Firms not obliged to work for non-paying clients, CoA rules

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  • Lawyers have an obligation like garages or any other sector to keep clients informed of the running tab. Clients should also be told of any pitfalls foreseen that could lead to higher charges.
    Unforeseen pitfalls create new issues that add cost which is up to the client to decide how far to go. Lawyers also have an obligation to properly advise clients of the likely outcomes on the extra expenditure and whether one course of action is better than another or whether to do nothing. In the end it is for the so called professionals to weigh things up and advise accordingly, being mindful that clients do not have an endless pot always. The legal charges being banded about are absolutely absurd and one wonders if the profession live in the real world. No wonder Jackson is waving a stick, Courts also have a duty to paying clients disgruntled by the extorionate charges some Lawyers try to get away with. I say it is a good idea for stage payments, interim bills and a running commentary of where clients are heading. There should be a protocol set up and part of the conditional fee arrangement which is clear.

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  • What is a dispute over £5k of costs doing going to the Court of Appeal? Presumably he found the money later.
    What a waste of time and effort

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  • amazing that this sort of thing has to go to the court of appeal. The real story on this is surely how a claim where there is a difference of opinion of no more than £2500 can make it through two trials.

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  • z.ahmed - May I ask how you feel you are in a position to judge the charges to be "absolutely absurd"? How much do you know about the costs of running a practice? How much do you feel an occupation and non-molestation order should cost? How much experience do you have of this area of work?

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  • One suspects that z. ahmed has an axe to grind against the legal profession, although he/she is absolutely right to state that clients should be advised of work in progress on a regular basis once original estimates are exceeded.

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  • I, for one, am grateful that CKFT have stuck to their guns on this and seen the case through to the Court of Appeal. The judgment is very sensible and the lawyer involved at CKFT did as much as he could by the book. Lawyers cannot be expected to work for clients for free, or incur disbursements without having the cash, simply because an estimate is exceeded. Clients need to be better educated in that litigation, particularly commercial litigation, is a rich man's game (unless CFAs are in play, but even then disbursements can be huge).

    The other thing about litigation is that it is extremely unpredictable. By its very nature it is adversarial and litigators and clients involved in litigation are very innovative in their strategies, as well as being adept at exploiting weaknesses. Anything that can happen in litigation, often will happen. Even a very good litigator has not seen it all before, and cannot anticipate the twists and turns that a piece of litigation will take. But if a client wants to pay a litigator £300 p/h to sit around and try to think of everything, then that's their prerogative - as long as they're willing to pay.

    Oh, and BTW, the Jackson recommendations as regards CFAs in non-PI / RTA cases are nonsense. Access to justice needs to be protected for the little guys because, as I said above, litigation is otherwise solely a rich man's game.

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