Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (292)

Denis Naughten

Question:

292. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the fees paid to a solicitor representing a client in a criminal matter before the District, Circuit and High Court in circumstances in which the client cannot afford to be represented from their own resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53363/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962 provides that free legal aid may be granted, in certain circumstances, for the defence of persons of insufficient means in criminal proceedings. Under the Act, the granting of legal aid entitles the applicant to the services of a solicitor and, in certain circumstances, up to two counsel, in the preparation and conduct of their defence or appeal. Under the 1962 Act, the granting of aid is a matter for the courts.

The rates of fees payable to solicitors for attendance in the District Court, and for appeals to the Circuit Court with effect from 13 July 2011, are set out in Statutory Instrument No. 362 of 2011. €201.50 is paid for the first appearance in court by the solicitor and €50.39 is paid for any subsequent court appearances.

Further, Statutory Instrument No. 234 of 1976 provides that fees paid to counsel acting in the Circuit and higher courts for defendants who have been granted free legal aid are paid on a parity basis with the fees payable to prosecution counsel as set by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The fees paid to solicitors for the defendant are related to those paid to junior counsel as provided for by Statutory Instrument No. 33 of 1978.  Details of the main fees payable in the Circuit Court and the Central Criminal Court, with effect from 1 October 2011, are set out in the following table. 

I understand that there are a small number of cases that are not suitable for hearing before normal jury courts.  The Special Criminal Court deals with these cases and fees are set by the DPP on a case-by-case basis.

Similarly, fees in respect of applications for Cases Stated for the opinion of the High Court and the Supreme Court are set by the DPP on a case-by-case basis.

Solicitor 

Court

Brief 

 Refresher

 Sentence

 Adjourned Sentence

Circuit Court

€1,144

€418

€180

€90 

Central Criminal Court (Murder)

€7,127

€750

€180

€90

Central Criminal Court (Rape)

€3,803

€760

€180

€90

 Junior Counsel 

Court

Brief 

 Refresher

 Sentence

 Adjourned Sentence

Circuit Court

€1,144

€572

€247 

€124

Central Criminal Court (Murder)

€4,752

€1,041

€247 

€124

Central Criminal Court (Rape)

€3,803

€1,041

€247 

€124

 Senior Counsel  

Court

Brief 

 Refresher

 Sentence

 Adjourned Sentence

Circuit Court

 €1,716

€858

€370

€185

Central Criminal Court (Murder)

 €7,127

€1,562 

€370

€185

Central Criminal Court (Rape)

 €5,704

€1,562 

€370

€185