Celebrity divorce lawyer overcharged client

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The Independent Online

He is a hard-bargaining celebrity divorce lawyer who runs a Mayfair firm where the cost of his services reflects the wealth of his clientele.

He is a hard-bargaining celebrity divorce lawyer who runs a Mayfair firm where the cost of his services reflects the wealth of his clientele.

But Raymond Tooth, who has acted for the likes of Sadie Frost, former wife of the actor Jude Law, and the ex-wives of Eric Clapton and Michael Barrymore, has received an unfavourable verdict on his fees: that he overcharged a client.

Sears Tooth solicitors in central London, where Mr Tooth, 64, is a senior partner, has been ordered to refund Olga Spasic, £12,000 from a bill of £67,000.

A hearing at the Supreme Court Costs Office was told that Ms Spasic was billed for unnecessary letters, phone calls and meetings. A meeting which lasted three hours and five minutes was billed at £1,233, plus £533 for an hour and 20 minutes of travelling and waiting.

Ms Spasic, 45, who was left with no income or home after her legal fees, warned other women to represent themselves or opt for free legal advice. She divorced her husband in 1993 after a two-year marriage.

Mr Tooth, who is expected to appeal against the decision, said in an interview with the London Evening Standard: "If she wanted me to handle the case, she has to pay my charges. She ... ignored our advice. She's her own worst enemy, I'm afraid."

Ms Spasic launched her challenge by teaching herself law from library books.