Law Absolute - Recruitment specialists

Senior lawyer calls for an end to hourly billing

17th May 2012

Lord Neuberger, one of the most senior judges in Britain, has criticised the practice of hourly billing in litigation cases, saying that it ‘incentivises inefficiency’.

In a speech to the Association of Costs Lawyers, the Master of the Rolls said that he believes change is needed for the industry to focus more on the market rather than the individual.

The judge noted that the rise of the Alternative Business Structure model should help to establish a fairer and more positive billing system, with fixed fees and contingency-based agreements becoming the widely accepted methods.

A number of other leading lawyers have reacted negatively to Lord Neuberger’s comments, however, stating that it is not the place of the judiciary to interfere with the way private firms conduct their business.

Lord Neuberger’s views will be greeted with interest by those involved in law recruitment as the system he is proposing could lead to widespread change in the way new solicitors operate.