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Hi,

I was wondering whether it is common practice or indeed mandatory for fee costings to be declared upfront when contact is first made with a solicitor.

Thanking you.

Edited by fishing novice

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always found that covers you & them for work undertaken??


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Hi,

I was wondering whether it is common practice or indeed mandatory for fee costings to be declared upfront when contact is first made with a solicitor.

Thanking you.

 

Can you be more specific and give some background detail please?

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Initially, I phoned solicitor to ask for advice. I explained my predicament and solicitor said that if I could send background information he would look the matter. Within a few days, he had sent a proposed draft letter which had so many inaccuracies that it could not possibly have been used without substantial modification. After informing solicitor that I would not be pursuing his proposed course of action (involving potentially protracted legal action) I was sent a bill for the work done. I am keen to know if the solicitor should have been required at the first stage of contact to declare fees/costs which would be incurred by his undertaking any work my behalf - apart altogether from the poor quality of the work/letter.

Cheers,

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I would have thought you'd have had to agree to and sign for their terms and conditions?

 

I had to when I last engaged a solicitor.


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Initially, I phoned solicitor to ask for advice. I explained my predicament and solicitor said that if I could send background information he would look the matter. Within a few days, he had sent a proposed draft letter which had so many inaccuracies that it could not possibly have been used without substantial modification. After informing solicitor that I would not be pursuing his proposed course of action (involving potentially protracted legal action) I was sent a bill for the work done. I am keen to know if the solicitor should have been required at the first stage of contact to declare fees/costs which would be incurred by his undertaking any work my behalf - apart altogether from the poor quality of the work/letter.

Cheers,

 

Many solicitors will mention costs early in the initial interview.

Those that don't will usually give some indication in a "client care" letter soon after the first interview - if only to 'head off' situations like this!

 

Have you used the firm before? (They might claim you already had an idea of costs).

 

Otherwise : point out that fees weren't discussed.

However, you can't expect them to work "for free".

You could expect to face a "reasonable fee" ('quantum meruit')

If you can highlight why their work was poor quality, that might reduce the amount they could claim.

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From: http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/using-solicitor/costs-legal-aid.page

 

When you use a lawyer or firm that we regulate, they must make their fees as transparent as possible. Charges vary between lawyers and different law firms so you should shop around to find the best one for you.

[...]

When you first start to instruct a lawyer, they should give you as much information as possible about how much your work will cost or how the cost will be calculated. You should also get an explanation of the charges at the end your case, and at any time you request it.

All information about the cost of the lawyer's service will be given to you in writing. If you need this information communicated to you in a particular way or want it explained, do not be afraid to ask them to do this. You may be given the following information about costs:

 

  • as a fixed fee,
  • as an estimate of the amount expected, or
  • as an hourly rate with an indication of how many hours are likely to be needed.

 

When ever I have had need to instruct a solicitor, they have always given me the fee scales in writing along with a 'client care' letter and a contract of engagement.


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It is certainly good practice for a solicitor to let you know how much something is likely to cost before doing the work.

 

If you feel that the amount charged is excessive, or the work done was not what you instructed, or it is poor quality, then you should make that known to your solicitor so that they have a chance to resolve the issue. For example if the solicitor knows you are not happy they may reduce the bill.


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