| Click for the Finfacts Ireland Portal Homepage |

Finfacts Business News Centre

 Irish Economy
 EU Economy
 US Economy
 UK Economy
 Global Economy
 Asia Economy


How to use our RSS feed

Follow Finfacts on Twitter

Web Finfacts

See Search Box lower down this column for searches of Finfacts news pages. Where there may be the odd special character missing from an older page, it's a problem that developed when Interactive Tools upgraded to a new content management system.


Finfacts is Ireland's leading business information site and you are in its business news section.


Finfacts Homepage

Irish Share Prices

Euribor Daily Rates

Irish Economy

Global Income Per Capita

Global Cost of Living

Irish Tax - Income/Corporate

Global News

Bloomberg News

CNN Money

Cnet Tech News


Irish Independent

Irish Times

Irish Examiner

New York Times

Financial Times

Technology News




Content Management by interactivetools.com.

News : Irish Last Updated: Mar 22, 2011 - 6:11 AM

Commercial litigation in Ireland on €200,000 claim double cost in Europe; Average Irish court case takes 515 days
By Finfacts Team
Mar 21, 2011 - 4:28 AM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

Commercial litigation in Ireland carries a heavy burden of cost relative to other jurisdictions  -- an average of €53,800 (27%) on a €200,000 claim compared to €25,337 (13%) in the rest of Europe. Besides cost, the average Irish court case takes 515 days to resolve.

The new coalition government, public sector and private sector companies in Ireland could save in excess of €1bn per annum in legal costs if they follow EU and Irish Law Reform Commission recommendations and engage in mediation for dispute resolution before pursuing cases through the courts, according to the Irish Commercial Mediation Association (ICMA).

Delegates at the bi-annual ICMA conference, which will take place in Dublin on Friday (March 25), will learn that the average cost of bringing a dispute to resolution through the process of mediation costs an average of €7,000 (3.5%) on a €200,000 claim.

On Feb 01 last, the day the 30th Dáil was dissolved, the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee published a report which shows that public bodies are the largest procurers of legal services in the State with an estimated spend of anything up to €500m.

The Committee said it heard evidence to suggest that the cost of legal services in Ireland is amongst the highest in the developed world and it has been suggested that the State itself is one of the primary drivers of high legal costs.

Overall, the report stated that the likely cost to the State of three public tribunals based on the pattern of costs experienced to date is estimated to be in the range of €336m to €366m.

The Committee also reported that five of the barristers working for the Mahon (Planning) and Moriarty tribunals earned in excess of €5m, with two of them earning almost €10m.

The Committee referred to "three senior counsel at the Moriarty Tribunal being paid €2,500 a day for an extraordinary 304 days in 2008. The Moriarty Tribunal sat in public session for an average of 20 days in each of the past three years. The report advised that there were no specific attendance records for the legal teams maintained at the Morris and Mahon Tribunals. The Moriarty Tribunal records attendance of tribunal legal team members but does not take account of arrival and departure times."

The Committee "was exercised to learn that at the Moriarty Tribunal, an extra €1m has been paid to counsel because of an error in the Department of the Taoiseach, where counsel have been paid a per diem rate of €2,500 instead of €2,250 and where the matter was allowed continue without rectification."


Jerry Healy SC €9,490,181

John Coughlan SC €9,285,628

Jacqueline O’Brien SC €6,707,917


Desmond O’Neill SC €5,279,311

Patricia Dillon SC €5,591,889

Patrick Quinn SC €4,975,377

PAC - Third Interim Report on the Procurement of Legal Services by Public Bodies - January 2011 (pdf)

This surely encapsulates the failure of Irish governance and the system that allows lawyers as public contractors to become multimillionaires in a small country, while in some cases investigating bribes lower than they themselves are getting paid per day.

In addition to the legal costs involved in court cases, CIMA says there is enormous business interruption, time wastage and stress involved by the protracted nature of litigation cases. The average case in Ireland takes 515 days to resolve though the courts, whereas the figures show that cases that opted for mediation were resolved in an average of 40 days.

Following the McCarthy Report findings in 2009 of massive waste relating to litigation spending and the 2010 Law Reform Commission’s recommendation that Government Departments and State bodies be required to consider and attempt mediation or conciliation in appropriate cases before initiating court proceedings, the Irish Commercial Mediation Association welcomes the commitment in the Programme for Government to address legal costs: “We will encourage and facilitate use of mediation to resolve commercial, civil and family disputes in order to speed up resolution of disputes, reduce legal costs and ameliorate the stress of contested court proceedings” (page 51 Government for National Recovery 2011-2016 pdf).

“The onus is now on government to take immediate action to reduce spending in this area and also on law firms to advise clients on alternatives to costly court actions” said ICMA chairperson, Austin Kenny as he calls for government, businesses and law firms to become more ‘dispute-wise’. He says: “The culture in Ireland is still to run to the courts to resolve disputes. The key benefits mediation brings to businesses are that it saves money (by substantially reducing legal costs), saves time (by allowing parties to settle within weeks rather than years) and it can also preserve valuable business relationships which can be ruined by going through the court system”.

CIMA says research conducted in France* and the EU** shows that although the success rate of cases mediated is 75%, use of mediation across Europe is still extremely low at 0.5% of all commercial cases, showing there is huge potential to improve business practice in this area.

Data revealed from surveys in the EU show that litigation costs are a major barrier to companies doing business in Europe. In fact it was revealed that 50% of companies across Europe say that they do not do cross border business because of the litigation implications when a deal goes wrong.  Most companies say that a cross border claim under €50,000 is not worth pursuing. 

CIMA saya as a country seeking to trade out of its present economic recession through export growth, Ireland should take the opportunity to address the barriers to cross boarder trading.   There is an EU Directive on Mediation that the member states must adopt by May 2011. This Directive calls for mediation to be treated as a matter of public interest by the Governments of all EU member states.

In relation to the nature of disputes appropriate for mediation, Kenny says: “There are a vast number of disputes which are ideal for this type of resolution. For example, disputes arising between businesses and their customers, manufacturers, suppliers, banks, insurers or employees. Mediation has been used in Ireland to help families in business disputes deal with difficult issues of succession and to address division of assets. It has helped settle claims between landlords and tenants and resolve boundary disputes over adjoining properties. It has also been used to settle massively complex cases effecting large numbers of parties and involving difficult personal and technical issues. A prime example is the recent Pyrites case that was resolved through mediation, having spent 150 days in court, Justice Paul Gilligan noted that this was “one of the longest running and probably the most expensive, from the point of view of litigation costs, in the history of the state”.

The ICMA Conference, which will explore the theme of what mediation means for business and business people, takes place on Friday 25th March at D4 Berkeley Hotel. Registration is at 8am.

The Conference will include presentations from business owners and managers, including John Bowen, CEO and chairman, Bowen Construction, Fiona Mullen, Human Resource Director, Microsoft Ireland, and Viv Styles, Intel Regional Sourcing Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, who will talk about their personal experience of mediation and will honestly assess what they see as the commercial benefits of mediation when compared with other methods of dispute resolution.  Other speakers include:

  • Austin Kenny, Business Consultant and Mediator

  • David Nolan, Senior Counsel and Mediator

  • Donal Courtney, Retired International Rugby Referee

 Bookings can be made by emailing admin@icma.ie

*Survey in 2009 by French Law Firm FIDAL and the American Arbitration Association (AAA) of 75 French Companies in order to study their conflict management practices.

** Survey undertaken by ADR Centre (member of JAMS International), EU Association of SME’s and EU Association of Company Lawyers

Related Articles
Related Articles

© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

Top of Page

Latest Headlines
Ryanair revises up full-year profit guidance
AIB bank profitable in third quarter
Ryanair announces half-year profits up 32% to €795m
Ryanair benefits from improved customer service
Ryanair to buy 100 new Boeing 737 MAX 200
Finfacts server migration Thursday
State-owned Allied Irish Banks reports H1 2014 profit as bad loan charges plunge
Ryanair reports profit in its financial first quarter soared 152%
UK firm opens van dealership in Dublin
Ryanair reports 8% fall in full-year profit; US services to commence in 2019
Global Financial Centres Index: New York overtakes London; Dublin slips to 66 of 83 cities
Bank of Ireland reports “significant” improvement in 2013 results
Sale process of IBRC UK projects Rock and Salt completed
CRH says 2014 will be year of profit growth after reporting 2013 loss
Ryanair reports third-quarter loss
Irish Water says it saved €100m in setup costs
RSA Insurance fires two Irish executives for large loss/ accounting irregularities
Bank of Ireland will have to raise provisions by €1.4bn; AIB says it's "well capitalised"
CRH reports slightly improved third quarter
Central Bank says ownership of Newbridge Credit Union transferred to permanent tsb
Ryanair reports H1 profits rose by 1% to €602m
Dublin Web Summit: Irish Stock Exchange and NASDAQ OMX announce dual listing plan
Irish pension managed funds returned to growth during September
Dan O’Brien resigns as economics editor of The Irish Times
Central Bank says no action required on Anglo tapes revelations
Ryanair flew 9m passengers and Aer Lingus carried 1.1m in August
UK Competition Commission says Ryanair must cut Aer Lingus stake to 5%
CRH reports H1 2013 revenue dip and loss
Vodafone refunded UK after discovery of Irish tax haven deal
RBS reports half year profit; Ulster Bank posts reduced loss
Bank of Ireland cuts pretax losses in HI 2013 to €504m
Irish State-owned Allied Irish Banks reports losses of €758m in H1 2013
Service Announcement
Irish managed pension funds declined in June
VHI reports 2012 surplus of €54.3m; Health insurance made loss
Ex- Elan director says management / board "not competent to run a business"
Aer Lingus to put €140m in employees pensions fund; Ryanair apoplectic
Wednesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - May 22, 2013
Tuesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - May 21, 2013
Ryanair, Europe’s biggest low cost carrier, announced Monday record annual profits of €569m - - up 13%