Maxwell's lawyers demand more fees

Alun Jones QC – the highest paid criminal legal aid barrister in 1997 – is to ask the High Court for an additional £350,000 in basic fees he claims he earned for representing Robert Maxwell's son.

He will be joined by Clare Montgomery QC – like Jones a tenant at 3 Raymond Buildings – who served as Jones' junior in the three-year case which culminated in Maxwell's acquittal at the Old Bailey in January 1996. The total legal aid bill paid to the barristers for preparing the trial is estimated to be £1 million. Maxwell's law firm, Peters & Peters – understood to have been paid £4 million already – will also seek an uplift at the same hearing on February 17.

Last month the Lord Chancellor mounted a legal challenge against a ruling which upped the legal aid fees of Colin Nicholls QC and Philip Hackett QC who defended Abbas Kassimali Gokal who was convicted of fraud following the collapse of the BCCI.

The judge who agreed to increase the lawyers' fees indicated in that decision that Maxwell's lawyers would win in a separate appeal. If successful, the ruling will come as blow to Lord Irvine who is currently working hard to drastically reduce lawyers' fees and force legal teams to present more accurate assessment of costs