Barrister found liable for £167K overcharge

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has won a case securing repayment of £179,000 from a specialist e-commerce barrister who was overpaid more than a decade ago.


The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has won a case securing repayment of £179,000 from a specialist e-commerce barrister who was overpaid more than a decade ago.

Alastair Kelman, a barrister who retired from private practice in 2000, was instruc-ted in 1993 to act against Barclays Bank for a couple who claimed money had been withdrawn from their account without permission.

He was paid £195,000, but when the case concluded, a court assessment determined that Kelman should have been paid only £29,000.

In 2002, The Lawyer reported exclusively that several barristers, including former bar chairman Stephen Irwin QC, had been over or underpaid by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) due to administrative errors.

In April 2004 the LSC contacted Kelman requesting the repayment of £166,578. According to the LSC, Kelman did not repay any of the money and accordingly legal proceedings were launched against him.

The case was heard in the High Court on 22 March this year, and judgment was handed down against Kelman. He was ordered to pay a total of £179,000, including the original debt, interest, and the LSC’s costs of the legal action.

Adam Taylor, a partner at Hampstead firm Cawdery Kaye Fireman Taylor, acted for the LSC. Nicola Rushton of 5 Paper Buildings was the LSC’s counsel.

Kelman did not return calls for comment.