A story of everyday corruption

I thought I’d give a little example of everyday corruption, something that happened whilst I was working in the law. Besides consumer credit work I also undertook liquor licensing. I was applying for a liquor licence for a well known clothing store on London’s Regent Street. As usual I recorded the time I spent on the file.

When the work was complete my boss asked what the value of the bill was – it was about £650, about 4 hours recorded time (and even that is not accurate because a 10 second phone call is recorded as 6 minutes). My boss freaked. He said “they’re a very wealthy company, you can charge more than that. Make it £2,000.” I did as I was instructed and sent my bill to the client. The client wrote back and asked me to justify why the bill was so large. I referred it back to my boss and asked him to sort it out.

This is the kind of low level, everyday corruption that goes in on the law, and no doubt every other profession. So it seeps up into parliament as well, where MPs tend to come from the professions. I am determined to try to change this culture.