The fall out from the recent case of Caroline McCann -v- Judge of Monaghan District Court whereby certain provisions of the enforcement of court orders acts have been declared to be unconstitutional and contrary to human rights conventions has prompted the Department of Justice to launch a trial scheme granting a limited form of legal aid (representation) to debtors who are facing the threat of jail for not having paid judgements outstanding against them. This is clearly a welcome development as it will give beleagueredcitizens access to legal representation in the face of attempts by debtors to jail them for non-payment of there debts. The fee paid to the solicitor will be €243.36 per case which is the equivalent of the standard legal aid brief fee in criminal cases. This fee is to be paid per case so it would appear where cases are adjourned the fee must cover all the work involved. This would appear to treat this type of client differently in that a person who has the benefit of criminal legal aid has representation to the conclusion of the case. Cases shouldn’t drag on but some times they do for a whole myriad of reasons.

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