Ink and the law

The Smithwick tribunal will not provide overnight transcripts to lawyers because it will cost too much, tribunal chairman Peter Smithwick ruled today.

Last month, 200 Words reported Smithwick’s decision not to publish daily transcripts, and the protests that followed from several legal teams.

Today, having considered their arguments, Smithwick confirmed his earlier decision.

He said the lawyers had argued they could not always attend every sitting of the tribunal, and therefore needed the daily transcripts to defend their clientss’ interests.

But he dismissed the argument, saying it was up to lawyers who were granted the right to represent their clients to show up and listen to the evidence each day.

The chairman said the quote for overnight transcript printing came to over €3000, and with six legal teams asking for copies, that gave a total of €18,000 per day. Adding in copies for other legal teams, the costs would quickly mount up, he added.

To date, the tribunal has cost taxpayers over €6 million.

Afterwards, journalists doubled checked their notes to confirm they’d heard the chairman correctly. Three grand to run off one hundred pages on a photocopier and bind them?

Nice work if you can get it.


By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.