A former solicitor continued to be involved in running his private firm three years after being appointed to the bench, one of his former employees will allege at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
However, solicitors for the firm said the judge left four years before the constructive dismissal allegation against the company arose. The judge, the hearing was told, “has nothing to do with this”.
The judge, who cannot be named by order of the WRC, will be notified in writing of the allegation before the solicitor’s hearing can go ahead. At a brief hearing on Friday, the solicitor’s representative Jason Murray BL said he wanted the WRC chairman to subpoena the judge.
Mr Murray later asked for the subpoena application to be adjourned, saying that he would write to the judge setting out the allegation against him and inviting him to come to a hearing in April.
Before asking for the adjournment, Mr Murray told the WRC chairman Breiffni O’Neill that his side said the judge was involved in running the practice three years after being appointed to the District Court bench.
Mr Murray said text messages received by his client highlighted “abundantly clear instances of him being involved in the practice” after his appointment.
It is unbelievable that a solicitor, an officer of the High Court with the highest levels of responsibility and probity, would take from her employer documents of a very private nature
Tom Mallon BL, for the firm formerly run by the judge, said the complainant is in possession of confidential documents relating to her former employer, including copies of cheques, at least one of which contains the name of a client.
“It is unbelievable that a solicitor, an officer of the High Court with the highest levels of responsibility and probity, would take from her employer documents of a very private nature,” he said.
He asked the complainant to produce an affidavit setting out precisely what documents she has that belong to her former employer’s firm, why she has them and where they are.
He said any such documents were removed without his client’s authority.
Mr Mallon also said the constructive dismissal allegation arises from events four years after the judge left the firm. The judge, counsel said, “has nothing to do with this”.
He said he would have expected that the complainant’s side would write to the judge, asking him if he wanted to come voluntarily before applying for a subpoena.
Mr O’Neill agreed to adjourn the hearing, to allow the complainant’s legal team to write to the judge setting out the allegation that will be made during the hearing of the unfair dismissal case.