If you are to get legal advice and/or representation from a solicitor, you will be needing to pay for your solicitor’s time and services. Costs will generally depend on which solicitor you choose.
All solicitors should adhere to the requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) Price Transparency Rules. The rules serve as guidelines to potential clients in making informed decisions pertaining to legal services. The rules hold firms to:
- publish price and service information for certain areas of practice on their websites;
- publish their complaints procedures; and
- display a digital badge to show they’re regulated by the SRA.
Your solicitor should be able to:
- give a cost estimate at the outset;
- provide cost updates; and
- give a final bill with specific details such as:
- type of work done;
- the date it was done; and
- the cost.
Your solicitor’s charges will include:
- their professional fee;
- expenses to your case;
- a success fee (applicable if you have a conditional fee agreement);
- premiums for after-the-event insurance or any other legal expenses insurance;
- disbursements (e.g. costs for searches, land registry fees, or getting reports); and
- other necessary fees (e.g. court, barrister, and expert fees).
Types of bill
The type of bill you will be receiving will depend on whether the work involves the courts (contentious) or does not involve the courts but may involve a tribunal (non-contentious).
As legal services can get really expensive, you might be able to get free or cheaper assistance if you can’t afford legal advice or support in court such as:
- legal aid for a serious problem (e.g. domestic violence);
- free, reduced cost or fixed-fee advice from legal professionals or advice charities;
- free legal help from your trade union or other membership organisation;
- legal advice from insurance policies; and
- help in paying court and tribunal fees.
Note: If you have been arrested and will be questioned at a police station, know your right to free legal advice regardless of your income on GOV.UK.
Getting legal aid in an emergency
If you need urgent representation in court, you will be able to get access to emergency help. Such instances include, for example, if you and your children are experiencing domestic abuse.
Your legal adviser will be needing to apply for Emergency Legal Representation to cover any immediate action and in turn, you be needing to apply for legal aid.
A police custody officer should be able to help you get legal aid if you have been arrested and held at a police station. You will be offered free advice:
- by telephone (if the offence is less serious);
- from the police station’s duty solicitor; or
- from your own legal adviser.
Who is responsible to pay for a solicitor’s costs?
As a client, you are generally responsible for your solicitor’s costs in fulfilment of your contract or retainer regardless if you win or lose your case (unless you are working under a no win no fee or Conditional Fee Agreement).
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