In the Media

Oil giant Total faces ?16m legal bill following Buncefield High Court trial

PUBLISHED May 6, 2009

Oil giant Total could be facing a legal bill of ?16million following the Buncefield High Court trial.

In his written judgement following a costs hearing in April, Justice David Steel says Total should pick up the tab for much of the trial on an 'indemnity' basis, a legal term that means costs are more punitive based on the weakness of defence arguments.

Mr Justice Steel says Total's in-house investigation into the 2005 incident showed the supervisor had been negligent but it did not admit fault for years afterwards.

"This was unreasonable to a marked extent sufficient to justify the award of the indemnity costs," he said.

In his judgement Mr Justice Steel expresses surprise at the size of the legal bill, referring to an 'army of lawyers' and commenting that fees in the three-month trial were running at ?250 a minute.