BaileNuachtCartlann Aitheasc agus Preaseisiúintí

Government appoints new Taxing Master


13 December 2011

The Government, at its meeting today, has appointed Mr. Declan O'Neill to the post of Taxing Master following an open competition conducted by the Public Appointments Service. The Taxing Master provides an independent adjudication of legal costs in dispute. The majority of such adjudications determine the costs payable pursuant to court orders made in litigation. Other adjudications determine disputes that arise between lawyers and their own clients over legal costs and expenditure incurred.

The vacancy arises following the retirement of one of the two Taxing Masters, Mr. Charles Moran, in December 2010. Under section 3 of the Court Officers Act 1926, the appointment of a Taxing Master is made by the Government. For the first time in eighty five years, a competitive recruitment process in relation to the post of Taxing Master was conducted by the independent Public Appointments Service which advertised the post on 1 September 2011. A total of twenty one applications were received and, following a short-listing process, six candidates attended for interview. The Public Appointments Service provided a list of three candidates for the Government's consideration. Mr O'Neill was appointed to the position on the basis of his extensive professional experience in the highly technical area of legal costs accounting.

This appointment is on an interim basis pending the establishment of the Office of Legal Costs Adjudicator provided for in the recently published Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011. A number of changes were made earlier this year to the conditions attached to the post. Up to now only practicing solicitors could be appointed as Taxing Master. The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 expanded this to encompass barristers and legal cost accountants with ten years practice experience.




Notes to Editor
The Public Appointments Service is the independent body charged with fair and impartial recruitment, assessment and selection services for the Civil Service, local authorities, Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and other public bodies.


Qualification Required for Appointment
The statutory qualification requirements for a Taxing Master are set out in the Eighth Schedule to the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 as amended by the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011, which provides that:

"no person shall be appointed to be a Taxing Master unless at the time of his or her appointment that person-
(a) has practised as a solicitor for a period of not less than 10 years,
(b) has practised as a barrister for a period of not less than 10 years, or
(c) has practised as a legal costs accountant for a period of not less than 10 years."

Biographical Details - Mr. Declan O'Neill
Mr. O'Neill has over 40 years experience in practice. He is a partner in Cyril O'Neill, Legal Costs Accountants, since 1976 and also went on to graduate from University College Dublin (BCL) in 1992. He obtained a Diploma in Arbitration Law from University College Dublin in 1998.

Mr. O'Neill has considerable experience of advocacy in the Office of the Taxing Master. He has represented legal firms, commercial entities, the State and state agencies in the context of disputes relating to legal costs arising in both contentious and non contentious work.

An acknowledged expert in his field, Mr. O'Neill is the author of a leading text on costs in Ireland (costs chapter in the Law Society publication "Civil Litigation"). He is a founding member and Fellow of the Institute of Legal Costs Accountants and has contributed submissions to a range of initiatives and reforms in this area including the Competition Authority's Report (2005) and the Haran Group on Legal Costs (2005).

Government Press Office
01 619 4033