LAWFUEL – See The Just Released ‘NZ Law Jobs Report’ – Building and Construction Minister Clayton Cosgrove says he is deeply concerned for leaky homes victim Colleen Dicks who is reportedly facing huge bills from lawyers and consultants in the wake of her successful court settlement.
Mrs Dicks was awarded $250,900 by the High Court over her leaky homes dispute, but is reportedly now facing bills of more than $261,000 from her lawyer and consultants.
“My heart goes out to Mrs Dicks who fought hard to get compensation from the cowboys who built and inspected her leaky home,”
Mr Cosgrove said he is advised that negotiations are currently underway over the level of costs awarded by the court, but despite this, he has concerns about the size of the bills being charged by Mrs Dicks’ lawyers and advisors.
“As Mrs Dicks said on TV One New tonight she honestly believed that when she was told she would receive costs at the end of the court trial that she would receive 100 per cent. This brings into question the advice she has received from her lawyers.
“Now she has had large bills dropped on her by her lawyer. Mrs Dicks might want to consider asking the Law Society to investigate if the advice she has received is accurate and the bills are fair and reasonable.”
“This kind of gaming of the dispute resolution process is precisely why the Government has set up the Weathertight Homes Tribunal to minimise gaming by the lawyers and give owners of leaky homes a cheaper and faster alternative to the courts system.”
“People who own a leaky home do have a choice, which is to take a claim to the Tribunal or to seek compensation through the courts,” Mr Cosgrove said.
Mr Cosgrove said that the average time to resolve a claim under the newly revamped Weathertight Homes Resolution Service (WHRS) was expected to drop from 14 months under the old system down to 9 months, by the adoption of a more investigatory system where the Tribunal Members are in charge of the process and there are penalties for lawyers and others holding up the dispute resolution process.