When to seek Counsel
Armstrong Scalisi Holdings Pty Ltd v Piscopo (Trustee), in the matter of Collins  FCA 423.
In a recent case in the Federal Court, Rares J reiterated the importance of litigation work being appropriately allocated between solicitors and barristers.
On this application for security for costs, the Court found that the manner in which the applicant calculated its estimate of costs was inappropriate and excessive. The calculation reflected trends of solicitors who complete a substantial proportion of litigation work, with tasks including forensic decisions about pleadings, evidence and submissions improperly being taken out of the hands of counsel, whose proper role it is to attend to these matters.
His Honour stated, “… it is of vital importance that counsel undertake the burden of doing that work themselves and not have it duplicated unnecessarily by the involvement in preparing drafts of one [or more] solicitors”.
Ultimately, the Court halved the quantum of the applicant’s original estimate of costs (for which security was claimed), based on a more conservative costs calculation.
It is true, as Rares J comments, that, “Litigation should be conducted as quickly, inexpensively and as efficiently as possible.” The best legal outcome is likely to be achieved when the balance of the litigation is properly-struck between the solicitors the barristers, with each performing their specific role in a complementary fashion and without unnecessary overlap.
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Marcus & Marcus - 7 July 2017