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The Ninth Report Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites Ireland

31/01/1810

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The Ninth Report Fees, Gratuities, Perquisites Ireland

Date of Article: 31/01/1810
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u /- Ireland;— Ninth REPORT or THE COMMISSIONERS [ Poft- for the Solicitor's conduct in this particular, but we csnnot conceive that they were intended to apply to fecurities of the defcription we have referred to, and indeed in fome inftances he feems to have been of this opinion himfelf, as he ad- mits the folvercy of fome individuals without making any fearches againft them, though no fufficient reafon appears for diftinguifhing them from others, whofe folvency was made the fubjed of fpecial enquiry; but if he entertained a doubt of the intentions of the Board of Treafury relative to fuch cafes, it was his duty to have reported to it the ftate of thofe particular fecurities, and to have waited for its diredions before he took any further proceedings refpeding them. Such we have no doubt would have been his condud had he been ading for a falary, but the emouhiments to be derived from tranfading this bufinefs, the amount of which may be fitted at about £. 700. were too confiderable to be fo relinquished. Of this fum the fees allowed him by the taxing Officer for the fearches made in the Law Courts alone, amount to £. 568. 12. 9.; and though the rate of charge for every fuch fearch may not be higher than is allowed in ordinary cafes, the number of them, by w hich the emoluments of the agent were fwelled to an amount fo greatly difproportioned to his trouble, ought furely to have been taken in con- sideration in forming an eftimate of the remuneration to be allowed to him. His quarterly bills of coft appear to be taxed by a Mr. Ricky, a Deputy Clerk of the Crown for the province of Leinfter, under the fuperintendance fince the year 1806 of Mr. Jofias Dunn, the Solicitor ta the Commiffioners of Accounts; but riotwithflanding this inveftigation, we do not find it has been fufficient to pro- ted the Public againft great extravagance in many of this Officer's charges. Thus he is allowed 3/. 4d. for every ffieet of the drafts, and as much for the fair copies of cafes to be laid before counfel, and of the copies of briefs on criminal profecutions. This rate of charge appears to be much too high, and the mode of making it by the ffieet extremely objedionable, as it obvioufly tends to induce the Solicitor to render both cafes and briefs much more voluminous than may be neceffary. In one inflance we find a fum of £. 26. 13. 4. charged for the copies of briefs on a criminal profecution, and out of feven fuch cafes, the loweft charge on that ac- count is £. 14. 3.4. and the average of them £. 19. When fent out of Dublin to condud trials in the country, or on any other Poft Office bufinefs, he charged until lately, for his travelling expences, the fum he alledged to be adually ex- pended therein. He appears alfo to have received on fuch occafions extra allow- ances, in addition to the fees ufually taxed for his perfonal attendance as an agent. In one quarter we find thefe extra- allowances amounted to £. 319. 17. 6. and his travelling expences to /. 130. 16. 3. the rate however of the former has been latterly fomewhat diminiffied, and the charges for perfonal attend- ance in addition thereto generally difallowed. It is unneceffary, we prefume, to enter into any further detail of the particulars of this Officer's bills of cofls, it being fufficiently obvious from what has been already ftated, how little the intercfts of the Public have been regarded either in making them up or in taxing them. A principal objed in the taxation of the bit's of cofts furnifhed by law agents, is to provide a fair remuneration for fervices performed; but it is in vain to exped this fundion to be difcharged with due impartiality by perfops who may be interefted in increafing the amount of the charges, the juft rate of which they are called upon to afcertain ; fuch we confider to be the fitua- tion of Mr. Dunn and Mr. Ricky, the former of whom is a pradifing Attorney, and ought not therefore, though of a moft refpedable profeffional charader, to be employed in the taxation of any bill of cofts; the latter might very properly be fo in cafes of criminal profecutions, if he aded as Drputy Clerk of the Crown only ; but as his principal is not only Clerk of the Crown for the province of Appendix, No. 45. Leinfter, but alfo Crown Solicitor for the Home Circuit, deriving his emoluments as fuch from charges allowed him in his bills of cofts ; and as Mj\ Ricky is ftated toad for him in both capacities, we deem him as incompetent to the difcharge of this duty as Mr. Dunn. But befides the undue influence that muft operate on the minds of fuch of the taxing Officers of the Law Courts, as are permitted diredly or indiredly to pradife as Solicitors, the competition that may exift be- tween them, each endeavouring by the liberality of the allowances he makes to agents in taxing their bills of cofts, to attrad bufinefs to himfelf, greatly enhances the difficulty of checking the profufion of expence attending the law proceed- ings of public departments. Under thefe circumftances, therefore, we are induced to recommend that the law agents of Public Offices ffiould be paid, as far as it is pradicable, by falaries and fixed allowances, trufting that the different Boards will, by vigilantly fuperintending their condud, enforce a faithful and attentive dif- 4 charge
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