A BBC programme based on the premise that the words “see you in court” can be the most expensive you will ever hear, with the potential to ruin your life or business. The former wife of the England footballer, Gazza, finds the costs of litigation a barrier to seeking redress againsts tabloid newspapers.
Sheryl was denounced by tabloids as a “lying bitch”, another story blamed her for Paul’s drinking and yet another claimed she was denying her ex-husband access to their son. As these stories were clearly defamatory and could not be substantiated, the three newspapers settled, paying her damages and costs.
QC's and Judges decide who pays and who gets paid but as pointed out in the Telegraph today. "It is the legal profession and the protracted litigation that rack the costs up for both sides, not only making it unfeasibly costly for someone such as Mrs Gascoigne to go to court to restore her reputation but also for newspapers to defend themselves from vexatious litigants and so-called libel tourists. The Government recently proposed reforms to cut the costs and to uphold the rights of newspapers, academics and others to express “an honest opinion”, replacing the old defence of fair comment"
Roddy Chisholm Batten of Clintons Solicitors representing Mrs Gascoigne, explains to her why judges never give lawyers what they ask for in their costs, but states that dispite this the lawyers still charge the client the full amount. I agree with Sheryl thats disgusting.
"If a cost judge looks at your papers, he will look at your timesheet and look at the letters and say, oh you spent an hour on this it should only have taken half an hour" at this point the prograrmmes narrator talks over the rest of Roddy's conversation.
If nothing else I ask you to think about this small point. If the court appointed judge thinks that the lawyers have inflated their costs beyond what is reasonable and on that grounds refuses to accept them, why should you?. Why should lawyers still expect clients to pay costs that have been shown, in a court of law, to be unreasonable.
I rest my case!