HC Deb 11 July 1994 vol 246 cc661-2
41. Mr. Ottaway

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the cost of civil litigation.

Mr. John M. Taylor

The Lord Chancellor is committed to reducing the cost of civil litigation, both to the parties involved and to the taxpayer. That commitment is demonstrated by the on-going implementation of the civil justice review and the establishment of Lord Woolf s review.

Mr. Ottaway

I welcome that reply, particularly as it is only a few weeks since the Master of the Rolls described the high cost of civil litigation as a cancer at the heart of the British judicial system. Is not the best way to reduce that high cost to lower lawyers' fees? To that extent, should not we generate a real market in lawyers' fees by insisting that they publish their fees? Would not it be in the public interest for large partnerships, which turn over hundreds of millions of pounds a year, to publish their accounts?

Mr. Taylor

Legal fees are a major factor in the high cost of litigation. My hon. Friend's proposal about publishing accounts is extremely interesting and the Law Society would find it interesting too, coming as it does from my hon. Friend, with all his commercial legal experience.

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