Fees

Legal services tend to be expensive, but we try to keep fees to a minimum and will inform you in advance how much your matter will cost, either as a fixed fee or on a time basis.

We normally charge based on the length of time spent on a task and the costs we charge have to cover not only the fee earner’s salary but also office costs and running the business. We have nothing to sell except our time and experience.

It is often difficult to indicate exactly how much a project will cost in advance. It depends on the complexities of the matter, how much time is needed to deal with it and the nature of the work. This guide to our costs sets out the best estimates we can give in general terms and will give you an indication of the minimum and maximum costs involved in each matter.

Litigation

Peter Vialls’ charging rate is £240+VAT per hour.  For general litigation matters, the costs will depend on the time needed to carry out the work. Typically, it takes a couple of hours to prepare for the issue of a claim, and a similar time to draft a defence. Reviewing the documents in a case can vary dramatically depending on the amount of paperwork, and taking witness statements depends on the number of witnesses and the complexity of the matter. It is unlikely to take less than two hours for each stage, and may well take longer.

 

Preparing for the trial itself can take some hours, and even a single day trial can cost well in excess of £2000+VAT. There is never any certainty of success or of recovering the costs incurred.

Employment matters

Employment tribunal cases for unfair or wrongful dismissal vary dramatically in complexity and size. Until we know the substance of your case, we cannot give a definite figure for the likely costs. Our two employment solicitors are Sarah Parker and Peter Vialls, both with substantial experience over many years. Peter’s hourly rate is £240 + VAT and Sarah’s rate is £220 +VAT.

   We regularly deal with advice on Settlement Agreements. These are normally paid for by the employer, not the employee, and we would aim to deal with them at the price the employer offers, or to negotiate a higher figure to cover our costs. Typically we expect a Settlement Agreement to cost around £350+VAT to deal with.

A simply, straightforward case in the Employment Tribunal is likely to cost between £2000 - £5000 + VAT. If it is more complex, the costs are likely to be anything up to £20,000 + VAT. Complicating factors include whistle-blowing allegations, matters relating to constructive dismissal, matters of discrimination, complex financial matters or large levels of detailed allegations.

We normally instruct Counsel to carry out trials in the Employment Tribunal. Counsel’s fees are not included in the costs above, and will depend on the length of the hearing and again upon its complexity. We would go through the likely costs in more detail and advise the likely cost of Counsel during the first meeting with you.

 

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the key stages of a typical claim:

Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)

Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;

Preparing the claim or response

 

Reviewing and advising on the claim or any response from the other party

Exploring settlement and negotiating 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 bundle of documents

Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements

    agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list

Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel

The stages set out above are an indication, and if some of stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. You may wish to handle parts of the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs.

 

How long will my matter take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 4 to 12 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take between 6 and 12 months. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

Motoring matters

Peter Vialls deals with criminal cases in the Magistrates Court. These include such matters as speeding, drink-driving, driving without insurance or careless driving.

Peter has thirty years’ experience of Magistrates Court cases.

Our normal fee for a guilty plea in a local Court (Peterborough or Cambridge) would be £900 + VAT. This assumes you are pleading guilty and there will be one hearing. This includes two hours preparation, including meeting you and taking full instructions, going through the papers and advising any mitigation we can put forward, and advising on the likely outcomes. It includes travel to and from the court, advocacy, and reporting afterwards.

The fee includes going through the procedures in the Court so you know what to expect. Peter would then see you at the Court and support you throughout the procedures there.

The fee would be higher if we were arguing special reasons to avoid a disqualification, but again Peter would be able to advise if this is likely to arise before you are committed to any costs.

If you want to fight the case then again the costs may well be significantly higher and Peter can go through the likely costs of a trial with you. His charging rate is £240/hour + VAT –  we cannot estimate the length of a trial without seeing the papers and understanding the basis of the defence.

Probate

It is difficult to predict how much a Probate matter will cost, as it depends very much on how much work is involved.  Some estates may have few assets, but they are of a large value.  Other estates may have a multitute of assets, but relatively small in value. It will also depend on whether a Grant of Respresentation is required, as there is a procedure to follow to obtain a Grant. Generally, Louis Brandt's hourly rate is £240.00 plus VAT and disbursements.

As a very general rule of thumb, it tends to work out that calulating 2% of the value of the estate should give you a ball-park figure of what the fees are likely to be.  If a Grant is required, our minimum fee will be £1,500.00 plus VAT and disbursements.  The most common disbursement will be the Probate Court fee, which is £155.00.  Ordinarily, the higher the value of the assets within an estate, the more work involved and the higher the eventual fees.  Once Louis Brandt have determined the initial estimate of values of the assets in an estate, he can give you an estimate of the fees, usually a minimum and a maximum quote.

Wills

With Wills, we work on a fixed fee basis as follows:

Single straight-forward Wills - £150.00 plus VAT

Mirror straight-forward Wills - £200.00 plus VAT

Wills including Trust provisions - £250.00 plau VAT

If we feel that the Wills are very complicated, requiring research and complex drafting, we will inform you beforehand that we will operate on am hourly rate basis.

Lasting Powers of Attorney.

With LPAs, there are numerous factors to consider, such as how many LPAs you are instructing us to prepare and whether you wish us to register the LPAs or not.  A schedule of costs is available from our Reception and the fees range from the minimum of a single unregistered LPA - £300, to four registered LPAs - £868.00.

Conveyancing costs.

Generally, the sale and purchase of houses and land is priced based on the value of the property.  We work to a scale, but there are numerous factors that can influence the eventual costs.

For example, our fees for dealing with the sale of a freehold property valued at £150,000.00 will be £595.00 plus VAT and disbursements.  With a property valued at £350,000.00, the fees will be £800.00 plus VAT and disbursements.

When dealing with a purchase of a freehold property valued at £150,000.00, our fees will be £600.00 plus VAT and disbursements.  With a property valued at £300,000.00, our fees will be £850.00 plus VAT and disbursements.

If there is a mortgage on the property, add £100.00 plus VAT to the fees.  If the property is leasehold, add £150.00 plus VAT to the fees.

For commercial conveyancing, I work on a time scale basis with my hourly rate being £240.00 plus VAT and disbursements.

Our fees cover all of the work required to complete the sale or purchase of your home, including dealing with registration at the Land Registry and arranging for the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (Land Tax) if the property you wish to buy is in Wales.

These figures are for the costs we charge. They do not include the actual Stamp Duty Land Tax payable, nor the Land Registry fees and fees for funds transfers, nor any search fees or fees for obtaining documents.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

This depends on the purchase price of your property. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC's website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority's website.

Land Registry fees

These fees vary depending on the value of your property. We can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of your specific documents.

How long will my house purchase take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 6-24 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you are a first time buyer, purchasing a new build property with a mortgage in principle, it could take 8 weeks. However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between 3 and 9 months. In such, a situation additional charges might apply.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have suggested some key stages that you may wish to include:

    Take your instructions and give you initial advice

    Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender's solicitors if needed

    Receive and advise on contract documents

    Carry out searches

    Obtain further planning documentation if required

    Make any necessary enquiries of seller's solicitor

    Give you advice on all documents and information received

    Go through conditions of mortgage offer with you

    Send final contract to you for signature

    Agree completion date (date from which you own the property)

    Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened

    Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you

    Complete purchase

    Deal with payment of Stamp Duty/Land Tax

    Deal with application for registration at Land Registry

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