Two solicitors, suspended by the High Court earlier this year for operating secret accounts to evade tax, are suing the HSE for more than €3m they claim they are owed in unpaid fees.

Colm Carroll and Henry Colley, who formerly practised as Roger Greene and Sons are seeking €3.27m for legal fees for work performed by the firm for the Northern Area and East Coast Area Health Boards between 2000 and 2002.

The work mostly relates to childcare cases.

Earlier this year, the High Court rejected the Law Society's application to strike off Mr Carroll and Mr Colley.

Both men had admitted to operating secret accounts to evade tax.

The accounts included a deposit account into which lodgements of at least €32m were made in a three year period.

The High Court decision not to strike them off is being appealed to the Supreme Court by the Law Society.

This morning, John Gordon SC for the two men applied to have their action against the HSE heard by the Commercial Court, which fast-tracks the hearing of business disputes.

However, Mr Justice Peter Kelly refused the application to admit the action to the commercial list on the grounds of delay.