Legal costs are often a cause of anxiety for you and us.  We aim to provide clear and transparent information regarding costs.  Please note, that often there are items called disbursements, for example the costs of a process server, Court fees, costs of obtaining medical records etc, these are called disbursements and are separate to our costs.

There are three methods of funding legal advice and assistance:-

1. Legal Aid (also known as Public Funding) in the following matters:-

  • Children matters
  • Domestic abuse
  • Divorce and matrimonial matters

But see below for further details

2. Private paying:-

  • This is in a stage by stage approach, and so, you are not committed to an indefinite amount of costs for an indefinite amount of work.
  • There will be some cases for which a stage by stage approach is not appropriate, these will be more complex matters, and legal fees will be charged on an hourly basis.
  • All privately paying clients are able to discuss their fees with their solicitors.
  • This form of paying for legal advice applies to the following:-
    • Children matters
    • Divorce and matrimonial matters
    • Immigration

3. Conditional Fee Agreement

In personal injury or medical negligence matters legal advice and assistance will be paid by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as a No Win No Fee Agreement).

  • There is an agreement which will be provided if we agree to take on your case, and you will need to sign this.
  • We will also provide you with a fact sheet issued by the Law Society.
  • The agreement is a little complicated to understand, but the basic position is as follows:-
  • You do not have to pay money on account of costs.
  • The insurance policy we will take out will protect you against having to pay either your own disbursements (such as Court fees and Doctors’ fees), the other side’s costs and indeed the premium on the insurance policy itself.    This means that if the case is not successful you will not have to pay out anything.
  • We are not making any charge for having to wait for payment at the end of the case, nor for having to lay out disbursements during the course of the case.
  • The charging rates set out in the documents are those that the Courts currently allow when the other side are paying costs. However, should the Court for any reason allow a lower rate, then I will not look to you to pay the difference.
  • The success fee is based on my current estimate of the risk involved in taking on your case.  However, should the success fee be allowed at a lower rate, I will not look to you to pay the difference.

There will be circumstances where there could be a reduction from your damages, for example if you do not do something when you are asked to, such as attend an appointment or produce documents.  This will be discussed with you in a meeting.

LEGAL AID

Children Care Cases

Where the local authority make an application to Court, regarding your child, and you are a parent, you will be entitled to legal costs regardless of your income and the merits of your case.

Domestic Abuse Cases

If you are applying for a Non-Molestation Order, more commonly known as an Injunction, with or without an Occupation Order, you may be entitled to Legal Aid but the merits of your case will be taken into consideration and if you are working or have capital you can be asked by the Legal Aid Agency to make a one off or monthly payment.

Children

If you are seeking legal assistance or an Order from the Court, you will not be permitted Legal Aid unless you are the victim of domestic abuse and your case has some merit.  You will need to provide evidence of one of the following:-

(a)  The Opponent has a relevant unspent conviction for a domestic violence offence;

(b)  The Opponent has a relevant Police caution for a domestic violence offence given within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services.

(c)  Evidence of relevant criminal legal proceedings against the Opponent for a domestic violence offence which has not concluded.

(d)  A relevant protective Injunction against the Opponent which is in force or which was granted within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services.

(e)  An undertaking given in England and Wales under Section 46 or 63(e) of the Family Law Act 1996(a) (or given in Scotland or Northern Ireland in place of a protective Injunction) – (i) by the individual (“B”) within the Applicant for civil legal services with whom (“A”) was in a family relationship giving rise to the need for the civil legal services which are the subject of the application; and (ii) within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services provided that a cross undertaking was not given by (“A”).

(f)    Letter from the person appointed to chair a multi-agency risk assessment conference confirming that – (i) A was referred to the conference as a high risk victim of domestic violence and (ii) the conference has, within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services, put in place a plan to protect A from a risk of harm by B.

(g)  A copy of a finding of fact made in proceedings in the United Kingdom within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services, that there has been domestic violence by B giving rise to risk of harm to A.

(h)  A letter or report from a health professional confirming that the professional:-

i.         Has examined A within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services;

ii.         Was satisfied following the examination that A had injuries or a condition consistent with those of a victim of domestic violence; and

iii.         Has no reason to perceive that A’s injuries or condition were not caused by domestic violence.

(i)    A letter from a Social Services Department in England or Wales (or its equivalent in Scotland or Northern Ireland) confirming that, within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application A was assessed as being or at risk of being a victim of domestic violence by B (or a copy of that assessment).

(j)    A letter or report from a domestic violence support organisation in the United Kingdom confirming:–

i.         That A was, within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services, admitted for a period of 24 hours or more to a refuge established for the purposes of providing accommodation for victims of, or those at risk of, domestic violence;

ii.         The dates on which A was admitted to, and where relevant, left the refuge; and

iii.         That A was admitted to the refuge because of allegations by A of domestic violence.

Evidence that Children are at Risk

Any of the following are acceptable:-

(a)  A relevant unspent conviction for a child abuse offence.

(b)  A relevant Police caution for a child abuse offence given within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services.

(c)  Evidence of relevant criminal proceedings for a child abuse offence which has not concluded.

(d)  A relevant protective injunction which is in force or which is in force or which was granted within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services.

(e)  A copy of a fact finding made in proceedings in the United Kingdom within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application for civil legal services, of abuse of a child by B.

(f)    A letter from a Social Services Department in England or Wales (or its equivalent in Scotland or Northern Ireland) confirming that, within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application, the child was assessed as being, or at risk of being a victim of child abuse by B (or a copy of that assessment).

(g)  A letter from a Social Services Department in England or Wales (or its equivalent in Scotland or Northern Ireland) confirming that, within the 24 month period immediately preceding the date of the application, a Child Protection Plan was put in place to protect the child from abuse or a risk of abuse by B (or a copy of that Plan).

(h)  An application for an Injunction described in paragraph (2)(d) made with an application for a Prohibited Steps Order against B under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 (a) which has not, at the date of the application for civil legal services, been decided by the Court.

Divorce and Financial Settlement

Legal Aid is not available for these matters unless you are the victim of domestic abuse and can produce evidence as detailed above.  Please note that if you successfully obtain Legal Aid and successfully preserve, receive or retain capital, an asset or a lump sum, the Legal Aid Agency can and will recoup their costs from this or take their money from the value of the property by putting a charge on the property.  This means when the property is sold, the Legal Aid agency will be able to take their costs from the proceeds of sale together with interest.

Private Paying Family

If you are not entitled to Legal Aid and have a family matter dealing with one of the following:-

  • Children
  • Divorce
  • Financial settlement

Legal advice and assistance can be provided by way of fixed fees, dealing with matters on a stage by stage basis.  To give an example, if you seek assistance with a divorce you may wish to have an initial meeting with a solicitor and have the Divorce Petition drawn up but thereafter, you may choose to proceed yourself or seek advice and assistance at a later stage when you feel the need.  This can be discussed with your solicitor.

Private Paying Immigration

Immigration advice and assistance is provided on a fee paying basis only.

You should receive a diagnostic discussion with the immigration solicitor to establish whether your matter has any merit worthy of incurring costs.  You will then be quoted a fixed fee for an initial meeting or a fixed fee for any work that needs to be undertaken.  The fixed fees and work will be on a stage by stage basis, for example, you may wish to submit an application, and so, the initial meeting together with preparation of that application would be the first stage.  Should your matter require further advice and assistance you would be given a further fixed fee quote for the next stage of any work, if required.

There are some matters, whether in family law or immigration law that are more complex and cannot be completed by way of a stage by stage fixed fee process but will require costs for the work undertaken at an hourly rate.  If this is necessary, this will be discussed with you.  You should feel free to ask any questions in seeking clarification regarding any costs matters.