40 minutes apparently. That’s the time it takes to get to and from Bath County Court from chambers in Bristol. Or at least my clerks tell me (to snorts of derision from me) that this is all the LSC say I can claim. There is a list that tells them so.
Lets assume that we ignore the 10 minute fast paced walk between chambers and Bristol Templemeads. Let’s say for the sake of argument that this is not something I should be able to bill for. The train journey itself is between 11 and 15 minutes depending on which service you catch. The walk from the station to the court is 10 minutes at a fairly fast clip. I make the total time to and from Templemeads no less than 42 minutes. This does not allow for the time it takes to buy a ticket, the inevitable wait at the station on the return leg for a train to arrive (often 10-20 mins) and the 20 minutes to and from the starting station. And of course it does not factor in delays and cancellations. The reality is that this journey usually takes up around an hour and a half of my day. It is simply not possible to complete this journey in 40 minutes even if services run smoothly, and the LSC must know this.
It may seem like pedantry to quibble over a few minutes of travel time, but it does add up. And I sort of feel that if a payment for travel time doesn’t actually relate to the time spent travelling it would be better to add a fixed amount to the fee and ditch the travel claim altogether so we all know where we are.
If the LSC expects counsel to jog to and from court perhaps it could circulate a memo to that effect, and whilst they are at it they could amend the SIP form to include a claim for the cost of running shoes. It brings a new meaning to ‘fitness to practice’.