Re Form of Accounts Note

 

Jul 22, 2020

1. In advance of the diet of taxation on 13 December 2011, the Respondent’s law accountant, AB, submitted by way of written Points of Objection, that the Petitioner’s account was not in proper form in terms of the Rules of the Court of Session. He referred specifically to annotation 42.1.3 in the Rules which relates to accounts of expenses and states that “The dates of the items of work are entered in chronological order with the details of the work being succinctly stated, giving sufficient information to show the nature of the work carried out for which the charge is claimed”. AB submitted that the form of the Petitioner’s account was such that it was impossible for him or his instructing agents to have any idea of the work which had been undertaken and claimed, and he invited the Auditor to dismiss the account.

2. At the diet of taxation on 13 December 2011, the Petitioner’s solicitor, CD, advised that there were ongoing issues between the Petitioner and the Respondents. He stated that one of the reasons for the brevity of the entries in the account was the duty of confidentiality which was owed by him to his client and which his client had not waived. He submitted that while the account was skeletal, it was not incompetent, and that the nature of the work was very clear. He accepted, however, that the detailed specifics were not clear and that there were entries in the account to which the paying party could not prepare objections. He confirmed that, because of confidentiality, he could not give AB or the Respondents any further details regarding entries in the account, but was happy to produce his files for the Auditor.

3. In response, AB submitted that he had found it impossible to comment on the account; that it was, in his view, one of the fundamental aspects of taxation that a paying party was entitled to object; that every account can give rise to issues of confidentiality, but that a receiving party still ought to be able to provide enough information without breaching any duty of confidentiality; and that the account in this case could not be taxed because it was not compliant with the Rules of Court.

4. The Auditor agrees with AB that a paying party’s right to object is a fundamental aspect of taxation and that a receiving party ought to be able to provide sufficient information in an account without breaching any duty of confidentiality. It is plain that there are entries in the Petitioner’s account which do not give sufficient information to allow the Respondents or those advising them to consider whether or not a specific objection should be made. Accordingly and given that CD confirmed at RE FORM OF ACCOUNTS the diet of taxation that he was unable to provide the Respondents with any further details regarding entries in the account, the Auditor has disallowed in full all the entries which, in his view, do not contain sufficient information to allow the Respondents to consider whether or not a specific objection should be made.

5. The remaining entries which do contain sufficient information have been taxed in accordance with the usual test set out in Rule of Court 42.10.(1).

6. AB also argued, in his written Points of Objection and in his submissions at the diet of taxation, that the Respondents should not, in the circumstances, have to pay any expenses of the taxation procedure. The Auditor agrees that the form of the Petitioner’s account and the fact that it was impossible for the Respondents to prepare specific objections to many of the entries rendered taxation inevitable. The Auditor has accordingly determined that the Respondents should not have to pay any part of the Fee Fund Dues. 12 January 2012