View Full Version : Cost of trials??

tony draper
2nd Nov 2002, 09:29
The news media said this morning that the collapsed Paul Burrel trial has cost one and a half mil to date, now thats small potatoes compared to many trials.
Something that has always puzzled me, where does this money go,? who gets it?, not to the Jury or witnesses, the Judges and Court officials salaried as far as I know, how do they arrive at these numbers?.
Is the whole cost(overtime ect ) of the police enquiries costed in the total.?
Will Flash Gordon ever get his end away with Dale?
Why doesn't anybody ever question this.

2nd Nov 2002, 10:47
I know of one relatively small case where a QC and his junior planned to charge about £135,000 between them for a two week case. The instructing solicitors' bill was about the same, and disbursements, including overseas visits were about £120,000. All plus VAT. That is for one side. Double it, add courtroom costs, a judge at £100,000 a year, clerks, security, teamakers, clipboard holders and all and I can see where all the money goes.

In the Southend Boeing cocaine trial, currently going on at Basildon, there are, I believe, four QCs for the defence and one for the prosecution, all plus juniors, and solicitors. The trial looks like lasting eight weeks. Sounds expensive to me.

Anthony Carn
2nd Nov 2002, 11:12
Yet again, it's only taxpayers money (and my pension's up for grabs, unlike public sector pensions which continue to get even more decadent ). A few words uttered in a budget speech and it's sorted.

That's why the "costs" are high (and the cost of everything else to do with the public sector).

We all question these activities, but who is responsible for providing the answers ?

The UK is a divided country -- victimised tax payers v decadent tax consumers.

Come the revolution.........or the collapse of the whole shebang...... :mad:

tony draper
2nd Nov 2002, 11:20
Birds would constanly chirp, the sun would shine 15 hours a day, the climate, would be barmy, it would only rain at night, England would win the ashes , and those Greeks would prolly stop whinning for the Elgin Marbles back, if only we took all mysogenist mysanthropic xenophobes and the like outside and shot them in the back of the head.

Oh yes!! woss going on here then, does one detect a scandyhooligan hand behind this outrage.
Verisimiltude indeed.
Beware posters Palimpsest being practiced. ;)

Bally Heck
2nd Nov 2002, 12:53
Film star money for barristers. QEII trips for investigating officers???

A corrupt justice system which works in favour of those who operate it, rather than the impartial application of justice.

Bear in mind the boss of this system considered it his right to order wallpaper at several thousand pounds a roll at our expense.

In this country, it is not the Royal Family who have to go. It is the self interested barristers, judges, company directors, politicians etc. who cost the taxpayer billions of pounds while our transport, education, health and legal systems crumble.

2nd Nov 2002, 19:08
Here we go again, film star fees for barristers, I think not somehow. You can moan as much as you want to about lawyers fees but criminal barristers fees are set out in the Legal Aid in Criminal and Care Proceedings (General) Regulations 1989 (as amended).

Its all there in tabulated form under 'graduated fees' and you can work out exactly what we earn. The fees include such gems as the ineffective trial fee - a flat rate of £46.50 if a trial doesn't go ahead because a witness is ill or a defendant does a runner.

It happened to me on Thursday when I travelled all the way to King's Lynn to defend in a trial which couldn't go ahead. Out of the £46.50 I have to pay my overheads ie the rent on my office, rates, employees salaries, my travel to court, the time taken to prepare the trial.

I'm not looking for sympathy because I do earn a reasonable living but it would be nice if people dealt with real facts rather than wild speculation.

Unwell_Raptor you cite a 'small case' lasting two weeks where the QC and Junior were planning on charging £135,000 between them. Not a criminal one then nor on legal aid graduated fees. Let me give you an example:

The highest rate of fee is for Category A cases ie Murder. A two week trial involving say 500 pages of witness statements and 25 witnesses would earn a Q.C. £14,494 and his junior £7247, a total of £21,741.00

I'll agree at once that its a reasonable whack but again that fee includes all of the preliminary work, perhaps having to be kept out of court to be available for the trial date and might actually (particularly for the Q.C.) represent his income over several weeks or more rather than simply the two weeks of the trial. Again this sum has to cover his overheads - the costs of buildings, staff etc.

Bally Heck, I see from your profile that your an airline pilot. Would it be right to assume that with say 190 pax on board paying an average of £200 a ticket your boss (or perhaps you) are making £38,000 a trip and that goes straight into his pocket? Gosh, even I must be in the wrong business then.

Bally Heck
2nd Nov 2002, 19:39

If we take your example of a barrister earning £15000 for two weeks work, even if 60% of that goes in overheads he is still on £2500 a week. Now, I admit David Beckham would not get out of bed for that, but it still a hell of a whack.

But perhaps you as an insider can explain the £1.5m pound bill for (falsley) prosecuting a case of petty theft?

I would really like to know, and perhaps you can correct some of my misconceptions about your profession by enlightening me.

2nd Nov 2002, 20:17
Legalapproach: I wasn't knocking barristers - honest. The case in question was an argument over £3 million or so, but the issues were straightforward. It wasn't legally aided of course.

I have always accepted the argument that a cheap lawyer is like a cheap condom - not always cheaper in the long run.

2nd Nov 2002, 20:33
I can't give you a breakdown or explain the costs but I can guarantee that the lawyers fees will only be a small proportion of £1.5m if the costs are actually anything like that.

I would make the comment that when trials collapse in this way you very often hear a sum quoted which is a remarkably round (and large) figure. Who says the costs are £1.5 m, what was the source and why £1.5m and not £1,346,274.25 or £879,374.68? The lawyers will have made thousands, perhaps between them all, tens of thousands but certainly not hundreds of thousands.

A figure that is often quoted is that it costs £6 per minute to run a courtroom so even this would only account for a fraction of the costs.

Perhaps allowing for the police costs would get the figures up a bit but £1.5m?

You may remember a few months ago the case of a helo pilot where the CAA claimed costs circa £50K but that included everything, the costs of investigators, the reconstruction with another helicopter, the CAA legal team - and that was not at criminal rates.

I'm not suggesting that we earn a pittance but the fees have to cover overheads ie the costs of running an office with staff and associated costs, travel, pension, holiday pay etc. As a small example I have just received a subscription reminder for one of my legal text books and the latest edition is £250. I actually spend about £1600 a year on text books alone.

As I said in my previous post, the fees for criminal legal aid and care cases are set out in a statutory instrument agreed by the treasury and available for anyone to see.

As to the example I gave, the 15k goes to a Q.C. and the example is for the most serious type of case under graduated fees. On a day to day basis, the vast majority of us hacks would consider that to be a fee beyond the dreams of avarice. But the two weeks spent in court can be misleading. I recently did a trial where there were 27 lever arch files full of documents to be read. The pre-trial preparation took slightly longer than the trial itself, so in terms of what I earnt it has to be spread over twice the period that might appear simply by looking at the length of the trial. In addition, in order to be available for the day of the trial I had to turn down other work in the preceeding week.

4th Nov 2002, 03:02
What I would really like to know is when they are going to find that Badminton horse guilty or not - that case has been dragging on for years.

Anthony Carn
4th Nov 2002, 08:57
Always happens with jumped up charges.

4th Nov 2002, 18:45
Donít even ask what the Oklahoma City bombing trials cost; it would scare you to death.