Monday, June 14, 2010

Recovering excess payments from pensioners: What about the lawyers?

I had blogged previously (see exhibit no. 2 in that post) about an article in the Independent about two lawyers for the state refusing to return money paid to them in error. The state agency did not try too hard to get the money (eur. 1 million) back. Now comes news in the same paper about the state trying to recover money paid in error to pensioners.

While there cannot be any argument about the desirability of recouping over-payments, is there a double standard at work here? In the pensioners' case the individual sums are likely to be very small whereas in the lawyers' case it was significant, still the state is willing to chase after the pensioners after making very little effort to go after the lawyers. Moreover, the two lawyers had been paid over eur. 8.5 million each for their work on that matter. I hesitate to draw adverse conclusions but it does not look pretty.