The first £3m silk: Pollock scores record fee in BCCI

Gordon Pollock QC, lead counsel for the liquidators of BCCI, who will tomorrow (13 January) lead the case against the Bank of England for misfeasance, has already been paid £3m – believed to be the country’s highest ever brief fee.

Pollock, who has already pocketed the £3m brief fee for preparing the case over the last 12 months, is set to earn at least an extra £2m during the trial, which could last until mid-2005.

The Bank of England, The Lawyer can also reveal, has been paying its law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer £1.5m a month, including disbursements to counsel, to prepare the case, according to court transcripts.

Pollock, head of Essex Court Chambers, was last month forced to apologise to the court in a pre-trial BCCI hearing for calling two female Freshfields solicitors who are on maternity leave “sex crazed”.

“My Lord, we have always been slightly mystified as to how Freshfields were running up £1.5m… They seem to be running the case on the basis that Mr Goddard [the Freshfields partner leading the case] sits at top, he
has two sex-crazed assistants between him who do not talk to each other,” Pollock said at the beginning
of his opening speech.

His opposite number, Nicholas Stadlen QC of Fountain Court, said: “When my learned friend makes the sort of remark about the two female solicitors who have gone on maternity leave, he really has crossed a line which even by his standards he ought not to cross.”

At the end of the hearing, Pollock apologised and said it had been “a misdirected attempt at levity that should have been best left unraised”.

Essex Court Chambers declined to comment on the brief fee, citing a confidentiality agreement.