3 August, 2011
Filed Undercosts draftsmen
Further to my post last week about the lawyers accused of legal aid fraud, readers may be interested to hear the outcome of the trial (particularly the anonymous reader who posted a comment asking if I “actually have the facts about the costs draftsman or are you basing your judgement of what Metro reported?”.
The Law Society Gazette reports (hey, I’m going to trust them on this), that “a criminal defence solicitor and a costs draughtsman [sic] have been jailed for a £430,000 legal aid scam. Solicitor Reuben Ewujowoh … was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. Costs draughtsman Robert Odong … was sentenced to two-and-a-half years and recommended for deportation, as he is a failed asylum seeker. Legal case worker Lloyd McDonald … was entirely cleared by the Croydon Crown Court jury. … Describing the two convicted defendants as ‘remorseless and ruthless in their behaviour’, Judge John Tanzer said they had pocketed £430,000”.
The costs draftsman was not a Costs Lawyer and therefore not regulated. On the other hand, the solicitor was regulated. This coincides with the recent report on will writing suggesting regulated solicitors and unregulated will writers were equally responsible for substandard wills.
This story just highlights the limitations of regulation. Although it will be interesting to see if the Costs Lawyer Standards Board starts to implement spot checks on Costs Lawyers’ files to check for “irregular” billing.