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expert colleague on the ‘other side’. I knew full well that, if one did not ‘perform’ well on the day, this would soon be known amongst my legal clientele. Upon arriving, I was soon informed, by my instructing solicitor, a compromise settlement had been reached between the two QCs, and that my further attendance was unnecessary. However, my relief was short lived, as I then pondered how much I should charge for having to do very little. Having to travel 30 miles to the court and read over my report and notes, I sent an invoice for half a day’s effort; a little ‘over the top’, but not unreasonable. A fortnight later I had an unexpected telephone call from my instructing solicitor who, in an annoyed tone, said he was very concerned over my fee for attending court. This resulted in my taking a deep breath and just about managing to blurt out – “Uh, what is the problem?” His not so gentle reply was: “With the greatest respect – after which, from


He then mentioned there was a ‘problem’ in that the other experts on ‘our side’ had all charged around the larger amount

past experience, I knew a knife-twisting broadside would be close behind – you have not, and I repeat not, charged enough for attending court.” He added that I failed to charge for a short-notice cancellation fee (the case was listed for two days). After taking another deep, but longer, breath while remembering that my bank balance was rapidly approaching the red, I very hesitatingly queried what I should have charged, to which he immediately responded with a multiple of two and a half

times my original figure. He then mentioned there was a ‘problem’ in that the other experts on ‘our side’ had all charged around the larger amount he just quoted. Also, if my fee was not revised upwards, then the opposing solicitors would question why those experts should receive much more than me and insist on reducing their client’s costs substantially, thereby resulting in a special hearing on the professional fees in question. I thought it best to accept his ‘advice’ to avoid ‘rocking the boat’, bearing in mind all the times I was, and would continue to be, out of pocket because of late payments from honourable practitioners of the law. I had to keep reminding myself about all the fringe benefits, like being able to claim tax relief for an office at home, as well as for so many other other necessary expenses involved in carrying out a private practice in the interests of British justice which, it goes without saying, is known the world over as the best there is. CCR


March 2017

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