Willock's Final Legal Bill Stands At $98K

Name

By Esther Durand, Journalist

Updated 7:43 AM AST, Mon Nov 22, 2021

No Image Found
(Photo Credit: Esther Durand/BVI Platinum News)

(PLTM) - Acting Commercial Court Judge Adrian Jack has ordered Speaker of the House of Assembly Hon. Julian Willock to pay a grand sum of $98, 676.51 in legal fees associated with an injunction against three attorneys of the ongoing Commission of Inquiry (CoI).

Advertisement
Advertisement

Willock's injunction claimed that the trio – Bilal Rawat, Andrew King and Rhea Harrikisoon – were practicing law in the territory without being called to the bar, contrary with the Legal Professions Act of 2015.

However, Hon. Willock aborted the injunction after the court held that consent was needed from Attorney General Hon. Dawn Smith for the matter to proceed.

In a published judgment issued on November 11, 2021, the court said the total fee was a combination of lawyers' fees and administrative costs which must be paid by Hon. Willock to the CoI lawyers and the Attorney General.

The AG’s office submitted a bill of $6,084.00 while the bill from the other defendants amounted to $115,348.50. Notably, the latter had initially submitted a bill of $71,388.59 prior, with a difference of over $43,000.

This new order of costs is $22,755. 99 less than the grand sum of $121,432.5 which is the fees put forward by both the AG and the CoI team combined.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Unreasonable Bill – Claimant

According to the judgement, the bill presented to the court from the law firm Walkers is “wholly unreasonable and disproportionate,” according to Hon. Willock.

The court document pointed to the bill from the AG’s office of $6,084 for 18.2 hours while the Walkers bill is claiming 147 hours in addition to “incalculable amount of time for Andrew Sutcliffe Q.C.”

It continued, “The Court should treat this with great suspicion. In fact, the bill produced by the lawyers working directly for Walkers far exceeds that of Andrew Sutcliffe QC’s. It is clear from this fact alone, that their bill is completely unreasonable.”

The claimant stated it was also “quite interesting to note,” that the lawyers from Walkers appear to spend excessive time on reviewing draft judgments issued by the Court.

“This is particularly concerning, because even though Andrew Sutcliffe QC’s billing is unclear (one of the lawyers for the defendants), it appears that he doesn’t spend half as much of the time that the lawyers from Walkers do on certain items, charging a mere GBP 150.00 plus VAT for reviewing a draft judgment that Walker’s $4,340.00 (Items 57, 58 and 60),” the judgement said, quoting the claimant.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Issues were also raised with the fees of other lawyers which Judge Jack said were also excessive and he reduced the fee from $950 to $900 per hour in at least one case.

“I have considered whether the total allowed below of $98,676.51 is a reasonable overall figure. In my judgment it is. This was litigation which was very significant to the first to the fourth defendants. Had the claimant obtained an injunction preventing the second, third and fourth defendants acting in the Commission of Inquiry, that would have seriously impacted on the Commission’s ability to conclude its work. Mr. Willock must have been aware of this potential impact. The legal resources employed, including the instruction of leading counsel, were reasonable,” Judge Jack concluded.

Advertisement
Advertisement

----
Copyright 2022 by Virgin Islands Platinum News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Reader Opinion

Please note that the opinions posted are the opinions of its author and does not in any way reflect the views of the management, staff, parent company or sponsors of Virgin Islands Platinum News.
and are required.
15 Comments
BuzzBvi
Good news is it looks like they keeping him in a padded room now.
Like · · 37w ago
2 Likes
and are required.
Lol
Who was that blonde?
Like · · 37w ago
3 Likes
and are required.
Disobedient Children...
The Court made a decision that the Speaker should pay his own legal fees...The court is the legal authority. Why do the Speaker and the Premier think that they are too powerful to listen to any other authority., or listen to anyone period...Either he pay from his own money and if Fahie in any way by tricks or dishonesty use tax payers monies to pay this bill, the Speaker and the Premier should be held in contempt.. .
Like · · 37w ago
13 Likes
and are required.
Master
You can't talk about colonialism and you so love the master's head gear and you still wearing it in the 21st century. This is hypocrisy to the highest degree. He is the only speaker I see still wearing with this nonsense.
Like · · 37w ago
11 Likes
and are required.
Asura
Why would the Speaker pay the bill and he was fighting for the BVI? It does not add up. We the people call on the Premier to pay up
Like · · 38w ago
2 Likes
and are required.
Road Runner
@Asura - The Speaker should pay his legal fees because - A) he acted alone, without proper sanction. B) This was not at the service of the BVI, it was out of rev.... for his COI grilling. C) The Judge has ruled that he must pay - End of story. There must be consequences for hotheaded stupidity.
Like · 37w ago
7 Likes
Jasper Jenkins
The Joules needs to pay his legal bill. The person who should have made the application, i.e. the Attorney General didn't see any merit on making the application, but Joules (with his wig) thought he could go above the law and do it himself. Then he needs to pay his bill.
Like · · 38w ago
17 Likes
and are required.
Thats how the govt Gives away tax payers money by foolishingly agreeing to pay these rediculously high fees...Thanks to the Judge for puttinig sense in their heads and took it upon his own to reduce those rediculously high fees, no wonder the BVI is known world wide as "Easy money country". With that reduction the speaker should not complained about paying...It is his bill, he needs to pay it...Not tax payers.
Like · · 38w ago
10 Likes
and are required.
Resident
Wig boy needs to pay his own bill
Like · · 38w ago
19 Likes
and are required.
Runako Francis
I agree Government must pay the bill on condition that Speaker Willock stop wearing the wig. As Deputy Premier would say, it is inappropriate!
Like · · 38w ago
2 Likes
and are required.
Q
Question , is there a timeframe for that money to be paid. ?
Like · · 38w ago
2 Likes
and are required.
Heckler
This again? Andrew just pay the bill and move on. Willock was not acting alone bam bam
Like · · 38w ago
3 Likes
and are required.
Pay Up
So what that gah do with us leh he pay he bill that got nothin to do with we.
Like · · 38w ago
11 Likes
and are required.
Road Runner
@ Reply - two very different situations. Willock acted alone and outside of the recognized protocols. He had zero authorization to do so, and acted out of mal... rather than for any good of the people. HE SHOULD PAY THIS BILL!!
Like · 38w ago
19 Likes
Reply
Government must pay just like they paying for mr rankin, right is right!!!
Like · 38w ago
2 Likes
Platinum Comments Plugin