Meanwhile the legal ombudsman has put a shot across the bows of solicitors trying to market themselves by revealing that a legal firm, unnamed, charged an unnamed wife going through a divorce £4,000 for photocopying, aggressively chasing her for the money when she was unable to pay.

Given that an A4 black and white copy costs around 1p to produce, and the on-street price is around 10 pence this could represent a massive 40,000 copies at 10p, or 4000 copies at £1 each, or 1000 copies at £4 each, or 100 copies at £40 each. Whatever, the ombudsman service felt it was “extortionate” and ordered the unnamed firm to waive the charge, along with another £11,000 worth of fees.

There is a view that the legal ombudsman service, which claims to be independent and impartial would be taken more seriously as a watchdog with real teeth if they named all the solicitors they investigated and published their adjudications, like the Advertising Standards Authority does, in the public interest. After all if we are looking to appoint a legal eagle it would be helpful to know which ones had form in the overcharging department. It’s just a matter of something being paid for by taxpayers being transparent.

For those with a dispute of any kind that they want, or are forced to settle with our legal friends it is still worth remembering the very old image of one party pulling at the head of the cow, the other pulling at the tail, and the happy solicitor in the middle, milking it.

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