Khan loses 12-month commission dispute

The head of Lincoln's Inn set Chancery Chambers has won a year-long battle to obtain £18,000 in unpaid commission fees from a former tenant.

The Appeal Court last week upheld a Barnet county court judgment that Mohammed Khan owed his former head of chambers Laurence St Ville 10 per cent commission on his earnings for the four years he was a member. This amounted to £11,466 plus interest.

Khan, a successful criminal barrister since 1972, working from his home in Leicester, had used the Chancery Chambers address in London between 1986 and 1990 in order to comply with a Bar Council directive at that time that counsel must operate from a set of chambers.

Aditya Sen, counsel for Khan, argued that there was never any agreement to pay the commission and that, since the county court judgment, court records had come to light which proved that on the day St Ville alleged the agreement was struck in London, Khan was at Sheffield Crown Court.

But the appeal judges, Lord Justice Evans and Mrs Justice Hale, said it was not the date of the meeting which was important but whether the meeting actually took place and refused to admit the new evidence.

Khan was also appealing against the decision that he should pay the commission to St Ville rather than St Ville's senior clerk. St Ville had claimed only for rent and insurance, and his senior clerk, Alexander Barnes, had claimed the commission.

The county court judge had struck out the rent and insurance claims but ruled that the commission was owed to St Ville.

But the appeal judges ruled that Khan, an experienced lawyer, should have been aware of the implications and should have raised the matter at the county court.