£200 Million for an enquiry!!

  WhiteTruckMan 15:15 22 Sep 09
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Why is it that lawyers are so expensive to the detriment of everyone else? There are recent proposals to cut the amount of costs that people can claim when found not guilty in court trials, so that the innocent can be crippled by legal bills. Everything seems to be geared round paying large amounts of money to lawyers these days that unless you are quite wealthy you cannot afford access to the law. So called good lawyers will not work for legal aid prices, which are in the region on £60 per hour. Laws are so tortuously complex that you need a law degree to find your way round the minefields of legislation that are around to trip us up, yet these same laws are drafted by the same catagory of people that benefit so much from their implementation. (how much money do you suppose lawyers have made just from the human rights act alone?)

Are we being taken for a ride here, or what?

WTM

  oresome 16:46 22 Sep 09

I wonder how many of those in authority will read so much as the executive summary of the report?

  jack 16:49 22 Sep 09

It has to be said of course the hour rate reflects the back office costs- not what goes into the Mr Rompoles pocket.
Same is true of course with say, garages charging £60/90 p.h.- the fitter get about £15 is he is lucky.
Other self employed trades are on the band wagon too. A building or plumbing firm with its back office costs will charge a given hour rate
You self employed guy with a clapped out van and a mobile phone will not be far behind - even though his fees are essentially all into his pocket.

  Forum Editor 17:06 22 Sep 09

you're being taken for a ride or not tends to depend very much on how you get on if you need to use the services of a lawyer. If things go your way you tend to think it was worth the money, whereas if you lose you probably don't.

You have given a clue to what is the nub of this matter in your opening post, when you say "Laws are so tortuously complex that you need a law degree to find your way round the minefields of legislation that are around to trip us up"

It's true that legislation and case law are both incredibly complex subjects. They're that way because people are complex, and the disputes they get involved in are, as well. Legislators have to try to frame the wording of a new law so that there's no possible chance of a misunderstanding, and they must constantly be on guard to avoid leaving legal loopholes in what they draft. It means having complicated forms of words, and lots of cross-referencing, so that courts can resolve disputes more easily.

Lawyers, on the other hand, know how read their way through the maze, and pick out any inconsistencies or errors - it can make the difference between a case lost or won as far as their clients are concerned.

  spuds 19:07 22 Sep 09

When the subject of legal people come into discussion, I always think of the Kodak camera saga, and how top notch lawyers from both sides of the pond dealt with that issue. Trading Standards around the UK faired no better, in their involvement regarding the legalities of consumer law, and what or what not it should have been.

To this day, there are still some very grey areas in law, because they have never been tested in court. Some of these grey areas effects quite a number of people on a daily basis, possibly without them even knowing it.

A few years ago, I was in dispute with our local council. That little episode was costing £100.00 plus vat per hour, and that was only for the services of a 'trainee' under supervision!. Luckily I didn't pay the bill, as it was covered by insurance, and the case didn't reach court proceedings, because the problem was resolved by mutual amicable consent. What was noticable about that event, was the council's original attitude, and one seemimgly of "take us to court-we have more money than you to defend our actions!". Trying to point out that it was taxpayers money, and the council was public servants, didn't cut much ice.

  morddwyd 19:55 22 Sep 09

Never forget that a large proportion of those passing these "complicated" laws in Parliament are qualified lawyers, or married to lawyers.

  WhiteTruckMan 21:20 22 Sep 09

Does anyone here think £200,000,000 is a reasonable and fair sum of money to pay for an enquiry? Bearing in mind at least 14 lawyers made £1000,000+ from this?

WTM

  spuds 22:26 22 Sep 09

To ask the question about the 'worth value', then I think that you only need to look at all the other expensive enquiries that have taken place in recent years. The Diana enquiry being but one, and this didn't take the Diana Trust own legal battle, and the money that cost and was lost!.

  Forum Editor 22:37 22 Sep 09

is a subjective judgement. If one of my loved ones had been shot dead by a British soldier at a civil rights march I might take the view that whatever the cost of a public inquiry it was money well spent. I might take the same view if I was one of the soldiers who asserted that I had come under fire from the IRA.

Public inquiries are invaluable components of an open democracy, and on balance my view is that the cost is not a prime consideration.

Lawyers' fees are a legitimate cause for concern in some respects however, but that's a separate issue.

  spuds 19:21 23 Sep 09

" Even if it blames someone very specifically, you can be sure that person is no longer in the same role".

Not quite correct, and I think that you will find that history may prove this. Many an enquiry as come up with name or named person's, and those same people have carried on life as normal, possibly not always in the same job but something very similar.

Corporate manslaughter was a think in the news not to long ago, but how many people have been charged with that or similar offences!.

  spuds 11:00 24 Sep 09

I perhaps agree on that point, but it hasn't stopped governments and other organisation chasing offenders of war crimes or other similar events. The actual person/person's or 'authority' may not be in a job or relevant position, but they should still be accountable.

Coming back to the original question. This like many other enquiries of this nature usually ends up as what the public refer to as a 'whitewash', which no doubt some poor lower rank soul will get the blame. Whistleblowers always seem to end up as a victim on governmental or establishment society. My reference to the Diana enquiry, was perhaps pointing to the fact that there is still perhaps a conspicuous factor involved, because certain legal people are once again airing their views and opinions.

Regarding the cost, is a usual very heavy involvement in these type of enquiries, and some people get very well rewarded either by finance or stature for duties performed. But at the end of the day, does these long winded time drawn out enquiries prove a true picture of events, were total honesty is forthcoming and possibly memories fail!.

On a personal note, I was in Northern Ireland and Eire, plus many other of the globes 'hot spots' in the 1960/70/80s. Riot control and public demonstrations were relatively poorly controlled or supervised. Dustbin lids and wooden staves or scaffold poles were the intimidation device on those early days of 'the troubles' in Northern Ireland.

I have hired a motor vehicle at Aldengrove airport, and seen this same vehicle wrecked by 8/9/12 year olds later that day, while just off the Antrim Road in Belfast. Nothing was done because of fear from possible sniper activity. Insurance was the simple resolver and replacement of property. I have also been in a 'Republican' bar for a night out, and feeling very concerned about my health. But as time goes on, these are but memories stuck into ones mind, perhaps treasured by some and ignored by others!.

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