Factors to consider and payment implications when instructing local agents for your ABWOR accounts

In line with the standard of taxation, you should instruct a local agent for representation before a tribunal at a distant location.  Where a firm has more than one place of business, a solicitor based in the office local to the tribunal should, where possible, represent the client before the tribunal.  If someone other than the acting solicitor can deal with the matter then a local solicitor is as well suited as any other and travelling costs would be less.  Such additional costs would probably be unreasonable and may be the subject of abatement.

You should take various matters into account in deciding whether to instruct a local agent:

  • the distance involved;
  • the nature and purpose of the hearing,
  • to what extent the case will be furthered by the solicitor’s personal attendance – for example, whether negotiations at the court could have been carried out earlier in a more economical manner such as phone or letter;
  • whether the attendance is of a formal nature since an agreement and a course of action, for example, adjournment, dismissal etc, has been reached;
  • the nature, gravity and complexity of the proceedings;
  • the availability of local agents.

If you have dealt with a number of other cases on the same day, thus diluting the travel costs, the personal attendance may not be an issue in the particular account.  However, a number of attendances, none of them justified, will not be enough to justify the additional travel costs.

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