Communiqué Me Kailash Trilochun:
To stem the slanderous perspective that the fees paid to me by the ICTA is taking, this communiqué precedes the public disclosure that I intent to make on the 3rd of September 2016 to the press.
I have appeared before the Privy Council on several occasions and some of my cases are now landmark cases that have influenced the course of justice in Mauritius and many other jurisdictions.
- All my actions initiatives and strategies are framed by parameters enshrined in the Code of Ethics of Barristers which lay emphasis on transparency, fairness and reasonableness of fees taking into consideration the complexities of a case.
- The case under reference is the Emtel v 1. ICTA, 2. Mauritius Telecom, 3. Cellplus and the 4. Ministry of ICT.
- The facts of this case go back to more than 20 years and parties and lawyers have been thus involved for all these years to the exception of the ICTA whose interest were being looked after by the State Law Office. After more than 16 years involvement backed out on literally the eve of the trial invoking potential conflict of interest.
- The other exception is that the leading counsel for Mauritius Telecom was appointed as a Minister in December 2014 and was replaced.
- This is how as legal adviser of the ICTA duly appointed by the Board I was asked to appear in this case.
- The following conditions prevailed:
- The case was fixed for 40 consecutive day’s hearing;
- I had 24 days before trial to understand and prepare the case and to communicate the documents that the ICTA intended to rely on to prove its defence against a claim of more than Rs. 1.1 billion.
- In a nutshell I was asked to compress more than 20 years of case history consisting of more than a thousand documents in many more thousand of pages in an area of law which has never been taken before the Mauritian courts and all this in such a short span of time.
- I was left with no other option than to constitute a team that would work towards defending the interest of the ICTA. The Board was informed accordingly and accepted my proposal to build up a team in that perspective.
- When it came to the quantum and method of payment, my proposed fee packet led to my unequivocal revocation as legal adviser of the ICTA. The public may wish to note that the initial fee that I had proposed was waaay below the 19 million so much talked about.
- According to my information, another barrister was instructed to take over the case after I was revoked. I am given to understand that his quoted fee was substantially higher than what I had quoted. I know for a fact that he made a motion for the case to be postponed to enable him to prepare the case. However, the judge rejected his request on the grounds that this case had dragged for too long.
- This led to a high level meeting, some 3 weeks after my revocation, whereby the following was discussed and agreed:
- That I be reinstated as the legal adviser of the ICTA and to continue the work previously initiated by myself pertaining to this case;
- That the billing method be that of an hourly rate;
- That the hourly rate will be similar to that charged by some lawyers in the same case.
- In a mail sent by me on the 21st of March 2016, I confirmed all the points above and requested that proper procedures be followed for my reinstatement and warned that the proposed fee calculating method may not be in the interest of the ICTA as it would be substantially higher than my previously proposed fee packet.
- My warning was ignored.
- The ICTA and I agreed that a minimum of 16 hours a day will be put into the case in order to attempt to meet the deadline already imposed and maintained.
- Having accepted the brief and having discharged my duty to warn the ICTA that the proposed fee calculating method may cost more I had no choice that to accept the terms and conditions of my instructions.
- I billed for the work done and I was paid on behalf of the team of lawyers as per the terms and conditions of the ICTA Board.
- In no uncertain terms will I make any apology for the fees charged for this case.
- I reserve my rights to seek redress for all harm and prejudice caused to me from the slanderous tone with regard to what has been written and said so far.S. Kailash Trilochun
16th of August 2016.