Our Charges in private cases
Over 95% of our cases are funded by the Legal Aid Agency and the majority of clients do not have to pay any money. For those not eligible for legal aid we have fixed charges.
Many clients will qualify for free legal aid to pay our costs or legal aid may be offered by the Legal Aid Agency subject to the client paying a contribution. Our firm will assist you in all cases to apply for legal aid. A legal aid application requires detailed disclosure of your and your partner's financial situation. If you do not wish to apply for legal aid and pay privately you will not recover any of your costs even if you win your case. If you do not qualify for legal aid and have to pay privately the Government has ruled that you can only recover some of your costs at legal aid rates. An injustice we cannot do anything about.
If you pay privately YOU CAN PAY BY PAYPAL or BANK CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD - click HERE
This is our guide to our fixed fee charges. Many firms charge on a full hourly rate and this often leads to great uncertainty and greater costs. In an effort to assist client's predict the costs they will bear we are able to work to fixed fees in most scenarios. If you win your case the court should order the repayment of your costs from government central funds. However, the rules keep tightening so there is no guarantee that your full costs would be recovered. Costs may be awarded on an hourly rate which might be less than the agreed fixed fee. We have to be registered for Government Value Added Tax (VAT) and thus we must add 20% to our fees which goes to the Government. Our VAT number is 563917220
Our fixed fee basis provides certainty for the customer and in most scenarios allows us to charge fees less than the hourly charging rate equivalent.
An agreed fee will cover all necessary and reasonable work in advising you, preparing your case, researching the law, reporting to you and answering your reasonable enquiries, representing you at court and communicating on your behalf with third parties such as the police and court in accordance with the agreed scenario for your case.
An agreed fee can neither be increased nor decreased once agreed. The only circumstances in which you may be asked to pay more fees than agreed is if the agreed scenario/s for your case has been completed or significantly changed and you wish our firm to continue to represent you on the basis of a new agreed fee that covers an altered or new scenario.
An example where a new agreed fee would be sought is where the first agreed fee covered a trial at the magistrates only and you were convicted and then wanted to appeal against the decision. A further agreed fee would be necessary to cover the appeal.
Another example is where the police lay against you a number of additional charges or present a significant amount of additional evidence (exceeding 150 pages) not reasonably anticipated at the time of the first agreed fee.
An agreed fee is also subject to the client not making unreasonable demands for advice and explanations. It is rare but there are some instances where some clients expect lengthy and repeated advices to be given or expand the problem to issues beyond the solicitor's field or the agreed case. In such instances unreasonable demands may lead to a termination of the agreement with costs settled according to the prevailing hourly rate.
Agreed fees are payable in advance of the service. Staging payments only arises where two or more agreed fees are agreed. For example you may wish to pay for representation up to and including the fixing of a trial and then a further and separate agreed fee to cover the trial scenario.
If you plead not guilty and are acquitted in most cases the court will make an order allowing us to apply for a contribution towards your legal costs. The court determine the costs payable according to legal aid hourly rates not agreed fees. In order to recover the costs you will be required to authorise the payment of the costs as allowed by the court to our firm. Then we will account to you for the refund of all or part of your agreed fee depending upon what the court has allowed. At legal aid rates the refund is often substantially less than the agreed fee.
Lionel Blackman Solicitors Upper Chambers 7 Waterloo Road Epsom Surrey KT19 8AY