We offer a free 10 minute telephone consultation with a Solicitor. (NB – we cannot give specific legal advice about your matter and this does not constitute a ‘retainer’). During this call we should be able to assess whether or not you are likely to be eligible for Legal Aid.
We firmly believe in costs certainty and transparency for our clients.
- If you qualify for Legal Aid for the appointment, our assistance may cost you nothing. You must bring all relevant paperwork with you to our first meeting to enable us to make the decision whether you would be eligible for legal aid or not.
- Legal aid does not mean that your case is necessarily ‘free’ in the Crown Court there can be considerable ‘contributions’ demanded from you and which you must pay. Neither we nor the court will be able to ‘waive’ them. You should read out ‘Terms and conditions’ document for more details.
- If you do not qualify for Legal Aid we will be in a position to then provide you with initial advice about the future progress of your matter and will offer you a fixed fee quote for representation if you are not eligible for public funding. This means that you will never receive an unexpected bill from us.
- There will be no hidden costs or surprises at the conclusion of the case.
- We accept that attending at Court or a Police Station is stressful enough without having to “clock watch” if the case takes some time to proceed.
- We do not operate a ‘Client account’ we do not take money ‘On account of costs’. We bill ‘up front’ and until our bill is paid we are not required to do any work on your case.
- Our fees are determined on an Hourly rate of £250 (plus VAT) per hour. That is the basis of how we calculate our invoices. We will always endeavour having viewed the case to give you a fixed fee quote calculated at that rate, as early in the case as reasonably possible.
- This quote will either be:-
- For the entire case. Our most common scenario is that we can give fixed quote from beginning to end for our fees (Please see below for ‘disbursements’ and ‘Extra hearing fees’) And we will commence work once that fee is paid.
- Stage payments. Sometimes our clients ask us (or we recommend), that we break our bills down into ‘stages’. For example we will charge: –
- One fee for taking initial instruction preparing the case for the first hearing at which you plead not guilty and the matter is set down for trial.
- One fee for all trial preparation
- One fee for representing you at the trial and briefly advising on any stages after that.
The overall fee may be agreed at the start, or it may be the case that there are so many ‘unknowns’, that the next stage of the fees will only be calculable after the previous stage has happened.
Each stage will need to be paid at the completion of the previous stage and in advance of any work done.
- Extra hearing fees:- These are incurred in one of two situations:-
- Where our fixed fee quote states we anticipate a maximum of (say) 3 hearings. However the circumstances in the case change and there are in fact 4 or 5 or more hearings. Depending on the nature and length of those hearings we reserve the right to charge extra at our hourly rate for those. IF THIS CONCERNS YOU PLEASE RAISE IT WITH US AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE.
- Where the matter is Crown Court Trial or ‘Newton hearing’, or the case requires we attend a co-defendants trial, or an inquest* or like hearing to observe, the attendance of one of our solicitors in that capacity, will be charged at a fee of £600 Plus VAT per day. In addition to any fixed fee but again that will be agreed at the earliest possible stage.
*Representation at an inquest rather than just observing on would be charged at calculated at our hourly rate and would.
Our charging structure for simple Motoring matters dealt with at one hearing is set out in the Motoring section of our website
Fixed fees include:
- Meeting with your solicitor to provide instructions on what happened. This can be at our office, or for your convenience via telephone or email
- Us considering initial disclosure, and any other evidence and providing advice to you.
- Us explaining the court procedure to you so you know what to expect on the day of your hearing, and the sentencing options available to the court
- Us conducting any further preparatory work, obtaining further instructions from you if necessary, and answering any follow up queries you have
- Us attending court and representing you, and meeting with you before going before the court. (Please note that we cannot provide a timescale of when your hearing will take place, as this depends on the court listing for that day)
- Us discussing the outcome with you and formally confirming the same in writing. Standard negative advice on appeal.
Fixed fees do not include:
- Instruction of any expert witnesses. Fees for expert witnesses can vary dramatically depending on what is being asked for, from Approximately £100 for a ‘doctors letter’, to £2000 -£3000 + VAT for a full ‘Accident Reconstruction’
- Counsels fees. If the case requires, or you require instruction of a barrister. Their fees will be in addition to our own and payable to them by you on their terms. (Whether through us or directly by you).
- It is not our practice or policy to charge ‘Mileage’ or ‘Parking’, ‘fuel’ or ‘subsistence’ (food and drink), in addition to travel.
- HOWEVER in the unlikely event that representing you in another court area means in practice staying at a Hotel overnight, before and or after the event. The hotel bill (including in that case ‘subsistence’) will be charged to you. Again this will be discussed and agreed with you before we contract for a room.
- Rates vary (as do currently VAT rates), but a gross figure of £160-£320 per night is the normal range depending very much on where your case is being heard.
How we deal with money paid for our fees:
When a client pays a solicitor’s bill before the work is done by the solicitor, the money paid, according to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, remains returnable to the client until the solicitor has completed the work. Solicitors can operate ‘Client accounts’ where that money is kept safely separate from the solicitor’s money, it is insured, and able to be returned to the client, if anything unfortunate happens to the solicitors. ‘Client accounts’ can be expensive and complex to operate. The Solicitors regulation authority recognizes this, and there is an exemption, for money paid for our fees NOT to be held in a client account, but to be paid directly in to our own business account. Because of the way in which we bill clients, and as we do not operate a ‘Client account’ we have to make clear to you the following: –
- Termination of retainer. If you were to ask us to stop acting for you, before we had done all of the work you paid us for, then, (subject to us keeping some money to pay for our work up to that point). We would be liable to pay you back your money. Our terms are to repay it by no later than close of business the next normal working day.
- Insolvency of LT Law. If LT Law, or one of the partners were to become insolvent (‘Go Bust’). The same requirement to refund client’s money will apply as above.
If we operated a ‘client account’ your money would be protected, held separately and would be able to be returned to you under SRA rules. We do not consider we need to hold such money in a ‘Client account’ for the following reasons: –
- The majority of people who privately instruct us, pay relatively small sums. (Typically £400 plus VAT) for work which is to be done within a few weeks, (often only 2 or 3 weeks or even days), so the period we hold the money is very short. In any event the work often starts immediately you pay our bill. Therefore only some of the money is likely to be due to be returned if asked for.
- Some matters are lengthy, and larger amounts of money are paid by clients whose total bill may be many tens of thousands of pounds. In such cases there will be ‘stage payments’ for work to be done. These are usually tied to stages in the court process, so that at any one time we will only hold a small proportion of the money for work that has yet to be done for that client. Again in any such case work would start when we received the stage payment, so the amount returnable would reduce quickly.
- LT Law is a solvent profitable business.
- At any one time the total amount of money we hold for private clients for work yet to be completed, is rarely more than 10% (usually much less) of our monthly turnover; and well within the resources of the business and the partners to return, in accordance with the above timescale.
- We have a duty to the above under review and if at any point we did not feel we could speedily deal with the refunds referred to above; we would simply stop taking Client’s money and where necessary pay the clients back from our own resources, we would naturally prioritise completing affected clients work to safeguard their interests.
- In practical terms there is no realistic prospect of default on our part.
- If you have any concerns about this please contact us immediately.