Legal Costs and Access to the “Majesty of the Law”

Every week I receive an updated record of Court judgments from the Courts Service. Many of the decisions are uneventful and unremarkable.

But two decisions caught my attention this week and both were concerned with legal costs.

The first case involved Dana Rosemary Scallon and the defamation against her and TV3 by a mother and daughter Susan Stein and Susan Gorrell. Susan Stein and Dana Rosemary Scallon are sisters.

Dana Rosemary Scallon was appealing a decision from the High Court which went against her in which she was seeking security for costs against Stein and Gorrell.

The Court of Appeal granted the appeal of Dana Rosemary Scallon and fixed security for costs in the sum of €150,000 to be apportioned between the respondents, Stein and Gorrell, equally.

Yes, €150,000.

Keep this figure in mind the next time you are considering commencing defamation proceedings for may be a hurtful, negative-but not defamatory-comment against you. (You can read the full decision of the Court of Appeal here).

The second decision I noted, and which also concerned legal costs, was a matrimonial case. The defendant in this case had engaged the services of a leading firm of solicitors to represent her in a matrimonial case.

At the conclusion the defendant had failed to pay the balance of legal fees outstanding to the solicitors and Mason Hayes and Curran sued. The solicitors were successful and were awarded €64,818.70. (Read the full decision here).

The cost of access to justice and the “Majesty of the Law” is not to be underestimated.