Bonanza for barrister in BCCI courtroom battle

Gordon Pollock QC, one of the UK's most senior barristers, is believed to have pocketed £316,000 just for presenting his opening remarks in the BCCI court battle.

Gordon Pollock QC, one of the UK's most senior barristers, is believed to have pocketed £316,000 just for presenting his opening remarks in the BCCI court battle.

He stacked up 79 days, making his opening remarks the longest in English legal history.

He is already understood to have secured a £3m "brief fee" for the year's worth of preparation carried out prior to the case commencing. He will now be on a daily "refresher" rate, details of which are undisclosed.

However, most senior silks usually command refreshers of between £2,500 and £3,000 a day and insiders believe Mr Pollock, who is reputed normally to bill about £1,000 a hour for his advice, will be on a premium because of the importance of the case. That would put his daily rate at around £4,000.

Liquidators of the collapsed Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which are being represented by Mr Pollock and the law firm Lovells, are suing the Bank of England for £850m in damages. They accuse it of deliberate bad faith in the way it supervised the business. The Bank denies the allegations.

BCCI collapsed in 1991 owing more than £10bn to depositors and creditors.

Mr Pollock, who is committed to acting for the BCCI liquidators until at least 2005, first took to his feet on 13 January. The case is being heard by Mr Justice Tomlinson, a judge who helps oversee authorship of the commercial court's annually updated guidebook.

One rule says opening statements in "heavy cases" should be kept "very short".

After further legal submissions, the Bank's advisers - law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Nicholas Stadlen QC - will make their case. The Bank is expected to pay its advisers a total of more than £60m over four years defending the action.

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