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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

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The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

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Invoices exceed N260

  • john194235
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11 May 21 #516681 by john194235
Topic started by john194235
Good Morning all,
I have a situation that I am questioning with my solicitor and would appreciate your views.

Situation:
Instructed a solictor to enforce a Consent Order through the court, whilst the case took a long time to hear and suffered a few issues, it was succesful and the Judge awarded the case to me and cost to be paid by other party.

Judge advised to negotiate costs, if agreement was not reached she would asses the costs and make a ruling.

As part of that case an N260 was submitted and used as the basis of negotiation on the day for final settlement of the costs by myself, the barrister and the other party.

We came to a mutal agreement on the figure.

There has been no other work completed by the solicitor after the court case.

I have just recieved the final invoice from my solictor and the invoice will take the total amount in excess of the N260 figure. The amount is large enough to cause me concearn and would be difficult to find the money.

Question: Should the amount exceed the N260, if you think it may what things would not be included that may explain the extra amount?

Thanks

J


  • .Charles
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11 May 21 #516687 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
There can be legitimate reasons. Here are a few:

1. There might have been work done prior to putting the other side on notice of an application. This work would not normally be included. That part of the process can be lengthy particularly if the other wise continues to make empty promises.

2. There are certain pieces of work that cannot be recovered from the other side which referred to as Solicitor/Own client work. This would normally be a client care letter plus any work in relation to bills and payments.

3. The N260 is a summary of costs which includes estimated costs based upon what is known about a case. For instance a colleague of mine attended a hearing which was listed for 3 hours. The hearing actually took the whole day so any more than the estimated 3 hours was not on the form.

4. What you can do is look at the latest estimate of costs that your solicitor gave to you to deal with the application. If they have gone over that, they would need to explain themselves.

5. Finally, a lot of solicitors do not know how to complete an N260 and that might be the case here. The form is available on the Court website but it is easy for people to misinterpret the form as it's clunky at best. For instance, on the first page there is space for attendance, letters and telephone calls which needs to be completed in decimal format.

The form assume you use 6 minute units which are 10% of one hour. So, 0.3 hours is 18 minutes. However, if a person puts 0.18 thinking that is 18 minutes, there would be underclaiming by around 7 minutes. That type of error can be costly, particularly on the document schedule on the last page as there could be multiple entries for example

0.15 = 9 minutes
0.30 = 18 minutes
0.45 = 27 minutes
1.30 = 78 minutes

If the person completing the form meant to charge 15, 30, 45 and 90 minutes (3 hours in total) the form would calculate a claim of 2.2 hours. At £250 + VAT per hour, that would make a difference of £240 inclusive of VAT (£660 versus £900)

Personally I would look at items 1, 5, 3 and 4 in that order and see if there has been error or omission. Item 2 shouldn't make too much difference but I'm not sure how much differential you are talking about.

Charles

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11 May 21 - 11 May 21 #516690 by john194235
Reply from john194235
Thanks Charles

Really interesting information in your response.

In my instance I think this may be 1 or 5.

I dont think 3 or 4 count in my case.

The amount is about 50% more than I was expecting on the final invoce.

I wrote to my solicitor this morning and will see how they respond, in the meantime I have something to work on.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.
Last edit: 11 May 21 by john194235.

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