ACTING Chief District Court Judge Gould continued to ask the controversial question about lawyers' fees yesterday as he set dates for forthcoming trials. He said although he was still considering submissions on the topic from Clive Grossman QC, it was agreed it was not improper to ask lawyers to reveal how much they were paid. The judge said counsel had argued that asking the question was not wrong, but obliging lawyers to answer was. As he had reserved his decision until November 24, the judge said any lawyer who did not want to disclose his fees was welcome to say so and the case in question would be adjourned until after his ruling. He said he made this point in case anyone might be offended that he was continuing to ask this 'apparently impertinent question' pending judgment. Judge Gould is attempting to cut the waiting time for trials by ensuring there are no delays caused by defendants coming to court and asking for adjournments on the grounds they cannot afford lawyers. Several lawyers gave him the information he requested but, for a lengthy trial listed for 40 days, he was told no estimate had been given to the defendant. He accepted an undertaking from the barrister, Kevin Egan, that, if he were to withdraw from the case due to non-payment of fees, he would give the court at least one month's notice. When, in two separate cases, the Crown failed to produce information needed by the court or the defence, the judge said he wished he had the power to order the Crown to pay costs for wasting time. He adjourned both cases for two weeks.