14.3.07

Day 114 (week 24): Romford

Went to court in Romford today with a junior member of Chambers who I will call YoungSmoothie or YoungS for short. It’s not that he’s the son of OldSmoothie but he may as well be. Charm personified although to the extent of being slightly oily. Maybe it’s just something you grow into. Very nice walk through Romford market in which one guy had a rant at YoungS about “coming here in your whistle” which I have to admit meant nothing to me though YoungS explained later somewhat pompously that it was “cockney rhyming slang for whistle and flute, suit”. Anyway, it didn’t feel like the safest place for two barristers dressed for court.

As for the case itself, YoungS was representing an injured man (let’s call him Unlucky) who was claiming some £60,000 in damages for a broken arm caused by tripping over a pothole in a pavement. The other side had offered £15,000 to settle in the past which YoungS had strongly advised rejecting. We eventually recovered only £10,000. After the hearing, the client asked YoungS how much of this money he would see. YoungS explained to him that since he decided not to accept the £15,000 offer several months ago, the other side would not be paying his own legal costs and so they were his responsibility. He was therefore saddled with a bill for £9,500 (including £2,500 for YoungS for the day) which left him with just £500 of his own damages. This was despite the fact he had a “no-win no-fee” agreement and for all practical purposes we had lost today.

“But you advised me not to take the £15,000. Why do I still have to pay your fees?”

“Because I also advised you that ultimately it was your decision and if you didn’t take the offer, there would be some risk and potentially even costs consequences if you didn’t accept. These are those costs consequences. Sorry.”

Given that on anyone’s version he’d had a nasty injury, it seemed, to say the least, pretty unfair that he should end up with only five per cent of his damages after he’d followed his own lawyer’s advice. This was particularly so when that advice turned out to be wrong and the lawyer still got his full fees. As Unlucky left the court, YoungS whispered in a voice loud enough for those around to hear,

“Lawyers one. Clients nil.”

9 comments:

James Lowe said...

Can't believe i've only just found this blog. It's brilliant! Been doing the rounds in our office. Glad i'm not a lawyer, or a client for that matter!

Anonymous said...

Erm....that story is so far-fetched you had me laughing into my Shredded-Wheat.

retina said...

very funny, more intra-pupil bashing tales please!

Anonymous said...

fantastic. i'm a barrister and had similar awkward situation with client on numerous occasions.

Richard Lewis said...

Really great blog although I've just lost a whole morning's work reading it through.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading this for a couple of weeks now and just wanted to say thanks. Has made me laugh out loud on occasions.

Anonymous said...

romford is a hole

Anonymous said...

Shut up Barista the caffeine is going to your head! You are giving the game away my son and we will all be out of jobs.

- Rumple

phatboy said...

If that story is true then the client should seriously consider taking action against Counsel for negligence. At the very least, I would have thought that a complaint to the Bar Council would be in order. I cannot believe that he would overcalculate quantum by 100%

By the way, what were you wearing on your way to court to attract such attention? I've walked through the market plenty of times on my way to the cop-shop or court in a suit and have never even got a second glance.