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It's perfectly possible to tax something on the basis of how long it ought to have taken a reasonably competent lawyer to do the work involved. That is how it used to be done and why you can justify a higher rate for a more experienced lawyer - they ought to be able to do it quicker and hence the overall cost ought to be - broadly speaking - the same. But complexity of issues and value of the claim bear little or no relationship to each other. Either the losing party is ordered to pay the winning party's costs (subject to their reasonableness in choosing a competent lawyer rather than the one with the gold-plated taps in the washroom) or we go for the American model and say "You want the service, you pay for it". The present halfway house is the worst of all worlds.

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