We understand how important it is to our clients that our costs are not only reasonable and fair but also transparent. We strive, wherever possible, to commit early in the process to a fee basis which gives our clients certainty and the ability to budget. For this reason, most of our transactional work is based on fixed quotes. The basis of our fixed quotes will be made clear and will not allow for variation based on foreseeable events or a simple time overrun, save where the basis of such variation is specified. We see this as a difference between our firm and many others.
Basis of Charges
Our fee quotes and estimates will vary depending on the complexity of each case and the work that we are instructed to carry out. Quotes and estimates will be provided in advance of us being formally instructed and then confirmed within our engagement letter and terms of business.
Our charges are made up of:
• our fees for the legal work;
• expenses incurred in the course of the work, where appropriate, such as train fares and courier charges, (but unlike most law firms, we do not charge for printing, copying and motoring expenses); and
• ‘disbursements’ – these are costs related to your matter that are payable to other people, such as fees for a barrister’s opinion, where we handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Where VAT is referred to below please note that this will be charged at the applicable rate, which is currently 20%.
Who will be dealing with my matter?
Your matter will be handled by trusted members of our team and we will provide full details of their background and qualifications once your matter has been assigned. You can find out more in the “Meet the Team” section of this website.
Corporate matters are conducted by our specialist solicitors and supervised by our Corporate Partners, Austin Moore or Laura de Banke.
Property matters are supervised by our Partner Lucy Carter and conducted by Lucy and/or a member of her team.
Employment matters are conducted and supervised by Natalie Thomson, Partner and Head of our Employment Department. Natalie qualified as a Solicitor in 2005 and has over 15 years’ experience advising companies and senior executives.
Probate matters are overseen by Austin Moore and/or our consultant Michael Elvin. Your probate matter will normally be conducted by Simran Kaur. Simran qualified as a Solicitor in 2020, having worked in Wills and Probate for over five years.
This policy represents our commitment to provide a quality service at a fair price and to be transparent in our dealings with clients over fees.
If you have any questions about the policy, or about the basis of our charges, please refer the matter to one of our Partners and we will endeavour to explain the position and provide further information on the basis of our charges or proposed charges.
We are obliged to provide pricing statements in relation to various areas of work that we undertake. These are employment tribunal and probate matters as dealt with below.
Tribunal Representation and Support
Our fees may be agreed with you as a fixed sum at the start of your case or will accrue on a time spent basis depending on the time it takes us to handle your case. If it is necessary to charge on a time spent basis, we will give you an estimate of the time we think will be needed for the work being undertaken. Our hourly rate for our Partners ranges between £250 and £350 plus VAT.
The amount of drafting required in each case depends on the claim(s) being presented, guidance in relation to fees for Tribunal assistance and representation is detailed below:
• A simple case: £8,000 plus VAT.
• A medium complexity case: £10,000-£12,000 plus VAT.
• A high complexity case: £15,000-£20,000 plus VAT.
Some clients may wish to attempt to handle some parts of a very straight-forward matter themselves and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also reduce the cost if your case is one where we’re comfortable that this is a sensible approach to take. We therefore also offer fixed fees in relation to some aspects of bringing or defending a claim. We have outlined these aspects and an estimate of fees below:
• Preparation of an ET1 or ET3 £550 plus VAT (up to £750 plus VAT if discrimination or whistleblowing complaints are included);
• Attendance at hearing £1000-£1500 plus VAT per day;
• Completion of preliminary hearing agenda £250-£400 plus vat
Quotes or estimates will always be provided and agreed before any work is undertaken.
You may need to pay for ‘disbursements’ in addition to our fees as described above. In an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim the most common disbursements are for barrister’s fees. A barrister may be instructed for a Tribunal hearing if your case is not settled before this time (which can often occur). Barrister’s fees tend to be in the region of £1,500 plus VAT for a one-day hearing including preparation. We will however guide you on this as and when external costs need to be incurred.
Other costs to consider
Normally you do not have to pay your opponent’s costs in an employment claim, but we will guide you further if we feel that you are at risk of this at any stage.
Key stages of your claim
The examples of typical costs above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of an unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal case:
• Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on your prospects of success in the claim and the likely compensation, although this is likely to be revisited throughout the case and subject to change.
• Entering into pre-claim conciliation with ACAS where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached.
• Preparing your claim or response.
• Reviewing and advising on the claim or response from the other party.
• Exploring settlement and negotiating a settlement throughout the process.
• Preparing or considering a schedule of loss.
• Preparing for and attending a Preliminary Hearing.
• Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents.
• Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses.
• Preparing bundles of documents for the final hearing.
• Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements.
• Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list.
• Preparation and instructions to the barrister (if this is not being done in-house by us) for the final hearing.
It would not normally be necessary to undertake other work or incur other costs other than those described above. However, we would be very happy to provide you with a more tailored quote for all stages of your particular case once we know about your specific circumstances.
How long will my case take?
The time it takes from your initial instructions to the end of your case depends largely on the stage at which it is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim discussions, your case is likely to take 3 – 4 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a final hearing, your case is likely to take 25- 36 weeks. This is just an illustration and we will be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information from you and as the case progresses.
Grant of Probate only
If you would like to deal with the estate administration yourself and instruct us to obtain the Grant of Probate, we estimate our fees to be £500 – £700 plus VAT. There will also be a fee of £158 which is payable to the Probate Registry plus £1.50 for each sealed copy of the Grant of Probate required.
Grant of Probate and Administration of Estate
If you would like us to deal with the administration of the estate (which includes obtaining the Grant of Probate, collecting, and distributing the assets) we anticipate that in our experience our fees often fall within the following price ranges:
• For estates where no Inheritance Tax is payable – £1,500 – £3,000 plus VAT
• For estates where Inheritance Tax is payable – £3,000 – £5,000 plus VAT
Our fees for dealing with an estate depend on individual circumstances. The above provide an indication for ‘straightforward’ estates where:
• There is a valid Will
• There is only one property
• There are no more than four bank or building society accounts
• There are no foreign assets
• There are no more than four beneficiaries
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries
• The estate value is within the general nil rate band amount of £325,000 and therefore no inheritance tax is payable therefore the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
• No formal or capital gains tax return is required during the estate administration period
• There are no claims against the estate
If the administration of an estate falls outside of the ‘straightforward’ criteria it is likely our fees will be higher. In these cases, we can provide an accurate quote once we have full details.
Disbursements are costs related to a matter which are payable to a third party. When dealing with an administration of an estate the following disbursements will be payable:
• Probate application fee – £158
• Sealed copies of the Grant of Probate – £1.50 per copy
• Bankruptcy search fee – £2.00 per beneficiary in the UK
• Trustee Act Notice fees – in the region of £200
Other costs to consider
Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included. Remember also that if this is not a ‘straight forward’ matter (see the factors listed above) then costs would vary so do get in touch for a more accurate quote.
How long will this take?
Generally speaking, ‘straight forward’ estate matters such as these can normally be dealt with within 9 to 12 months. This is broken down into the following stages, with rough time estimates for each stage as follows:
• obtaining the grant of probate: 8-10 weeks;
• collecting assets: 8-12 weeks;
• statutory notice period: 2 months;
• distributing the assets: 3-4 weeks.
Key stages of your case
The precise stages involved vary according to the circumstances.
The guidance on our fees above covers all of the work in relation to the following key stages a ‘straight forward’ probate process:
• Identify the executors and beneficiaries
• Check the type of Probate application you will require
• Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
• Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC forms
• Make the application for probate
• Obtain the Probate and distribute copies as necessary
• Collect and distribute all assets in the estate
It would not normally be necessary to undertake other work or incur costs other than those described above. However, we would be very happy to provide you with a more tailored quote for all stages of your particular case once we know about your specific circumstances.