Zaiwalla in divorce fees row

ZAIWALLA & Company senior partner Sarosh Zaiwalla is being sued by City firm Frere Cholmeley Bischoff over claims he owes more than £11,000 in fees for work on his divorce proceedings.

But Zaiwalla says he intends to defend the action by claiming Freres ran up a “huge” bill of more than £21,000 for work which he did not authorise.

Freres has issued a High Court writ claiming £11,137 in unpaid fees it claims are connected with divorce and ancillary relief work carried out on Zaiwalla's behalf between June and November last year.

The writ claims bills were sent to Zaiwalla in September, November and December last year, but they have not been paid and Freres is now claiming repayment plus interest of £2.44 a day.

“I had instructed them to act on my behalf and they ran up a huge bill,” says Zaiwalla. “They were sending me monthly bills and I am disputing this on the basis that they incurred costs that were not authorised.”

Zaiwalla says he has made an “open offer” to Freres of an additional £3,500, but this has not yet been accepted. He is now calling on Freres to obtain a taxation certificate for all bills linked to the case.

A spokeswoman for Freres says that the firm was “authorised and justified” in carrying out the work it did for Zaiwalla.

“In accordance with our standard practice we had advised Mr Zaiwalla of his right to tax our bills before we issued the writ,” she says.

“He has not issued a summons for taxation, he failed to do so, and we are justified in issuing the writ.”