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MODERN LAWYERSFOR CHANGING TIMES 'a City firm in a non-City location' - Legal 500

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." - RED ADAIR, OIL WELL FIREFIGHTER

Our fees are charged on an hourly basis. Alternatively, we can act on the basis of a capped/fixed fee, depending upon the nature of your case/issue and the scale of the work involved. We can also offer fixed fees for each stage of the case, so as to give the client some measure of certainty. We can also, again if appropriate, secure litigation funding or offer AFTER THE EVENT INSURANCE, but please note this will only apply in civil litigation matters where the chances of success are deemed to be between 60-65%.

Paying privately means that a solicitor or team (depending upon the nature of your matter) will be dedicated to your case, and they will be accessible at any time to deal with your concerns. You will have their mobile telephone number, they can arrange appointments at short notice, and can travel to meet with you at your home or office. This continuity of a specialist dedicated service will alleviate much of the stress that you and your business partners or family may also be experiencing. It will also mean that you will be represented by the best barristers and that we will instruct leading experts and enquiry agents in order to prepare your case to the highest standards.

D and O Policies

These policies usually cover legal expenses of company directors or company officers, though they often have very specific exclusions.

Check to see if they will cover legal expenses for your issue; we have acted and do act for relevant individuals under such policies where applicable.

Defence Costs Orders

The changes in provisions to the making of defendants’ costs orders only apply where proceedings commenced on or after 1 October 2012. Prior to this date the previous arrangements still apply.

As part of the Government’s commitment to the reducing of costs awards being made from Central Government, a number of changes have been introduced which significantly reduce the scope the Court have in making awards that the defendants’ costs be met in whole or in part.

It is important to note that, although there are principles that apply to all stages of a criminal case, each case must be considered on its own merits and tailored advice is provided to clients in each case where it is proposed that this firm is instructed on a private basis or contemplation is being given to such an instruction.

For guidance purposes, however the following rules now apply since 1 October 2012:

  1. In respect of all Magistrates’ Court cases, legal costs can be included in a defence costs order. However, the rates that apply to those orders being made are capped broadly at rates that would have been paid if the defendant had been the beneficiary of a legal aid order. In many cases this can mean the hourly rate is no more than 25% of the firm’s private rate. In many of the cases in which these provisions apply, legal aid would not have been available to a defendant in any event, and consequently even if a defendant is successful in a case that ends in the Magistrates’ Courts they are only able to recover a portion of their costs from Central Funds;
  2. In cases which are in the Crown Court on indictment, legal costs cannot be included in a defence costs order unless the costs apply to appeal proceedings against a conviction or sentence of the Magistrates’ Court.

This principle has been introduced on the basis that all defendants are eligible to receive the benefit of legal aid in the Crown Court either subject to nil or monetary financial contributions. There are a number of other regulations that apply to the making of defendants’ costs orders including in respect of extradition and cases which are before the Court of Appeal, and in those cases defendants will receive specific advice at the outset as to the costs that may be returned to a defendant in the event of a successful outcome.

These changes represent a significant challenge to this firm and clients of this firm. We are committed to providing comprehensive advice at the outset of cases where these provisions may apply in order that clients and prospective clients obtain all the information that they require prior to make a decision as to the instruction of the firm on a private basis.

We fully recognise that in a number of cases defendants are financially worse off in the event of an acquittal or successful outcome than they otherwise would have been prior to 1 October 2012 and that is a direct impact of the Government’s policy. Clients will be aware that not only are there cost implications for cases tried in all courts, but the decision as to whether to instruct a firm privately will also be influenced in some cases by the potential financial penalties in the event of conviction, namely confiscation and Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings which inevitably follow in most cases which are before the Crown Court.

Those are issues that the firm will discuss with all clients at the commencement of a case.

Money Laundering

By virtue of  recent government legislation on anti- money laundering, The Law Society has issued MANDATORY procedures which all solicitors when dealing with private clients MUST follow. Essentially ALL clients must be subject to compulsory checks, therefore we will ask you for the following documentation:

  • Current signed passport
  • Photo ID, e.g. driver’s licence
  • Benefit book (if applicable)
  • AND recent utility bills
  • Where the solicitor deems appropriate, recent bank statements may be requested

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