Carter (solicitor/respondent) v Shannon (applicant/respondet)

JudgeKearns P.
Judgment Date22 February 2010
Neutral Citation[2010] IEHC 42
CourtHigh Court
Docket Number[No: 109SA/2009]
Date22 February 2010

[2010] IEHC 42


[No: 109SA/2009]
Carter v Shannon






FAY v TEGRAL PIPES LTD & ORS 2005 2 IR 261 2005/25/5119 2005 IESC 34



Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal - Complaint dismissed - Allegation in relation to conduct of proceedings - Allegations regarding undue influence in making of a will - Allegations regarding collusion - Judgment secured by solicitor in relation to professional fees prior to complaint - General allegations of spurious nature - Jurisdiction of court - Fay v Tegral Pipes Ltd [2005] IESC 34 [2005] 2 IR 261 approved - Appeal dismissed (2009/109SA - Kearns P - 22/02/2010) [2010] IEHC 42

Carter v Shannon

Facts The appellant appealed against a finding of the Solicitor's Disciplinary Tribunal that there was no misconduct on the part of the respondent solicitor. The appellant raised a long list of complaints, including complaints that the respondent failed to engage senior counsel despite her instructions, failed to follow instructions, that the respondent's fees were grossly exaggerated and did not reflect the level of work properly done and the respondent negligently instituted proceedings on her behalf under s. 117 of the Succession Act in circumstances where counsel had advised that those proceedings were not appropriate. The appellant also alleged that the respondent solicitor was in collusion with others to destroy her case for his own personal reasons. The respondent denied the allegations and alleged that in or around the time of his action against the appellant for payment of fees owed, the appellant threatened to cause him maximum financial and other hardship if he did not withdraw his claim. The respondent claimed that the appellant made the within complaint against him to the Law Society in an effort to avoid responsibility for the discharge of his fees.

Held by Kearns P. in dismissing the appeal and awarding costs against the appellant: That the appellant displayed a constant stream of unfounded suspicion towards the respondent solicitor in the conduct of these proceedings. Far from involving genuine allegations of misconduct, this appeal seemed to be motivated more by an unscrupulous desire on the part of the appellant to harass and oppress the respondent solicitor in circumstances where he was the successful party in earlier proceedings for fees against the appellant. The appellant's claim was wholly devoid of merit and was dismissed.

Reporter: L.O'S.

Kearns P.

This is an appeal against a finding of the Solicitor's Disciplinary Tribunal dated 25 November 2009 that there was no misconduct on the part of the respondent solicitor. In the course of the appeal proceedings, the Court has been presented with voluminous affidavit evidence which sets out the background facts and the issues between the parties. From her grounding affidavit, it appears that the appellant, described therein as a non-practising solicitor, farmer and substitute teacher, engaged the respondent for the purposes of obtaining legal advice in relation to the family farm of the appellant's mother, Ms. Hilda Shannon, deceased.


The appellant goes on to set out a long list of complaints against the respondent. First, she claims that the respondent solicitor failed to engage senior counsel, despite her instructions to the contrary, and that he led her to believe that he was acting on the advice of senior counsel at all material times. She claims she instructed the respondent to let her meet with junior counsel but that he disobeyed her instructions in that regard also. The appellant claims that she instructed the respondent solicitor to seek an injunction to keep her brother off the land and that this instruction, like the others, was ignored.


As a further example of alleged misconduct, the appellant claims that the respondent solicitor's fees were grossly exaggerated and did not reflect the level of work properly done. The appellant relies on a letter from counsel dated 12 February 1995 and states that had she been shown that letter, she would not have instructed the solicitor to proceed with the s.117 proceedings ultimately instituted as a challenge to her late mother's will. The appellant contends that the respondent solicitor disobeyed instructions and concealed valuable advices and information from her and her sister, Gwendoline Shannon, and that therefore the work in respect of which the fees were charged could not be said to have been properly done.


It is therefore a substantial part of the appellant's claim that the respondent solicitor negligently instituted proceedings on her behalf under s.117 of the Succession Act in circumstances where there was a letter on the file from counsel to the effect that s.117 proceedings were not appropriate. The appellant is of the view that the respondent solicitor deliberately...

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