Friday, August 01, 2008

Solicitors target clients with ‘sky high’ legal fees as Scotland's billion pound legal industry slows down

There is little doubt we are in a recession, and amid falling house prices, falling pay packets, rising energy bills and rising unemployment, the outlook is certainly not a rosy one for everybody and even Scotland's multi billion pound legal services market, controlled exclusively by the Law Society of Scotland is now experiencing problems, with the likelihood of job losses and hardship along with the rest of us.

However, while the Law Society of Scotland last week issued a Press Release on the subject of the current poor economic climate affecting lawyers, citing its concerns over redundancies and problems in the legal sector, there was a marked reluctance to talk about lawyers hiking up their fees for legal work which remains markedly poor in competence or honesty.

Of course, when industries feel the pinch, they put the bills up. British Gas just did that, upping the cost of your fuel bills by a whopping 35% ... and no doubt petrol will be going up again soon too .. putting the squeeze on your pockets along with the cost of everything else we all consume.

There should therefore be little surprise to you that lawyers have decided to hike their own legal fees by (in some cases) a whopping 40% on top of the £1.2billion they are already making from clients, so its now the turn of consumers to get hit with large legal bills too …

So, have you recently been charged £3,500 from a solicitor for a little work which might have only been £1,050 ?, because that is now happening to clients all over Scotland .

Time perhaps to challenge your solicitors fees just as many have challenged Bank fees and more unacceptable charges for less than adequate service …

Bill Aitken MSP : Scots Legal Services market worth £1.2billion … but that's not enough for some as lawyers fees now hit your roof !

As you can see from the above video, it was only a few months ago that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and others so fond of solicitors at the expense of consumers, stood up in the Scottish Parliament and toasted the multi billion pound monopolistic legal services industry in Scotland controlled by the Law Society of Scotland, so why now should some in the legal world feel they have to hike up the cost of their work for clients, which is still mostly poor and lacking in standards.

Well, for one thing, property prices are down, quite a bit, as are house sales, which rake in lots of money for solicitors in legal fees, so clients must be hit, and hit hard on other kinds of legal work now to make up for the shortfall.After all, keeping up the family, the three houses, the five cars and other wee bits on the side must be passed onto unsuspecting clients, and if you can’t pay, your house and possessions will do nicely.

There are certainly a few unsuspecting clients by the looks of things as some fee notes I saw earlier this week showed solicitors charging clients for work done while they were actually receiving legal aid, and settlements in long drawn out cases being withheld by legal firms, while they fiddle up fee notes of extortionate proportions, for ultimately achieving nothing .. just to steal the settlements in their entirety for themselves, the client ultimately getting nothing … not a penny …

In one case brought to my attention, concerning a long running land dispute, a family who employed one of Edinburgh's top legal firms, have ultimately been hounded out by their landlord, yet they have received a large settlement to ensure their departure.

Unfortunately for that family in the case I refer to, their 'big name' Edinburgh lawyers have now taken the entire agreed settlement while they do some creative accounting for work done, which in reality wasn't much, if anything at all.

A small, but important detail to the case is the family concerned were on legal aid the whole time … but all the while, that ‘big name’ Edinburgh legal firm were demanding additional private cash payments … while apparently not disclosing such demands & payments to the Legal Aid Board, in what now seems to be a typical practice to make up for shortfalls in other areas of business.

But what will the Scottish Legal Aid Board think .. or do ? if they find out this 'big name' Edinburgh legal firm was demanding money from the clients while also taking from the legal aid purse .... as so many legal firms seem to be doing these days ...

Of course, you don't really get to find out much about lawyers fees, because the legal profession sets its own fees, and is accountable to no one in that respect.

Yes, lawyers set their own fees. There is no independent body to adjudicate on what lawyers can and cannot charge for their services. The Law Society of Scotland basically gives the go ahead for lawyers to charge what they want, and if you don't like it, when faced with a large account you cannot pay, your house will do nicely, if not your life.

Oh yes .. there is the not so often used "taxation of fees" where if you are unhappy with the fees charged by your solicitor in litigation which may have ended up in the Court of Session, you can apply to the "Auditor of the Court of Session" to have your account 'independently scrutinised', but here's a surprise for you - the Auditor of the Court of Session is a member of the Law Society of Scotland, so, in Scotland’s most important courtroom, there is no independent scrutiny of lawyers fees.

The present Auditor of the Court of Session is Mr Neil J Crichton, who was appointed to his position in December 1997, over 11 years ago and will be retiring on 28 September 2008. The following release from the then Scottish Executive lists Mr Crichton’s appointment :

Appointment of Auditor of the Court of Session

09/12/1997

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF SCOTTISH COURTS ADMINISTRATION

The Secretary of State has appointed Mr Neil J Crichton to be Auditor of the Court of Session on the retirement of Mr J Haldane Tait on March 31, 1998. Mr Crichton is currently senior partner in the Edinburgh firm of Aitken Nairn WS.

BACKGROUND

The Auditor of the Court of Session is a statutory appointment made by the Secretary of State on the nomination of the Lord Advocate. The main duty of the Auditor is, on remit from the Court, to tax accounts of expenses incurred in civil litigation and fix the remuneration of the receivers and liquidators. He also taxes accounts which the Scottish Legal Aid Board are unable to agree with the Solicitor and/or Counsel acting for a legally-assisted client in a Court of Session case.

News Release - 1975/97 Date December 9, 1997

It is important to note the "Auditor of the Court of Session" is not accountable to the Scottish Court Service in terms of if a complaint is filed against his decisions on fees.

The Auditor of the Court is in fact, a practicing solicitor, a member of the Law Society of Scotland.

It is a fact that all solicitors, and members of the Law Society of Scotland must also keep their indemnity insurance payments to the same Master Insurance Policy which itself has been brought into such disrepute concerning concocted fee notes over negligent legal service for many years, many of such cases surfacing in the media.

So, if you have a complaint about a huge bill from a solicitor which involves work in the Court of Session, and which is wholly unjustified, you can take it to taxation, which means giving it to the Auditor of the Court of Session.

However, if you remain unsatisfied with the Auditor of the Court of Session's findings, you cannot complain to the Scottish Courts Service, because the Auditor of the Court of Session does not fall within the remit of the SCS, the Auditor falls within the remit of the Law Society of Scotland to whom you must make a complaint if you remain dissatisfied with the Auditor’s decision in your case.

So, bearing in mind all of the above, is it safe now, in these times of required and expected reforms to Scotland's woefully poor legal services market, to allow another solicitor, and member of the Law Society of Scotland, the power of auditing solicitors legal fees in Scotland’s highest court, when there are disputes from clients ?

Surely it should now be the case that, with the measure of independent regulation brought in with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, there should be a new system of independent scrutiny of solicitors fees where clients feel they are unexplainably and unjustifiably high.

Perhaps now is the time to bring in an independent and accountable panel of auditors who are not linked to the legal profession, but are able to hear cases of client challenge to exorbitant legal fees and independently adjudicate on what are ever spiraling costs of legal services in the current solicitor monopolised Scottish legal services market.

You can read more about the procedures for challenging fees from your solicitor in the Sheriff Courts here : Act of Sederunt (Solicitor and Client Accounts in the Sheriff Court) 1992

It is important to note that while all Sheriff Courts have an auditor of the court, not all are solicitors. There are three solicitors who are “Auditors of the Court’, based at Scotland’s three key courts – Glasgow, Aberdeen, and of course, the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The remaining auditor’s of court in the Sheriff Courts, are employed directly by the Scottish Courts Service.

You can find out more about the fees of the Court of Session here : The Court of Session etc. Fees Amendment Order 2007

You can find out more about “Taxation” at the Court of Session on the Auditor of the Court of Session’s website here : Taxation at the Court of Session

The Law Society of Scotland also reports on how you can challenge fees from your solicitors on their own website here : How to query a lawyers fee and get nowhere

The Law Society’s explanation of how to query solicitors fees begins with an uninspiring account of what they cannot do …

“The Law Society of Scotland does not have the power to consider the amount of fees charged by a solicitor but has responsibility in relation to considering the quality of service provided by the solicitor.”

Interestingly, the Law Society of Scotland leave out the fact the auditors of Scotland’s main courts, are actually members of the Law Society of Scotland, and that in effect, you have a solicitor adjudicating the fees of another solicitor, which is certainly not a model of independent scrutiny by any measure of the word.

It cannot be said the Law Society’s information on challenging solicitor’s fees inspires any degree of trust whatsoever, after the Law Society of Scotland has acted with such contempt against clients for decades when complaints have been made against not only crooked & negligent solicitors, but also those who on a regular basis, fiddle their legal fees to you, sky high.

Time for a much needed change on how solicitors fees are set and scrutinised, to ensure full and proper consumer protection from a money making system which currently runs itself without accountability to anyone.

My advice to readers : Faced with a high legal bill from your solicitor ? Publish it online, name the lawyer and the legal firm, and challenge the authenticity & accountability of their fees.

It’s now time to challenge those big legal bills from lawyers just as people have successfully challenged extortionate bank charges which have been taking place for years against consumers. Remember – it’s your money … and no one is unjustly entitled to it.

Injustice Scotland’s campaign to reclaim high legal charges :

Recover your money from lawyers extortionate charges campaign

Just for reference, here is the Law Society’s Press Release, which was passed onto me by a journalist who could hardly stop laughing at the prospect of a few lawyers losing their jobs …

There isn’t much thought about clients in the Law Society’s Press Release which focuses on the hardship of lawyers … but of course, hiking the fee notes to clients might help a few retain their jobs and luxuries at your expense …

SOCIETY COMMENTS ON CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE

Henry Robson, deputy chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “Legal firms, like many other businesses in Scotland, are feeling the effects of the current economic climate.

“The Law Society is monitoring the situation and while at present relatively few solicitors have informed us of being made redundant, we have had reports of support staff from firms across the country having lost their jobs, which is a real concern.

“The professional practice department is giving help and advice to solicitors who may yet be faced with losing their job or equally to solicitor employers who have never before been in the position of having to make people redundant.

The Law Society is just one of many organizations to be affected by the uncertainty of the property market and we have decided to delay plans to relocate.

“The legal profession is not only being affected by the economic situation, but also by changes in legislation. For example, the slowdown has come at a time when summary justice reforms are having a negative impact on the volume of criminal legal aid work.”

The Law Society’s president, Richard Henderson, has written to Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to raise concerns about the impact on the profession of the current economic downturn and there has also been a meeting with Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, to make strong representations about the potential detrimental effects of the plans to introduce Home Reports in December.

The Law Society is working on a number of initiatives to support solicitors, including holding a conference to provide information and business advice specifically for high street firms. The charity LawCare can also offer advice and support to solicitors facing difficulties.

The Law Society’s education and training department is also offering support to those concerned about traineeships.

Mr Robson added: “As the representative body for solicitors, and working closely with paralegal colleagues, we share the profession's concerns and will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide support to our members."

ENDS

so … lawyers will get all the help they need from the Law Society .. but clients will have to pay for it through the nose … inspiration to avoid using a solicitor who is a member of the Law Society of Scotland and a good argument again, to open up Scotland’s legal services market much quicker than Mr MacAskill seems to be willing to do …

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some good points but the banks were brought down on their charges by help from solicitors so you would have to get consumer organisations to take up a campaign against fees.That shouldn't be any trouble for you to achieve.

On the whole I believe your idea of an independent body looking at legal fees would be good for the profession.

It would cut out a lot of unnecessary arguments under the present system and take yet another blundering role away from the profession itself.

Catchy flyer.You might go far with that one !

Anonymous said...

When confronted by a large legal bill of approximately £10,000 from the defenders in a personal injury case I instructed the solicitors then representing me to lodge a motion to the Court of Session on basis you outline, that is, the clear potential for a serious conflict of interest arising given the Auditor of the Court of Session would be ruling on matters relating to a fellow professional's expenses.

My solicitors refused to submit the motion, claiming it was incompetent. When I suggested it was for the Court to decide this and I should at least be allowed the opportunity to present the motion and receive the Court's decision my solicitors threatened to withdraw if I insisted on submitting the motion.

Anonymous said...

Thanks I never knew there was a chance to dispute a bill from a lawyer.I will be watching what we get charged for a boundary dispute which has been going on for 3 years now.Our lawyer seems to be doing nothing except writing lots of letters to the other side which never get answered.

I would like to contact you please Mr Cherbi

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Cherbi.

I couldn't care less about lawyers losing their jobs,nor should you but I did put your information to good use this morning.
I have an account in from my solicitor for the sale of our house which comes to £3,549.
I called him at 11am and told him I wanted his fee sent to taxation after what I read on your blog.He told me there is no such procedure and I have to pay the bill.I then called a friend who works in the local Sheriff Court to be told there is an auditor of court and I am entitled to ask for the account to be looked at.
I found your email in a search and am sending you a scan of the account and a recording of the telephone call I made to my lawyer.Please use it as you see fit.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if I may enquire what problems you encountered with Sascha O'Hagan when you were with Balfour & Manson ?

Anonymous said...

Can someone please settle this troublemaker's case before he ruins us all.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Cherbi.

I wrote a comment in the morning which has not yet appeared.Anyway I received a call from my solicitor at 1230pm to inform me there is such a thing as taxation but he would be happy to discuss his fee and give me a discout as long as I dont involve you.
I assume he called around after I told him of what I read in this story today.
You may still use what I have sent you by email but I would be grateful if you would wait until I meet my solicitor on Monday morning and hear him out.
I think he is afraid of what will come out as I am sure he is overcharging me a lot for what he did.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure all lawyers will be overcharging their clients that much but I am sure most are doing so in some way or another.
You have an excellent idea with the challenge to legal fees.I'm sure there will be plenty takers as no one loves a lawyer anyway.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

I knew nothing of this auditing of a lawyers fees so thanks for the info.Why dont lawyers tell you this anyway and why are other lawyers involved in it.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff.The Law Society celebrate earning a few billion for themselves then hit us hard for more because house sales have slumped.What a bunch of scum and they don't deserve to get away with this.

Good luck with your campaign and hope people hit by this get their money back.

Anonymous said...

I agree ! Its time these lawyers were made to pay back all the money they hve robbed from people

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 9.19am

I'm sure consumer organisations and groups would like to do something along the lines I suggest, after all, fees in the legal services sector should be set appropriately rather than by an organisation which currently retains monopoly control over a person's access to justice.

Please pass the flyer around. The more people know they have a right to challenge their legal bills, the better.

# Anonymous @ 10.34am

That sounds like blackmail from your solicitors. You have the right to lodge that motion and it is grossly unfair of them to threaten to withdraw from acting for you if you do so.

However, since they have already threatened to withdraw, they were presumably just waiting for such an excuse, indicating your legal agents were never on your side to begin with ...

# Anonymous @ 11.08am

You can contact me through my profile page or by making a comment marked "do not publish"

# Anonymous @ 11.39am

Thanks, I have received your email & attachments, I note your further comment and will hold off using it until I hear from you.

I wish more people would record their meetings or conversations with their lawyers. Life would be a lot easier in terms of progressing complaints and exposing crooked members of the legal profession.

# Anonymous @ 11.54am

Many problems - please contact me further.

# Anonymous @ 12pm

No, no one will settle my case because the Law Society of Scotland have constantly hounded me to ensure it was never settled ... just as they do with many clients as can be seen from stories I have reported.

# Anonymous @ 1.12pm

I agree.Its up to people to reclaim their money, where they have been presented with fraudulent accounts for poor work.

# Anonymous @ 1.18pm

I assume lawyers don't tell clients much about it because if they did, most clients would probably challenge their solicitors fees.

Writing 4 lines on A4 at £130+VAT for a letter which achieves nothing (especially in one recent case where someone's lawyer wrote 22 such letters at that price on a dispute over £400) certainly needs to be challenged I think.

The legal profession might have business protecting consumers, but they have no business fleecing consumers.

Anonymous said...

"Writing 4 lines on A4 at £130+VAT for a letter which achieves nothing (especially in one recent case where someone's lawyer wrote 22 such letters at that price on a dispute over £400) certainly needs to be challenged I think."

Please send that lawyer to jail !

Anonymous said...

This is a ridiculous idea.

If you had spent 8 years at university studying to be a solicitor you would expect to make a little profit wouldn't you ?

What harm is there in charging clients what we like for professional services they wouldn't get anywhere else.

Most people who come to solicitors are the dregs of society anyway so why should we sit at our desks or stand in court and deal with scum for nothing.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please settle this troublemaker's case before he ruins us all.

I SECOND THAT !

Anonymous said...

The solicitor who was mentioned as writing 22 letters at £3360 should have his/her practising certificate taken away and their firm's accounts audited.I suspect more than one client will have suffered this appalling treatment.

Anonymous said...

If lawyers are getting all this help from the Law Society why isn't the Scottish Government helping the public.

I am getting fed up hearing about crooked lawyers.Its time someone did something about them really

Anonymous said...

Taxation at the Court of Session is a joke,worse now I know the auditor of court is also a lawyer.

I really wonder why people bother using lawyers these days.they will rip you off the first chance they get and that is usually as soon as you employ them.Buyer beware?

Anonymous said...

I don't like lawyers so all this is good news to me.
Keep writing your stories Peter its fantastic stuff and I don't know anyone who can write about lawyers liek this.You must have been through a hell of a torture with them so get some back for yourself and everyone else!

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to be retiring before the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission starts work.Why is that?

Anonymous said...

Count me in Mr Cherbi.

I have a Painting & Decorating business which is under attack from my lawyer just because we disputed his 4k account.He is a crook and he seems to have many friends in the legal world who are willing to help him including a few bully policemen who have started harassing my employees on his say so.
Anything you can do to expose creeps like him and his cronies is good news to me.

Anonymous said...

Peter! You naughty but oh so truthful friend, my it took you just, but a wee short while, but yes you got it in one!
Do you believe I do believe you are talking about me!
FKD by our own lawyers, FKD by the Scottish Legal Aid and FKD by the System, which of course is set up to screw the best out of the most vulnerable and the most innocent of clients, lets just update the names of rogue lawyers and TC are just the tip of a hierarchy!!
yOU know me as LB,
Just coming out................:)

Disgusted with lawyers said...

Anonymous said...

This is a ridiculous idea.

If you had spent 8 years at university studying to be a solicitor you would expect to make a little profit wouldn't you ?

What harm is there in charging clients what we like for professional services they wouldn't get anywhere else.

Most people who come to solicitors are the dregs of society anyway so why should we sit at our desks or stand in court and deal with scum for nothing.

3:13 PM

Oh really ? Are you trying to justify fraud ?

Well from your attitude it looks like lawyers are the dregs of society and why should we bow to you bunch of crooks when we need legal representation.

Did you go to university to learn to defraud all your clients ? Was that your motive ? You sound like you probably rip off a few of your clients if you are a lawyer so maybe a spell in prison miught help you ?

You really show us what lawyers are!Disgusting attitude fit for the gutter!

Anonymous said...

fair enough people need to save money so why shouldnt we know which lawyers rip us off the most

cars got it insurance got it banks got it now its the turn of lawyers so just natural really and we all know lawyers really do rip us off !

Anonymous said...

Good headline and I admire your tenacity on these crooked lawyers.

Keep up the good fight and let everyone know they should be due money back from their thieving lawyer !

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 3.02pm

My sentiments exactly, and there will be a few like him too who should be heading there ...

# Anonymous @ 3.13pm

So you did all that studying to be a thief at the end of the day ? Shame on you ! Going to University doesn't entitle you to steal from your clients, despite what some solicitors have argued at the Law Society.

# Anonymous @ 4.19pm

I agree, jail is preferable though, along with full public exposure.

# Anonymous @ 9.11pm

Perhaps because they fear their actions will have to be accounted for some day ?

I don't think any of these people should be let off the hook just because they are retiring.

# Anonymous @ 10.11pm

If you could email me some more details of your case, and try to record what people are doing to you by way of harassment.

# Anonymous @ 10.44pm

Thanks ... yes, it's about time for a full public exposure of your case and all the personalities that go with it ... I'm ready !

# "Disgusted with Lawyers" @ 11.34pm

I agree entirely with your comemnt.

# Anonymous @ 1.40pm

Remember to publicise the issue so more people decide to do something about it.

# Anonymous @ 3.05pm

I will, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers leech off clients and clients want their money back.NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT !

Anonymous said...

Having read many of the comments on your blog I am disgusted with solicitors in Scotland.Obviously they are all the same and deserve all the bad publicity they get.
The comment from one who thinks studying to become a lawyer entitles someone to be a thief is a sad indictment of what must be very poor standards of ethics in Scotland.

atiking said...

Entertaining to see lawyers get a kicking and from what they get up to.

I think my dad has had a problem with a big demand from his lawyer so I will let him know all about this story and your campaign.

Anonymous said...

Disgraceful lawyers are allowed to get away with this.I would have said the SNP will do something about it but isn't Kenny MacAskill a lawyer too?

He will be too interested in protecting his friends backs in that case to help anyone.

Anonymous said...

I am another of the ignorant ones who knew nothing about taxing lawyers fees.I will be asking for mine to be send to the auditor too and will send you a copy to publish it.
Maybe we should all publish our legal bills as you say.It will let people know who are the most expensive lawyers around !

Anonymous said...

Not all solicitors studied hard at University to steal from their clients and I resent anyone from the profession who takes such a view.

Anonymous said...

Goody ! About time someone suggested this.

Now that everyone is suing all these bloody rip off industries in the UK its time that lawyers got it in the neck too.

BRILLIANT MR CHERBI KEEP IT UP.

recover OUR money said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2493298/Millions-to-sue-energy-firms-for-overcharging.html

LAWYERS NEXT PLEASE !

Anonymous said...

great idea ! i bet there are a lot of lawyers who added fake expensesnto their bills but now its time to be found out !

Anonymous said...

Johnson's law: Systems resemble the organizations that create them.

Anonymous said...

I write to correct some errors in your article. Neil Crichton, Auditor of the Court of Session WAS a solicitor. He is not a practising solicitor at present and is not registered with the Law Society of Scotland - if you had checked their website you would have found this. He must have a law degree and have practised for a certain number of years in order to be able to understand the nature of the post.

The Auditor of Court at Glasgow Sheriff Court is not a solicitor, nor is the one at Aberdeen Sheriff Court. The two Auditors of Court at Edinburgh Sheriff Court are practicising solicitors.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 2.40pm

Thanks for your correction.

Could you tell my readers which insurers provide Mr Crichtons Professional Indemnity Insurance cover for his work as Auditor of the Court of Session ?

I also have a query from an interested party you may be able to answer :

Has Mr Crichton at any stage of his term as Auditor of the Court of Session declared a previous working relationship with legal firms during his term as a solicitor where he was later (as Auditor of the Court of Session) asked to 'tax' those same legal firms accounts to clients ? If so, how many times did he do so ?

Anonymous said...

Looks like you shut up Mr Crichton's spin doctor, Peter.Good work.Your question and points are excellent.
I take it there are some things you know more than people are willing to admit.

Anonymous said...

In response to the LSOS comment that you quote "The Law Society of Scotland does not have the power to consider the amount of fees charged by a solicitor but has responsibility in relation to considering the quality of service provided by the solicitor"
- I quote from The Scottish Law Directory - Fees Supplement 2004 (a small handbook published by LexisNexis) Table of Fees for General Business (approved by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland)
Chapter 1 General Regulations:
1. Purpose of Table ... is to recommend charges for professional services rendered by solicitors in Scotland except insofar as presecribed under statute. The term "solicitor" includes a firm of solicitors and an incorporated practice.
2. Methods of charging (a) .... Fees which are unreasonably high would not be upheld at taxation and may amount to professional misconduct. ... A solicitor must be able to justify his fee, not only to the client but to an auditor at taxation."

"Chapter 2 - Form of accounts and Taxations
1. The form in which a solicitor presents an account is a matter for the solicitor's personal preference but if the person liable to pay requires details, the solicitor must give a narrative or summary sufficient to indicate the nature and extent of the work done. .... No charge may be made for preparing the note of fee ofr for the provision of such information. However, if the paying party insists on a fully itemised account they should be advised that it will be prepared at their expense.
(b) If the paying party is still dissatisfied the solicitor must inform them of the availability of taxation and the procedure. If the payer requests a taxation the solicitor may have a fully itemised account prepared. The full account may be submitted for taxation even if it is for a greater amount than the note of fee. "

WARNING - DANGER - WARNING
That last sentence is a very important little item. According to "the doctrine of settled accounts" if a client has paid an account in full, as invoiced by a fee note, then the solicitor cannot get his account increased at taxation, but this does not apply if the fee note has gone unpaid!!!!! In the event of payment having been made, however, the client being viewed as the disadvantaged party in light of the solicitor's presumed superior knowledge of what is right and proper as billing and the fiduciary nature of the office of agent - the client can have the solicitor's account reduced even if it has been paid in full.
I RECOMMEND TO ALL CLIENTS WHO WANT TO HAVE THEIR SOLICITOR'S ACCOUNT "TAXED" BY AN AUDITOR, THAT FIRST - YOU SEND (BY RECORDED DELIVERY) A CHEQUE WITH A COVER LETTER TO YOUR SOLICITOR TENDERING "PAYMENT IN FULL SETTLEMENT OF ALL WORK DONE". KEEP A PHOTOCOPY OF BOTH THE LETTER AND THE CHEQUE IN A SAFE PLACE FOR YOUR RECORDS (together with proof of postage by Recorded delivery) AND NEVER PART WITH THAT COPY (hand out photocopies of those items but keep the original Recorded Delivery receipt slip always).

N.B. there is a specified fee which the solicitor can charge for the production of an intemised "time & Line" account (referred to in Ch. 2.-1(a) above). It is regulated and the Auditor will only allow that amount (calculated on a per page of account basis). It is not a significant sum in respect of a £1,000 legal bill (some £50, with extra per page if it is a long bill).
The Auditor will charge a fee for the taxation (3-4% of account's value).
The Fees Supplement (available at any good local library) sets out guidance for what is reasonable for various items of work e.g.: correspondence, telepohone calls, copying, conveyancing, standard securities, Executry Estates and Trusts.
N.B.2. The Time and line account can sometimes be very revealing about what the little creep has been up to. Remeber - he must be able to justify each item in the account. In the Rules of the Court of Session there is a little observed Practice Note No. 3. of 1993. The Solicitor must "vouch" his entries by producing - an inventory of vouchers arranged in chronological order and numbered in accordance with the entries in the account - at the diet of taxation (at which the paying party must attend to be able to exercise his further rights in respect of objections procedure). If you attend you can ask to see any "correspondence" or "note of telephone call" or such like, that evidences the entries in the account. It can sometimes be most enlightening.

N.B.3. If you've signed or written any agreement regarding fees or hourly rate, then this will supercede / override any of the Table(s) of Fees.

Good luck everyone - try and keep them honest.