If it is not possible to offer you a fixed fee for the work required, we will inform you of the hourly rates of each individual who will be working closely with you on your matter to achieve the outcome you require. The hourly rates of our staff depend on the level of experience and qualifications they have.
Our current hourly rates are set out below. We will add VAT (if applicable) to these at the VAT rate that applies when the work is undertaken. At present, the VAT rate is 20%.
Solicitors, Partners and legal executives with over 8 years of equivalent experience
£450 + VAT
Solicitors or legal executives and fee earners with over 4 years of equivalent experience
£410 + VAT
Solicitors or legal executives and fee earners of equivalent experience
£260 + VAT
Trainee Solicitors, paralegals and other fee earners
£210 + VAT
These rates will apply to all work undertaken by this firm, including debt collection matters and tribunal claims. We will provide you with costs estimates of dealing with your matter at every stage (where possible). Where circumstances change which have an impact on the cost estimate, we will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable of the change and the revised estimate which will be provided to you in writing.
Our hourly rates are reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally these rates are reviewed and, if necessary, will take effect from 1 January each year. In addition to the time spent, we may take into account a number of factors, including the need to carry out work outside our normal office hours, the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, and any particular specialist expertise which the case may demand. An increase in the rates may be applied to reflect such factors.
In litigation matters, our charges are calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors and other staff in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This may include meetings with you and perhaps others; reading, preparing and working on papers; making and receiving telephone calls, e-mails, text messages; preparation of any detailed costs estimates, schedules and bills; attendance at court; and travel expenses.
Routine letters, e-mails and texts that we send and routine telephone calls that we make and receive are charged at one-tenth of the hourly rate. Other letters, e-mails and calls are charged on a time spent basis.
We will provide you with a cost estimate at the outset of your matter, depending on the information you provide to us at the time. However, should it become apparent at any time during the course of the matter that significant further work will be required, or if any difficulties have arisen which might cause an increase in our fees, we shall promptly inform you and provide you with a revised estimate. We will review our fees as the matter progresses and notify you in writing of any increases.
If time is spent on the matter outside of our normal business hours (08.30 to 18.00) on an urgent basis, we reserve the right to charge you at our premium rates.
Generally, for recovery of an undisputed debt for a value under £100,000.00, we would charge in the region of £5,000.00 – £25,000.00 plus VAT (excluding enforcement and any post judgment work, e.g., winding up or bankruptcy).
Our Fees include:
- Taking your instructions and reviewing documentation;
- Undertaking appropriate searches;
- Sending a letter before action;
- Receiving payment and sending this to you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing the claim;
- Where no Acknowledgment of Service or Defence is received, applying to the Court to enter a Judgment in Default; and
- If the debt has not been collected within a reasonable period (not less than 30 days), we will provide you with advice on the next steps and the likely costs of enforcement.
The types of issues which impact our costs and timescales of debt recovery matters include:
- Having clear information and documents when requested;
- If the matter is defended and/or any response is received from the debtor;
- Whether a contractual process, a claim protocol or insolvency procedure needs to be followed;
- Administration and processing times of the relevant court;
- Whether there are any negotiations taking place between the parties;
- If enforcement action is required and in what methods; and
- Drafting and negotiating a payment plan and/or settlement agreement if agreed with the debtor.
Please see below a non-exhaustive list of the disbursements you may need to pay in order to recover a debt:
- Process Server fees;
- Court fees;
- Photocopying fees; and
- Counsel’s fees.
Depending on the value of the debt (and whether it is disputed or not), we may wish to instruct counsel on your behalf (and with your approval) to assist with tasks such as drafting pleadings and conducting advocacy in the courtroom at a hearing.
For undisputed debts, the first step will often be to serve a statutory demand on the debtor. We will usually instruct a Process Server to serve the statutory demand. Typically, process server’s fees will be in the region of £100.00 – £200.00 plus VAT depending on the location of the debtor.
Residential Conveyancing & Commercial Property
We often charge fixed fees for the conveyancing of residential and commercial property matters.
We will provide you with a bespoke fee quotation before we begin working with you. The following is for guideline purposes only and does not constitute a legally binding quotation.
Fixed fees are given in good faith, but unless otherwise agreed, our fees may be higher than the initial quotation should it become apparent at any time during the course of the matter that significant further work will be required.
Please note, we can also assist in the preparation of the below listed documents which are commonly found in property transactions:
- Agreement for Lease: The fee scale multiplied by 1.25;
- Ancillary documents to a Lease above (notably licences for alteration and rent deposit deeds) – £750.00 plus VAT;
- Short-term licence: £1,500.00 plus VAT;
- Deed of Surrender: £1,500.00 plus VAT;
- Stand-alone Licence for Alterations, Underletting or Assignment, AGA, Rent Deposit Deeds etc – £1,000.00 plus VAT each (this is usually payable by the tenant);
- Lease by reference to an existing lease (renewal lease): 50% off the fee calculated by the fee scale;
- Fee for service of a Section 25 Notice and triggering a break notice – £750.00 plus VAT;
- Fee for Schedule of Dilapidations: £750.00 plus VAT (this is usually payable by the tenant); and
- Interim Schedule with a Section 146 Notice – £750.00 plus VAT.
These prices reflect a simple arm’s length freehold property sale/purchase with no charges/restrictions contained on the title. Please note, however, in preparing our fee quotation for your transaction, the factors we will consider include, but are not limited to, the following:
- New Builds;
- Leasehold Properties;
- Unregistered land;
- Age restricted property;
- Shared ownership;
- Listed Properties;
- Additional land law advice (including use of land and overage);
- Indemnity Insurance (other than chancel policies);
- Help to Buy Mortgage and/or Help to Buy ISA;
- Deed of Variation and/or Lease Extension;
- Price Retention;
- Solar Panel Lease;
- Non-leasehold Restrictions on Title;
- Gifted Deposits;
- Transfer of Freehold Ancillary to a Leasehold Transaction;
- Buy to Let Purchase or Re-mortgage; and
- Unusual buildings (e.g., waterfront, windmills, listed, eco build etc.)
Please tell us from the outset of the transaction, if any of the above factors are likely to apply, so that we can provide an accurate quote. If we are unexpectedly required to advise you on any of these issues in the course of the transaction, we reserve the right to revise our quotation to reflect the additional time spent on your transaction (if these elements are applicable).
In addition to the work that we do, there will be additional costs for other things that you are likely to have to pay for when you are involved in a property transaction (these are called ‘disbursements’). Disbursements are fees charged by third parties for which you are liable, and we will calculate these for you when we provide a quotation. There are often few, if any, disbursements on a freehold sale, but in other transactions there may be many disbursements such as managing agents’ fees, search fees, Stamp Duty Land Tax, and Land Registry fees for registering a change of property owner.
Please note that timescales in dealing with probate matters can vary and below is a non-exhaustive list of steps which are likely to extend both timescales and costs:
- Conveyancing on sale of properties or transfers of title;
- Disposing of stocks, shares and investments;
- Dealing with any offshore jurisdictional assets or issues;
- Advising on intestacy;
- Advising on wills and their validity;
- Advising on potential claims;
- Dealing with trusts; and
- Dealing with HMRC enquiries/requisitions.
We will normally send you our bill on completion of the work, although if the transaction is protracted, we reserve the right to issue an interim bill.
It is normal practice to ask clients to pay interim bills and sums of money from time to time on account of the charges and expenses which are expected in the following weeks or months. We find that this helps clients in budgeting for costs as well as keeping them informed of the legal expenses which are being incurred. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, it can delay the progress of your case. In the unlikely event of any bill or request for payment not being met, this firm must reserve the right to stop acting for you further until such matters are resolved.
Our practice is to ask for money on account of costs and disbursements prior to acting. Payment is due to us within 7 days from the date the bill was issued. We reserve the right to charge interest on a daily basis at 10%.
The common law entitles us to retain any money, papers or other property belonging to you which properly come into our possession pending payment of our costs, whether or not the property is acquired in connection with the matter for which the costs were incurred. This is known as a ‘general lien’. We are not entitled to sell property held under a lien, but we are entitled to hold property, other than money, even if the value of it greatly exceeds the amount due to us in respect of costs.
If we are conducting litigation for you, we have additional rights in any property recovered or preserved for you whether it is in our possession or not and in respect of all costs incurred, whether billed or unbilled. We also have a right to ask the court to make a charging order in our favour for any assessed costs.
We accept payments by credit card, except AMEX, up to the value of £5,000.00. We do ask that all bills and payments on account are made by bank transfer. Our bank details will be provided to you privately. Please ensure that you quote our matter reference number when making payment so that we can ensure that the funds are promptly allocated to your matter and/or the invoice. WE WILL NEVER CHANGE OUR BANK DETAILS. Please ensure that you contact our offices before making any payments to verify our account details.
Other parties’ charges and expenses
It is important to understand that whatever the outcome of a case the liability for our costs remains with you.
If you succeed in your case, it is usual for the losing party to be ordered (in what is known as a “final order”) to pay your costs at the end of an action on what is known as the “standard basis” and for the costs to be assessed by the court by a process called detailed assessment. The law also allows you to claim interest on the cost’s payable from the date of the final order; provided your costs are assessed on detailed assessment at £5,000.00 or more.
The detailed assessment process involves a costs judge or officer looking at the file to determine how much the losing party should pay. The usual amount a costs judge or officer will order to be paid is between 65% and 80% of the actual costs, and you remain liable for the shortfall (of 20%-35%). In addition, if the losing party is not able to pay what the court has ordered them to pay, we will look to you to pay our costs. We will put any monies we receive from your opponent, whether in damages, costs or interest on costs, towards any of our fees that are unpaid at the time of receipt. If your opponent is legally aided, even if you win, you may not recover any of your costs and expenses. You will be responsible for paying the costs of seeking to recover costs that the Court has ordered your opponent to pay.
If you lose your case (or if you decide to discontinue it) it is usual for you to be ordered to pay your opponent’s costs on the standard basis. You may have an insurance policy which covers you for this and for this reason we ask you to let us have copies of your policies when you first instruct us so that we can check for you if this is the case. If you do not have such a policy, we recommend that you consider taking out insurance to cover your opponent’s costs in the event you lose. It is possible to take out a certain amount of cover to start off with and then increase it as the action goes on and your potential liability increases. If you take out insurance and you win, the court may allow you to recover the insurance premium from your opponent as part of your claim for costs. If you take out an insurance policy you will, of course, be bound by the terms and conditions of that policy. If you breach a term of the policy, the insurer may refuse to pay your opponent’s costs and responsibility for paying them will fall to you.
Interim hearings are hearings that take place on the way to trial. If you lose an interim hearing, you will usually be ordered to pay your opponent’s costs of that hearing within 14 days. If you do not pay, you may not be able to continue with your case. Similarly, if you win, your opponent will be ordered (usually) to pay your costs of the hearing within the same period. Often, costs at interim hearings are assessed summarily (i.e., on the spot at the hearing) without the court looking at the papers in detail. Therefore, the amount the court might order to be paid may be difficult to predict. If you are at risk of an adverse costs order at an interim hearing, we will give you the best information we can about your potential exposure to costs before the hearing takes place.
The courts are encouraging parties to resolve disputes by alternative dispute resolution. If you reject alternative dispute resolution and the matter proceeds to trial, at trial, the court will require you to justify that decision and will take that decision into account when making a costs order.
If unfortunately for some reason your instructions become abortive, we agree to an appropriate reduction on the fee estimate on a case-by-case basis. This will be calculated by us on a fair and reasonable basis and applies whether a fixed rate has been agreed or an hourly rate. Abortive fees are based on the work already carried out up until the time the transaction is aborted, but it will not be more than what was quoted. All abortive costs will also be in addition to any disbursements incurred.
Any money received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules 2019, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable on National Westminster Bank Plc’s Designated Client Accounts. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which funds are received by us until the date(s) money is sent to you from our Client Account.
Our Service Standards
We thrive to provide the best possible level of service to our clients. Our aim is to achieve the following standards:
- To return your telephone calls on the same day (if you cannot speak to the solicitor handling your case or another person at our firm when you call).
- To respond to urgent correspondence (however sent to us) within the same day depending on the time of day it was sent to us or the following working day.
- To respond to non-urgent correspondence (however sent to us) within two to three working days or to acknowledge receipt of the correspondence if it is not possible to respond within that time frame (sometimes we need more time to consider and prepare a response).
- To supply you with a copy of any correspondence or other documents that other persons or organisations send to us about your case within one to two working days of receipt (unless the material sent to us is purely routine).
- To confirm, in writing, your instructions to us within two to three working days of you providing them (or when you give further or different instructions).
- To confirm, in writing, any advice within two to three working days of providing it to you however this will depend on the complexity of the matter and whether research is required. If further time is required, we will (within this period) provide you with an estimated timeframe for the advice. There may also be occasions where an expert and/or counsel needs to be instructed which may result in the estimated timeframe of the advice being extended; we will continue to update you on the progress.
- To let you know when you can expect to hear from us after you have contacted or met with us.
- To keep you regularly updated on the progress of your matter.
- To let you know how long your matter will take and to inform you of deadlines and the likely consequences to you and others of them not being met, together with the consequences and/or sanctions which may be imposed by the Court and/or an agreement which has been entered into between the parties.
- You can help us to provide a better standard of service to you by:
- returning our phone calls if we are unable to speak to you;
- replying promptly if we write to you to ask for more information;
- providing us with any documentation within a stipulated period of time;
- ensuring that you adhere to any deadlines which have been set by the Court and/or in a transaction to ensure the smooth progression of you matter; and
- letting us know if you will be away on holiday or will be uncontactable for any period of time for any reason.
We sometimes obtain some of our work from third parties. In these circumstances, third parties will refer a client to us in return for us paying them a referral fee or sharing some of our fees with them. We will only accept such referrals where our professional judgement and independence are not prejudiced, and where your interests as a client are not affected in any way.
If we have entered into an arrangement with a third party who has referred or introduced you to us in return for us paying them a referral fee or sharing our fees with them, you will be informed of this. Where this is the case, we will confirm the arrangement and the amount of our fee that we are sharing with the third party or the amount of the referral fee that we will pay them in our Letter of Engagement.
Storage of papers and documents
We are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses (sometimes referred to as a solicitor’s lien). Once you have paid your final invoice and there are no further monies owing to us or any third parties instructed on your behalf, 15.2 and 15.3 of our Terms of Business will apply.
We are a firm that does not store physical files after the matter has come to a close. You are of course entitled to collect your physical papers should you so wish, and we will write to you at the end of your matter reminding you of this. However, if you choose not to, upon completion of your matter, all physical files will be scanned and converted into a digital format. Once converted, we will destroy (where applicable) all physical copies of the documents relating to your case.
In addition, your file (which includes documents, correspondence, emails and any other relevant information) relating to your matter will be electronically filed and digitally archived for a minimum period of 6 years. Should you wish to request a copy of your file, we will require a clear 28 day written notice period in which to provide you with this it. In agreeing to our Terms of Business, you agree that we have the right to destroy your electronic file after such period as we consider reasonable or to make a charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so. We will not of course destroy any documents such as wills, deeds and other securities, which you ask us to hold in safe custody. No charge will be made to you for such storage unless prior notice in writing is given to you of a charge to be made from a future date which may be specified in that notice.
If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may make a charge based on time spent at the junior executive hourly rate for producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions.
Financial services and insurance contracts
If, while acting for you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, as we are not so authorised.
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing.
We may stop acting for you only if we have reasonable grounds to do so, for example if you do not pay an interim bill, comply with a request for a payment on account or if you fail to provide us with instructions or fail to do so on a prompt basis. If we decide to stop acting for you, we must provide you with reasonable notice. If we decide to stop acting for you, we will inform tell you of the reason and give you notice in writing.
Under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, for some non-business instructions, you may have the right to withdraw, without charge, within seven working days of the date on which you asked us to act for you. However, if we start work with your consent within that period, you lose that right to withdraw. Your acceptance of these terms and conditions of business will amount to such consent. If you seek to withdraw instructions, you should give notice by telephone, e-mail or letter to the person(s) named in your Letter of Engagement. The Regulations require us to inform you that the work involved is likely to take more than 30 days.
When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company, we may require a director and/or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of the charges and expenses of this firm. If such a request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out above.
Any work that we do for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. We do not provide tax advice and are not qualified to do so. We strongly advise you to take separate advice on the tax implications of a transaction that you instruct us to carry out, or the likelihood of them arising. If you have any concerns in this respect, please raise them with us immediately as we may be able to identify a source of assistance for you.
Identity, disclosure, and confidentiality requirements
We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply appropriate proof of identity for yourself or for any principal whom you may represent. Our onboarding checks are carried out using a secure online platform, namely Legl.
Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of the client confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception: legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the National Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a disclosure. If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make such a disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that it has been made, or of the reasons for it, because the law prohibits ‘tipping-off’. Where the law permits us, we will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what action we may need to take.
Our firm may be subject to audit or quality checks by external firms or organisations. We may also outsource work. This might be for example typing or photocopying or costings, or research and preparation to assist with your matter. Information from your file may therefore be made available in such circumstances. We will always aim to obtain a confidentiality agreement with the third party.
In order to comply with court and tribunal rules, all documentation relevant to any issues in litigation, however potentially damaging to your case, have to be preserved and may be required to be made available to the other side. This aspect of proceedings is known as ‘disclosure’. Subject to this, we will not reveal confidential information about your case except as provided by our terms of business and where, for example, your opponent is ordered to pay your costs, we have to meet obligations to reveal details of the case to them and to the court.
Communication between you and us
We will aim to communicate with you by such method as you may request. We may need to virus check discs or email. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with others when appropriate by e-mail, but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail.
The UK GDPR requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you.
Where we act for two or more clients jointly, it is on the clear understanding that we are authorised to act on instructions from either, both or any of them.
We will update you by telephone or in writing with progress on your matter regularly. We will communicate with you in plain language. We will update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances.
We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of your matter and any important changes in those estimates. We will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.
If you are a company, we will assume that all of your employees, directors, officers and representatives who give us instructions are authorised to do so and that we may follow their oral instructions. If you instruct us as an agent for a third party, you warrant that you have the actual authority of that third party to do so.
Examination of our files and systems by third parties
We may be subject to inspection by various external organisations, i.e., the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We will obtain an assurance of confidentiality when any such inspection occurs, but please advise the person handling your matter if you would prefer for your file to be withheld from inspection for these purposes. Work on your matter will not be affected in any way if you would prefer to withhold consent.
Our liability to you for a breach of your instructions shall be limited to £3million, unless we expressly state a higher amount in the letter accompanying our terms of business. We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses, or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities.
We can only limit our liability to the extent the law will allow. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence. Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.
Our maximum aggregate liability to you in your matter will be £3million, including interest [and costs] unless we expressly state a different figure in our letter confirming your instructions. If you wish to discuss a variation of this limit, please contact the person dealing with your matter. Agreeing a higher limit on our liability may result in us seeking an increase in our charges for handling your matter.
We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about a bill, please contact our Complaints Handling Officer, Mr Hiten Patel, in the first instance by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like a copy of our Complaints Handling Policy, you may request it from Mr Patel.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, you may be entitled to ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint. Their full contact details are:
The Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
Telephone number: 0300 555 0333
Email address: email@example.com
Ordinarily you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint, and within 6 years of the act or omission from your complaint occurring (or if outside of this period, within three years of when you should reasonably have been aware of it).
Governing Law and Jurisdiction
Our terms and conditions are governed by and fall to be interpreted under English law. The English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute arising under or out of our terms and conditions.
For the purposes of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999, our contract is not intended to, and does not, give any person who is not a party to it the right to enforce any of its provisions.
Only the person(s) named as our client or clients in the letter accompanying our terms and conditions can rely on any advice or assistance or other work that we provide. If any information given as part of our advice, assistance or other work is revealed to a third party by you (or by us), you must then inform the third party that we accept no responsibility for it.
Terms and Conditions of Business
Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of current hourly rates, our terms and conditions of business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm. Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of our terms of business, it may not be possible for us to start work on your behalf until one copy of them has been signed and returned to us for us to keep on our file.
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