Terms of Business & Costs Information
Our fees are calculated on the basis of the time spent working on your case. Our hourly rates for Solicitors and Fee Earners are as follows:
|Managing Director||£300/hour + VAT|
|Director / Solicitor-Advocate||£250/hour + VAT|
|Solicitor / Crown Court Clerk||£175/hour + VAT|
|Trainee Solicitor||£150/hour + VAT|
These rates apply to attendances, preparation and advocacy. Routine letters/emails written on your behalf and routine telephone calls, made and received, will be charged as units of a tenth of an hour. Longer letters or telephone calls will be charged on the basis of the time spent.
Travelling time and waiting time is charged at £110/hour + VAT, except for the Managing Director who’s rates are £150/hour + VAT. Mileage is charged at 50p per mile. Parking or fares are charged at the rate at which they are incurred.
There may be other expenses which you will have to pay in connection with your case. These might include fees for experts reports, enquiry agents fees and barristers fees. They are referred to as disbursements. VAT is payable on the majority of disbursements.
Every 12 months, on the 1st February, we review our hourly rates, to take account of any changes in our overhead costs. We will notify you in writing, of any increased rates.
At the start of case we will provide a written estimate based on the information we have about your case at that stage. This will be between a certain range of anticipated fees/disbursements. This estimate will be kept under continual review.
The costs for your case may be higher if, for example, the issues become more complex than originally expected. If this occurred, we would notify you in writing, and provide you with a revised estimate of our costs.
We will add VAT to our costs at the rate that applies, when the work is done. The rate of VAT is 20%.
We will require a payment on account of costs and disbursements at the outset of the case and before any court appearance. This enables us to commence important preparatory work. Further payment on account of costs/disbursements will be required when the sums paid are exhausted. You will receive interim bills from our Accounts Manager scheduling the work undertaken and the costs to date.
Prior to the conclusion of your case you will receive an invoice which will detail the costs incurred to date and the anticipated costs up to the conclusion of your case. These costs must be settled by you prior to your trial/final hearing.
We will invoice you for costs at regular intervals, unless otherwise agreed. Invoices should be paid within one month. If they are not, we may charge interest on the unpaid invoice. If you think your bill is incorrect, or have any enquiry about it, you should contact our Accounts Manager.
Payment can be made by credit/debit card, cheque, cash (up to £1000), or bank transfer. We are able to accept the majority of major credit or debit cards. However, we regret that we cannot accept payment by American Express.
Responsibility for costs
It is very important that you understand that you are responsible for paying our invoice(s).
If you are successful in defending the case, then you may be able to make an application to the Court for a Defence Costs Order.
The Court should grant this application provided that they are satisfied that you have not brought the proceedings upon yourself. If the Court does allow a Defence Costs Order, it will not cover all of our costs. For cases commenced on or after 1st October 2012 any legal costs contained within a Defence Costs Order are to be capped at Legal Aid rates. Please be warned that Legal Aid rates are significantly lower than private client rates. You could recover some of your costs of your defence, however you will be responsible for the balance of your costs which were not covered by the Defence Costs Order.
Please note that if you are instructing us on behalf of a limited company then the Court are not able to make a Defence Costs Order when the company is the defendant.
Our Accounts Manager will send a final invoice at the conclusion of the case. Any outstanding fees must be paid within 28 days. Where the Court has made a Recovery of Defence Costs Order our accounts manager will then pursue this application on your behalf. This usually takes several weeks for the National Taxing Team to process.
Terminating our retainer
You are entitled to terminate your instructions to us at any time. Please note would be entitled to keep your papers and documents until any costs and disbursements owing to us have been settled.
In certain circumstances, we may consider it necessary to stop acting for you. This might happen, for example, if a conflict of interests arose; if you did not give proper instructions to us as to how we should proceed; if payment of an interim bill or request for payment on account had not been made or if it became clear that you had lost confidence in the way your case was being handled.
If it were decided that we should not longer act for you, you would be charged for the work done to date, including any disbursements and VAT as set out above
We may require evidence of your identity and address. In such circumstances we would ask you to provide
- current passport
- current photocard driving licence
- National Identity card
AND one of the following items to prove your address:
- current photocard driving licence
- utility bill
- bank statement/building society passbook
- tenancy agreement
- house/motor insurance certificate
You must supply the original documents which will be photocopied. We will retain the copies and return the originals to you. If you do not provide the evidence of identity/address, we may have to decline to act for you or cease to act for you.
If we become aware that a party to the matter might have “criminal property”, for example the proceeds of tax evasion or benefits fraud, then we would have to make a report to the National Crime Agency. Were this to arise, such report would have to be made without notification to you, and the requirement for us to make that report would override the normal rule of client confidentiality.
It is the policy of this firm not to receive a payment or payments in cash totalling more than £1,000. We cannot agree to send money to a third party on your behalf unless the circumstances are fully explained to us.
Interest on monies held on your behalf
The company does not hold money in separate designated client accounts. The company does hold money in a general client account where payment is made on account of costs or disbursements to be incurred on a client’s behalf, in certain circumstances where the court has ordered the client to pay/repay monies in respect of compensation, or otherwise where the court has ordered monies to be paid/ repaid under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.Whenever the company holds money in general client account for you, or for a person funding all or part of your legal fees, the company will account to you or to that other person for a sum in lieu of interest calculated as set out below:
The company will not pay a sum in lieu of interest:
- If the amount calculated is £20 or less;
- (i) If a sum of money is held not exceeding the amount shown in the left-hand column below for a time not exceeding the period indicated in the right-hand column below:
(ii) If the company holds a sum of money exceeding £20,000 for one week or less, unless the Directors in their absolute discretion consider that it is fair and reasonable to account for a sum in lieu of interest having regard to all the circumstances.
- On money held for the payment of counsel’s fees, once counsel has requested or agreed to a delay in settlement;
- On money held for the Legal Aid Agency;
- If there is a written agreement to come to a different arrangement.
Where sums of money are held intermittently during the course of acting for you and the sum in lieu of interest calculated for any one period is £20 or less, a sum in lieu of interest will still be paid if the Directors in their absolute discretion consider it to be fair and reasonable in the circumstances to aggregate the sums calculated in respect of the individual periods.
We will not recalculate interest and will not account to you for any further interest arising due to your failure to present a cheque to your bank for payment. Furthermore, we reserve the right to make a further administrative charge for any further work carried out as a result of any failure on your part to present a cheque for payment.
Amount of Interest
The sum payable to you in lieu of interest for money held in the company’s general client account will be calculated on the balance or balances held for the whole period for which the cleared funds are held at a rate not less than the rate of interest payable on the RBS NatWest Client Deposit Manager account from time to time.