Belfast Telegraph

Judge cuts Quinn fees by 20%

A High Court judge in Dublin has knocked 20% off Grant Thornton's latest multi-million euro bill for dealing with Quinn Insurance, saying that the work should have become less onerous as the administration dragged on.

The reduction came as Judge Nicholas Kearns approved contractually-agreed fees to merchant bank Macquarie for handling the insurer's sale, as well as legal fees related to the case.

Grant Thornton executives Michael McAteer and Paul McCann took over the day-to-day running of Quinn Insurance in April 2010 after the Central Bank successfully had the insurer put into administration.

The terms of their appointment mean their fees must be regularly approved by the High Court. Last Thursday they asked the court for €2.75m (£2.3m) plus expenses to cover the period from August 1 to November 30 2011.

Mr Kearns said that he was applying the 20% reduction for a number of reasons including the fact that the "difficult and completely unprecedented" situation that existed at Quinn Insurance when the joint administrators were appointed no longer prevailed.

Judge Kearns said that he was also taking into account other factors including the sharp downturn in Ireland's economic situation since the joint administrator's appointment and that in cases before the Commercial Court, judges had cut administrative fees sought by professionals.

The fees to Macquarie had previously been described as "substantial" but were not disclosed in court because of their commercially sensitivity.