Judge queries Cambridge's 'luxury' Lawyers

December 3, 1999

A High Court judge has criticised Cambridge University for spending unnecessary sums on legal representation in its battle against lecturer Gill Evans and then demanding that she pays for it.

Cambridge had sought to recover legal costs from Dr Evans after she failed to win a court injunction to stop Cambridge considering her case for promotion, claiming bias against her. Costs were awarded against Dr Evans, who earns Pounds 29,000 a year and who represented herself in the case.

But Lord Justice Waller, in a written judgment delivered last month, granted Dr Evans leave to appeal against the costs. "One might be surprised to see a brief fee for Pounds 1,950 for a two-hour hearing in Cambridge," he said. "The matter, however, did not stop there."

Cambridge ignored the original judge's advice not to bother sending expensive counsel to hear the judgment, which was delivered the day after the hearing. This increased costs by another Pounds 4,000, including a Pounds 950 "refresher" for the barrister, which Mr Justice Waller said "raises an eyebrow, to say the least".

"The question seems to me to arise as to whether it was appropriate, on what

ultimately turned out to be a hopeless

application by Dr Evans, that it should have attracted London solicitors of the size that the university chose to instruct, or whether that was a luxury which, to some extent, they should fund themselves."

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