Neeta Desor (Partner)
Marilyn Willows (Partner)
Every client is different and no case is similar. We therefore pride ourselves by the fact that we provide a specialist service that is adapted to suit our clients’ needs and objectives. We understand the stress that comes with the expense of litigation and, for this reason, we aim to provide accurate and regular cost estimates to keep you informed of the progress of your claim.
Unlike many of our competitors, we have not adopted fixed fees because we want to provide a client-tailored service. Instead, we aim to provide transparency in relation to our fees and regular updates and estimate reviews throughout your case to enable you to make an informed decision as to whether it is viable to pursue the matter.
We do, however, offer a fixed-fee no obligation consultation at a rate that varies depending on the expertise and experience of your solicitor. The rates could be between £130 plus VAT to £250 plus VAT for one hour of consultation, after which you are free to consider whether you wish to take any action or not.
This type of appointment is usually helpful to clients who have not quite decided whether they wish to pursue legal action or simply wish to know where they stand from a legal point of view.
Legal Aid is available in the family and matrimonial department of our firm, depending on client eligibility. However, the rules surrounding Legal Aid eligibility have changed in April 2013 and fewer people now qualify for this type of funding. We provide free assessments for legal Aid to all prospective clients and we are happy to provide guidance in this regard on the phone.
For clients who are victims of Domestic Violence, Legal Aid remains available as long as they qualify on means and merit. Both tests have to be passed. The ‘means’ test refers to the client’s income and capital and the ‘merit’ test will require us to consider whether the matter is so serious that even a privately paying client would pay for these services.
In order to qualify for Legal Aid and Legal Help for other matrimonial and family matters, such as Divorce, Financial remedy proceedings (formerly referred to as Ancillary relief), Children Act proceedings (not Care proceedings), and others, clients will have to pass their means and merit tests and provide evidence that they have suffered Domestic Violence in the last 24 months.
In respect of Care proceedings brought by the Local Authority, you will qualify for Legal Aid automatically if you are a person with Parental Responsibility for the child in question. You will not need to pass the means and merit tests or provide proof of Domestic Violence.
All clients (except clients involved in Care proceedings) will be required to provide evidence of their income, capital and, unless they are seeking help against Domestic Violence, evidence of Domestic Violence obtained in the last 24 months. The Legal Aid Agency has very strict rules in relation to what documents are acceptable evidence. Please visit the Legal Aid Agency page on www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid for more information.
We are, of course, happy to discuss these requirements with you on the phone prior to your appointment and, in fact, we would recommend that you give us a call if you are in doubt.
Clients who are eligible for Legal Aid are also eligible for advice and assistance under the Legal Help Scheme, for matters such as Divorce or other family or matrimonial matters that are not at the stage where they are contested in court. Legal Help is also available in Care proceedings where clients are required to attend PLO meetings as long as they can provide written evidence from the Local Authority of their intention to issue Care proceedings.
For further information, please call our offices at 020 8569 0708.
Legal Aid is no longer available for Personal Injury matters, but we can offer you Conditional Fee Agreements instead. These are commonly known as ‘no win, no fee’ agreements and are available in Personal injury claims and other civil claims pursued through our firm.
If you are successful in your claim and receive compensation (also referred to as damages), we will seek to recover our legal costs from the opposing party at the end of your claim. Due to recent changes in legislation in April 2013, at the end of your claim you will, however, have to pay us a fee called a ‘success’ fee, which is deducted from your damages. At your initial appointment we will explain in detail how the conditional fee agreement operates and agree a success fee, which is limited to 25% in Personal Injury matters.
In Personal injury cases, costs follow the event, which means that the losing party will have to pay your legal costs together with any disbursements that you may have incurred throughout your claim, such as medical experts’ fees, accident reconstruction specialists’ fees, accident reports, your Barrister’s fees for attending court etc. The losing party will also be required to pay your premium for the After the Event Insurance; this is insurance you can take at the beginning of your claim to cover your legal expenses and, in most cases, will cover your legal costs in the event that you lose.
If you lose your case, you do not have to pay us our fees, but you remain liable to pay any disbursements incurred by us on your behalf and the winning party’s legal fees, unless these are covered by your After the Event insurance.
To discuss Conditional Fee Agreements in more detail, please give us a call on 020 8569 0708.