Solicitor pays singer €7k settlement over complaint

Singer Songwriter Johnny Duhan
Singer Songwriter Johnny Duhan

The former solicitor of singer Johnny Duhan has paid him an award made by the solicitors disciplinary tribunal despite initially refusing to pay it.

The tribunal had ordered Eddie McGarr to pay Mr Duhan €7,500 after ruling in Mr Duhan’s favour on a complaint of misconduct against the solicitor.

Yet, despite initially telling Mr Duhan the award would be held against costs owed, the Dublin-based lawyer posted Mr Duhan the cheque after inquiries were made to his office about the case by the Irish Examiner.

Mr Duhan says he is relieved the award has been paid but is still fearful the solicitor intends to pursue him for legal fees. “I’m glad he had the decency to pay me the award but he has indicated that the costs issue is going before a taxing master wh-ich implies he wants to come after me. He sent me a sheaf of documents to acquaint myself with the taxing master, which I hope isn’t designed to try to unhinge me. I’ve no intention of paying any costs after what I’ve been put through. I’d rather go to prison.”

Mr Duhan’s complaint centred on Mr McGarr’s failure to give him an exact bill of legal costs over a protracted period of seven years over an action against parties who failed to pay Mr Duhan royalties for the use of his song, ‘The Voyage’.

The matter came to a head in 2008, when Mr McGarr suggested a settlement could be entirely used up by his fees. In the course of the dispute Mr McGarr swore an affidavit claiming he had supplied Mr Duhan with a “Section 68” letter outlining the costs of the action, but he subsequently admitted that such a letter was never sent to his client.

The tribunal ruled that Mr McGarr’s initial claim that he had sent the letter had been crucial to the Law Society dismissing Mr Duhan’s complaint. Only after Mr Duhan took the unusual step of going to the tribunal and representing himself did the full story about the letter emerge.

A spokesman for the Law Society said it did not comment on individual cases. Mr Duhan has written to the society in recent weeks asking that it address the issues raised by the tribunal.

Messages left at Mr McGarr’s Dublin office have not received a response.


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