Bible’ for such people. Can we honestly blame people for being taken in by such propaganda? The media, our politicians etc. were forcing an agenda. Those behind the newspapers, advisers and yes sadly, our politicians were making a fortune for themselves, I believe, on the back of the citizen. The money our people spent ended up in already rich coffers.

Now politicians change their mind and continue our previous  Government’s austerity measures. People threw out Fianna Fail as they believed them corrupt and voted for change.  Now they feel betrayed by those they trusted, again naively some might say, who now claim their hands are tied by previous the Government. So while politicians change their minds and continue to trade cheap shots with one another, the Citizen is driven to bankruptcy, lose their family homes and family silver and are told its their own fault. ‘We partied during the Celtic Tiger’ we have been told. No we didn’t. Yes, most did their part as they were told and spent money on property, if the funds were handed to them. To say people partied is an insult. The Citizen is now driven to despair and sadly many lives have been lost due primarily to the helpless situation they find themselves in. Families have been broken up, many, too many suicides have occurred and yet the Government ignores their pleas for help.

Yesterday we saw our leaders Enda Kenny, Fine Gael and Eamonn Gilmore, Labour Party  ‘glorify’ in the success of the first two years of their Government. They told us that we are doing well. The reality is somewhat different on the streets where the level of poverty has arisen to greater heights than ever before in my lifetime. This without the upcoming property tax, water metering and whatever other schemes they dream up to fleece the citizen. Remember all those that bought their homes paid an enormous amount of Stamp Duty and to ask them to now pay Property Tax is an absolute travesty of justice. Those ‘economists’ who favour this charge citing other countries property taxes, simply ignore this injustice. Shame on them ! There seems a major disconnect from what politicians are saying and what the reality is. While citizens are awakening in a new era of poverty and austerity, corporations, who are not even pursued for the meagre corporation tax, continue to prosper. Who are the Government working for? The citizen or the multinationals who continue to prosper?

Are we in a recession or is it the implementation of all those Euro Treaties that we were told would bring jobs, prosperity etc. The United States of Europe, which no Irish Citizen ever voted openly for, but is the culmination of said Treaties, is now a reality and its imposition is being forced upon us. Be careful for what you wish for as all those Yes to Europe Votes have indeed come back to haunt us. We Irish are now a small poor Statelet within a huge capitalist entity. How did we ever think we’d be a player enjoying equality and fraternity with the likes of Germany? That is what we were sold by our politicians and we believed them. Recently on RTE Pat Rabbitte, a prominent member of the Labour Party said that you say some things before elections. He was justifying a change of mind when parties take power…

Video: Pat Rabbitte admits to breaking election promises http://www.joe.ie/news-politics/current-affairs/video-pat-rabbitte-admits-to-breaking-election-promises-0031538-1 … via @JOEdotie …And We continue to believe them..

Enda Kenny changed his mind on taxing the family home. I tweeted on this…Tom Baldwin@LegalEagleStar

‘It is morally wrong. unjust+unfair to tax a person’s home.’ EndaKenny 1994.’Don’t ever trust a politician.’ Me, 2013 pic.twitter.com/0P05G6vxY1

When I was in College we were taught about Capitalism, that you were ‘Never too big to fail’ What utter nonsense. Whosoever controls the capital calls the tune. Billionaires who continue to prosper, their bankers and suchlike, many under the guise of Anglo Irish bank Bondholders control this new United States of Europe. I wonder as to where the old Nazis are now because Hitler has indeed realised his ultimate goal of a United States of Europe under German control and with an ‘Elite’  firmly in charge of our destiny. Whatever will the German people think when they discover what is really happening to the Irish Citizen?

LegalEagleStar , Thursday , 7th. March , 2013.

Why become a Lawyer…sure aren’t they only money grabbing Scum !

with one comment


Perry Mason (TV series)

Perry Mason (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David E. Kelley

David E. Kelley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a teenager, I was an enthusiastic fan of Perry Mason. I was blown away by his expertise. That man could save people accused and looking guilty. Of course they were innocent but it was only his expertise that exposed the truth. What a Guy. It would appear that Perry was an inspiration for a generation of lawyers. Later ‘idols’ included Ally McBeal, the lawyers at LA Law and more recently Denny Crane and Alan Shore, not to mention Shirley Schmidt, all at Boston Legal. What all of these idols represented was a pursuit of justice for their clients both rich and poor.

During my College years in the mid to late 1970’s, I encountered a very diverse set of fellow students. There was the middle-aged teacher who felt that ‘it was time for a change’. He was a very genuine guy and told all that would listen to him, that his days teaching had come to an end and that he needed a new challenge. There was the Canadian businessman who wanted to come back to Ireland and felt that he wanted to pursue a career in law. My friend Anna was about my age, late teens, and had always wanted to be a solicitor. She came from a wealthy background but was a good person who wanted to do some good. Phyllis was a law clerk and had developed an interest in law and felt it was the natural progression, career-wise, to go to College in order to step up the ladder so to speak. Ann, who had numerous degrees already felt it was time, yet again, to go back and this time get a law degree to add to the numerous degrees she already possessed. She took us all under her belt and gave us the guidance we really needed. There was another Anne who was the daughter of a wealthy banker. She was really mature compared to me. She had her career planned out. Daddy had arranged this. She had brains to burn unlike me who felt somewhat overawed in such company. I must say they were a great support and source of encouragement to be during those years. While I was wildly idealistic, I was getting a real education in life itself. We were a diverse group but the one thing that we all had in common was our enthusiasm for the law. Many a debate, some heated, we engaged in and it was where I encountered politics or should I say Political Parties and the hold and influence they had on people. I saw that it was not only what you know but who you knew that seemed to determine your future.

It was during my second year that I got involved with FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres). I didn’t apply to join them but was so fascinated with a young enthusiastic female barrister,now a Senior Counsel, who literally threw me into the deep end, that I encountered a vast number of people who The System had ignored and needed our help. It was no time before I was in charge of FLAC in Ballymun and had to deal with numerous social based problems and in particular Family Law. What a fantastic group of people I was privileged to meet. They gave of their time and energy to give advice and indeed appear in Court representing people who could not afford to go into a Solicitor for advice. I must mention here that some firms gave of their time and expertise to help us and for that we were so very grateful. Without their help and letting us use their names to front our Court appearances, we would not have had access to the Court system to protect the rights of the most vulnerable and dismissed in our society.

Well, the results were out. We all passed our exams, Thank God. I think my late father’s prayers had more to do with my success than the many hours spent trying to come to grips with the niceties of the law. We all headed our separate ways and ended up in one job or another. Personally I had a workload what with my involvement in FLAC. This followed me into practice as you just couldn’t hand it over to someone in the hope that they would look after the client. These many clients had become personal to me. I set up practice from my father’s house and with the support of my family I commenced to practice. The rest is history. I was lucky in that I was busy from the start. Apart from the numerous Free cases I did, I got work locally and over the first few years I was able to make a living. Most of my Classmates joined established firms and most stayed the course and are still practicing today.

Was making money a motivation? It certainly was for some but I must say the interest in law was the major factor. For most of us making a living was the important factor as this gave us the energy and enthusiasm to pursue issues through the Courts that would make a difference to people’s lives. It was not glamorous standing outside the Family Law Courts attempting to settle cases. The deserted wife with four children attempting to live on £25 a week was not uncommon. The husband who deserted them claiming he wasn’t working, had no money, when the opposite was the case. Those were hard and tough times for these women and they relied on us to give them the chance to survive. While Ann and one or two others may have gone into banking, most of the rest of us dealt with the ordinary citizen and to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

LegalEagleStar , Wednesday , 23rd. January , 2013 .

Written by LegalEagleStar

January 23, 2013 at 9:43 pm

End of Days… and Remembering the Poor at Christmas, it just might be You !

with 4 comments


Homeless

Homeless (Photo credit: fotografar)

According to the Mayan Calendar, tomorrow marks the end of the world. Living in Ireland today we might think that the end of the world, as we know it, is indeed nigh. So, if you are reading this next Saturday, the prophesy is obviously wrong but you never know. Stranger things have happened as my Uncle Bernie used to say.

For many years now I have had the privilege, as a solicitor, to act for some of those we refer to as the poor. I do not make such a reference in any disparaging way but mention it now as it appears to be more meaningful at this time of year and in the Ireland of Christmas 2012.  Scripture mentions that the poor will always be with us, but today, more than anytime I can remember, the poor are very close to us. Yes, those living in this depressing country called Ireland. It was not always so. I love my country and condemn those that have abused it for their own selfish needs.

Poverty can be of many varieties. The obvious being those on low and middle incomes who have found it desperately hard to pay their household bills; to feed their children and indeed put clothes on their backs. If it wasn’t for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, The Simon Community and other such charities, many would have lost their homes and literally be on the side of the road. Those that have, will and should dig deep into their pockets in order to help their fellow-man survive this tough winter. We live in unprecedented times when our Government has literally turned their backs on the Irish Citizens in pursuit of a greater European vision of a New Beginning. Unfortunately that vision does not cater for, nor improve the lot of the working man. It is a Europe where Big Business will thrive at the expense of the ordinary citizen.

There is another type of poverty rampant in Ireland today that crosses all class barriers, if indeed you do believe in the class system, which I do not. This is the issue of the mental health of the nation. While you may be lucky enough to be able to pay your bills this winter, you may well be suffering mental illness brought on, in many cases by the disastrous state of the country. Those that brought about this economic decline and indeed those that continue the austerity policies which are drowning the citizens in debt, have a lot to answer for. The number of suicides is unacceptable but seem to be the inevitable consequences of austerity and the policies being imposed by those Elites who continue to pursue their own selfish agenda to the detriment of the citizen. Shame on them and their fellow travellers.

May I wish everyone a Happy and Holy Christmas but ask that you remember those less well off than yourself especially at this time of year. Be as generous as you can and remember to spend time with people. Many times it is the time spent with our fellow-man that brings about the most benefits. If the Mayans have got it right, then maybe our suffering poor can be spared the indignity of yet another harsh winter of discontent.

LegalEagleStar , Thursday 20th. December , 2012.

Referendum in Ireland, 31st.May 2012, the End of the Journey

with 3 comments


English: James Larkin Statue and The Monument ...

English: James Larkin Statue and The Monument of Light The Monument of Light is 120m of stainless steel. The Larkin statue was erected in 1981. James Larkin was leader of the general strike in 1913. The building on the left is the General Post Office which was seized on Easter Monday, 1916 by members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a democracy, such as ours, we elect politicians for a term of years to look after the Rights of Citizens and to, as it were, ‘run’ the country in their best interests. That is the theory. The practice has been somewhat different, unfortunately. For years Fianna Fail were the champions of business and in particular, the construction industry. Over time, mainly due to corrupt practices, in my opinion, the interests of the citizen became somewhat overlooked. Fianna Fail became too close to the Bankers and the European Elites and began to strive to promote themselves to be rubbing shoulders with these people who were to become their Masters.

There were meetings, before meetings, if you get my drift and the power shifted to unelected Bankers and Businessmen whose sole concern was profit. The control of the Country was in effect handed over to these people with no regard whatsoever to the interests of the Irish Citizens. We became a land of would-be elites and the policies pursued by Government lost sight of what really mattered. The interests of the citizen took second place and so upon the advice of the Bankers and their fellow travellers decisions were made on another agenda altogether. Dishonestly so, in my opinion.

Fianna Fail were not alone in pursuing their agenda. Both Fine Gael and Labour played their part in this deception. So in effect, all parties in the Dail, who each made their policies clear come election time, had no intention of carrying out their promises once elected. When a Fine Gael/Labour coalition took power, the emphasis shifted in a small way to their own people who took over jobs previously held by Fianna Fail. The construction industry, while primarily Fianna Fail people, lost out to some degree. Fine Gael looked after their more rural supporters in the alternative. That is the way Ireland has been ruled for decades.

So, come the proposal to join in with Europe and the European Economic Community, all of the parties enthusiastically joined forces and urged the Irish Citizen to Vote Yes as it would be good for jobs, among other often repeated slogans. Ireland entered on its European journey and while some disagree, we have certainly developed as a nation to a degree of prosperity as a result. This is probably a good thing as when I was young, the abject poverty of some was shocking. A walk around Dublin’s inner city was an eye-opener. Today a walk around Dublin is a somewhat different experience. The horrible slums have been replaced by modern buildings which by and large, have improved the living conditions of the citizens. So our journey into Europe, encouraged by almost all of the political parties has not been such a bad experience. Yes, but at what cost? We joined an economic community based on open border trade. The citizen worked hard to bring about this change but as time has gone on, those that prospered were primarily the multinationals and the banks. Peoples lives were becoming controlled, not by themselves but by institutions whose agenda was solely based on profit. The trade unions, once a powerful force in looking after the rights and working conditions of their members, began to take up seats on the boards of companies. There was an age of new industrial relations. No longer had you the James Larkin types running the unions. They were a training ground for future politicians who slowly but surely positioned themselves into positions of power.

From an e economic union we have been steamrolled into the European Community. Sovereignty, while once a powerful emotive term is now a dirty word. We are, after Maastricht, on the slippery slope to what we didn’t vote for i.e. The United States of Europe. When did that happen? Well, over time the Irish Citizen have voted for a little change here, a little change there and now it is past the time to turn back. Still the three major political parties are singing from the same hymn sheet. Vote Yes for Jobs, is still their mantra. Yes, there is now a slight change in the makeup of the Dail. Independents and Sinn Fein have emerged onto the scene but as yet cannot exercise any real power in their arguments. Their time will be another day, somewhat into the future. By then it’ll be too late to undo the wrongs perpetrated on the citizens of Ireland by unscrupulous individuals, both elected but in the main unelected, who have imposed dreadful austerity on the citizen in pursuit of their own selfish agenda.

On Thursday the Citizen has the opportunity to Vote. That is their right. But is it just an exercise in democracy for the sake of it, or is it an opportunity to try to stop the runaway train which is delivering us to a destination that we know not where? The United States of Europe is upon us. It will be a brave man or woman who stands on the line to try to stop this train. Sadly, it appears we cannot stop this train regardless of where it’s true destination lies.

As I’ve stated in a previous Blog, I encourage all citizens to exercise their right to vote. Sadly it may be the only chance you have for some time as in the last General Election the citizen voted for change which has clearly been denied them. The present Fine Gael/Labour Coalition has continued to implement the same policies as Fianna Fail despite the citizens mainly anti-Fianna Fail Vote. I believe it was not a vote for Fine Gael and Labour but primarily anti-Fianna Fail , a point which seems to be lost on current Government politicians. The importance of steering us into the United States of Europe now takes on a greater urgency as to slow the process now would only allow the Irish Citizen to say No, enough is enough. Now, you couldn’t have the Citizen daring to change direction, could you? No, clearly that would be disastrous to the bankers whose interests we are now told, come first. Bail out the banks, not the citizens. That way you keep the citizen powerless in this New Europe. Irish citizens have lost their individual identity. They are now only citizens of a country called Europe.

LegalEagleStar , Tuesday , 29th. May , 2012

Drug Boss, Mr Big Wins out with The Bankers

with one comment


Satan as Antichrist

Satan as Antichrist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A lot has been spoken about the World in recession, the decline of the Euro and the Dollar and suchlike, but never is there mention of a major, long-established, economic currency, namely Drugs.  Yes, drugs money is believed to be the new number one currency and it is thriving as never before. Recently, I watched a documentary on the BBC about the shameful role of the British Government back at the time of the Opium Wars. There were two such wars between Britain and China regarding the question of trading rights in the early 1800s. The Chinese refused to allow the importation of opium into China by the British from India. China ceded Hong Kong, after the British victory in 1842. The British and French victory in the second war established free trade in Chinese ports and the legalization of the opium trade. I question whether today such bully boy tactics by the ‘super powers’ has in fact been continued all these years resulting in the absolute destruction of society as we once knew it. The flooding of poorer countries with dangerous drugs to destabilize the citizen and economy, enables ruthless Elites, under whatever guise, to control us all. The old saying ‘He who pays the Piper calls the Tune’ is as apt today as is was back then.

Some years back the drug barons just lodged the proceeds on their dealings in their local friendly bank. The bank managers were delighted as it pushed up their figures for head office and invariably, promotion followed. These were the days before CAB and money laundering legislation took hold. These measures put the minor dealers in jeopardy but their suppliers and Mr Big were isolated as their ‘legitimate businesses’ had no such difficulty in laundering their ‘dirty money’. The major bankers continue to reap huge profits today from this money while the minor banks, such as Bank of Ireland and AIB are now starved of the Billions which in effect kept them afloat in the recent past. Not only our domestic banks but their counterparts throughout the EU in particular, now starved of drug money, are going out of business.

Who is Mr Big ? Who are those referred to as Elites, that supposedly run the world? Is there really a connection between the Bankers and the Drug Lords? Is Mr Big really posing as a respectable businessman? Well recently we have been exposed by the Media to Lists of the Rich and Famous. Also, we have seen lists produced by major newspapers indicating people, unelected, who control the economy. Well, a cursory glance at these lists tells a lot. Can you spot Who’s Really Who ??

LegalEagleStar

San Antonio, Texas, Friday, May 4th. 2012

Written by LegalEagleStar

May 4, 2012 at 5:56 am

Shatter’s Legal Services Bill spells doom for the young Junior Bar and protects the Elites to the detriment of the Citizen.

leave a comment »


English: A barrister on a mobile phone outside...

Image via Wikipedia

I have spent some time investigating the effects of the proposed changes in legislation by Minister Shatter and discussed same with several members of the Irish Bar. It was only after speaking with a young junior barrister that I realised the full impact of what will in fact take place. The article that follows has been written by a young female barrister and gives an insider’s view of what the reality of the changes will mean in practice. It is clear to me that Alan Shatter certainly did not have the interests of the Irish Citizen at heart when he set about drafting his proposed reforms. While those that know me are well aware on my views on the Troika and their suspicious agenda, I feel that the implementation of the proposed reforms will undermine the practice of law in this country to the detriment of the citizen and should be opposed by all right thinking citizens before it is too late. Beware of the Elites and their hunger for power and control of the citizen. Don’t say you haven’t been warned !

The Legal Services Regulation Bill[1]

The Irish legal profession has always relied on the essential requirement of being a completely independent profession, the new Legal Services Bill completely undermines that notion. Indeed it would seem that it is Minister Shatter’s personal agenda which is at the core of this new bill. An agenda which undermines the core of the Irish Bar; independence. The Bill comes about as a requirement under the EU/IMF bailout and is said to be a necessity in the profession. While it is acceded that some reform in the area of legal services is both needed and welcomed, both by the Bar Council and indeed the Law Society, the Bill in its proposed form goes far beyond the proposals presented both by the Legal Costs Working Group and the Competition Authority as well as going completely beyond and even against international principles in regulating the legal profession.

The public are being wrongly informed that this Bill will reduce costs for the consumer when in fact, the opposite will occur. The ‘independent referral bar’ is an equal opportunity workplace, based in the law library where barristers are sole traders. If the idea of barristers forming partnerships with other barristers, solicitors, tax accountants etc come into place, the independent referral bar will be lost forever. As a Barrister in the early years of practice, the idea of barristers going into such partnerships is a frightening proposition. Many colleagues with years of experience and established practices will have people lining up to form partnerships with them but many young practitioners wont have such luck. Such partnerships would likely divide the legal profession even more in that the big firms would go into partnership with several established, highly ranked and busy practitioners and create a sort of monopoly, not dissimilar to the US financial sector, and look what happened there. Smaller firms would find themselves in significant difficulty trying to complete with such large firms and while the bar in its current form is accessible to all, the proposals make access to barristers and access therefore to justice more restricted.

The proposed changes would create a barrier for those people who wish to join the profession and indeed those younger practitioners wishing to stay and establish themselves within the profession. The UK have a system known as chambers. In the English Bar Council’s 2006 Report, only 17.5% of people graduating from the Bar would obtain a place in chambers. This stage is known as pupilage (similar to what is referred to as ‘deviling’ in this jurisdiction) so this system, if brought about here, would restrict access to the profession even further. It is difficult in the current economic climate to establish yourself as a self-employed person in any area of work, not least the bar. However, the current system, while it is competitive and challenging, what it provides is an equal opportunity for every person who has qualified, a chance to make it in the profession.

A chambers type system, like that which exists in the UK, would see several partnerships consisting of a select few barristers and which would in return be linked to the large firms and therefore increase costs rather than reduce them. Young barristers frequently take on cases on a pro bona basis for several reasons, experience, interest of justice etc but also to establish relationships with solicitors, an obvious essential in creating a practice and living for yourself at the bar. A young barrister, if lucky enough to even get in a chambers or partnership, would not be able to take on such work without the approval of a higher power. This cannot be said to increase access to justice and reduce costs. The barrister is restricted in taking on the work and the consumer cannot then afford to take the case.

While I see these changes from a young practitioners point of view, these partnerships would also cause serious problems for the consumer and access to justice from their point of view. Should they not be able to afford the sometimes inordinate fees which these larger firms charge, they in effect, cannot have access to some of the more established barristers or barristers who have an expertise in a certain area, as they will be in these partnerships. In the current system, whether you go to a large or small firm, if you request a particular barrister for whatever particular reason known to yourself, if they hold themselves out as an expert in a certain area, they must take on your case[2].

The Bill brings about new levies for practitioners, another cost which will impact the small firms and young barristers. The new structure will bring about a situation where barristers liability insurance will be more specific as opposed to general as it is in its current form. As a young barrister, you take work where you can get it and you pay a general insurance amount which covers all areas. The new proposals could change that and your premium could go up depending on your areas of practice and therefore you would have to turn down work, which could be a new area and therefore a new opportunity for you, because you haven’t got insurance to cover you in that specific area. No young barrister would ever or should ever have to turn down work.

A huge issue for the profession in general is that it will effectively be governed entirely by the Government or, more specific, the Minister for Justice, therefore removing the word independent from every area of the legal profession. The proposed Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) would be the regulatory body which would contain eleven members, seven of which would be entirely Government appointed. Only four from the Bar Council and Law Society. Practitioners would pay for this and the Government would run it. The LSRA would and must refer to the Minister at almost every point or hurdle.

The ‘separation of powers’ which is at the core of the Irish Constitution is in serious jeopardy. Justice must not just be done, but be seen to be done. The former Chief Justice Ronan Keane recently stated that regulators of the legal profession must not only be seen to be independent but be truly independent in every aspect, the Legal Services Regulation Bill completely “Shatters” that notion.


[1] Reference is made to the Article “The Legal Services Regulation Bill”, Shelley Horan BL. The Bar Review, Volume 17, Issue 1, February 2012.

[2] This is known as the ‘cab-rank rule’

LegalEagleStar , Friday , 16th. March , 2012.

%d bloggers like this: