As experts involved in criminal cases, we are frequently having to justify to the courts our claim for professional fees and expenses.
Today (20 July 2015), after more than 12 months, we have been successful in two claims made through the Small Claims Court for recovery of fees and costs.
Case 1. The Government Legal Department (formerly the Treasury Solicitor)
A claim for unpaid expert’s fees and costs arising out of an appearance as defence expert witness at Southwark Crown Court.
The Court had refused to pay part of the professional fees (lost time due to late cancellation), hotel and travel costs – their decision was arbitrary and was certainly not in accordance with their own guidelines.
In addition to getting full settlement of our claim, we recovered late payment interest, costs and fees under the European Directive 2011/7/EU on Combating Late Payment in Commercial Transactions, and Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 (as amended) by the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2002.
This claim demonstrates that experts needn’t be deterred from pursuing a properly constituted claim for fees and costs provided they follow the Government’s own departmental guidelines.
Case 2. Criminal Solicitor
A claim for unpaid expert’s fees and costs arising out of an appearance as defence expert witness at Nottingham Crown Court. The expert’s fees were subject to a Prior Authority and the claim was for the same amount.
The Solicitor had failed to pay any of the fees and travel costs – their justification was that they had not made a timely application to the Legal Aid Agency for their costs and those of the expert.
Again, interest and costs were recovered.
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