For those claimant lawyers who submit reasonable claims for legal costs (God bless both of you) I am sure that it is often hard to understand the apparently irrational rants from defendants about excessive claims for costs. Some will also struggle to understand why Lord Justice Jackson, after extensive investigations, concluded that there was something seriously wrong.
I will therefore give you a small example of the kind of thing that some of us see on a daily basis.
A document schedule to a bill of costs contained the following two entries:
1/10/2010 – Attending the file and applicable information and preparing Schedule of Loss – 24 minutes
18/11/10 – Incorporating additional material into Claimant’s Schedule of Loss and updating the same – 24 minutes
At this point you may think: what’s the big deal? A total of 48 minutes for preparing a schedule of loss is hardly anything to get excited about.
The fee earner was claiming £192 per hour plus a 100% success fee plus VAT at 20%.
Therefore, the total being claimed for preparing this document was £368.64.
To put this into context, the Office for National Statistics lists the median weekly pay for full-time employees in the UK for 2010 as £499. After tax, the take home pay for the average full-time worker is almost exactly the same as was claimed for the preparation of this document.
And what did this document look like that a claimant solicitor is prepared to seek £368.64 for? Have a look: here (click to view or go online if you receive this via email).
I have anonymised the document but frankly I should probably be naming and shaming the solicitors and well known costs firm responsible. It’s not just those looting in the streets who believe in something for nothing…