Hi. I have received a final bill from my solicitor. It is £11,500, £4100 more than estimated only 3 months before the case ended so bit of a concern. Firstly I am not clear whether it has already been ok''d by a judge or whether it''s just an assessment and therefore whether the 21 day rule applies and also whether it may therefore possibly be negotiable with my solicitor? Is there a way to determine this? I don''t trust my solicitor hence why I am asking these q''s here first, I wasn''t happy with their service. I do not want to take them to court if poss as don''t think I could handle more stress after 4 years of court proceedings and poss accruing more costs but would like to know if its possible to talk to her on a more casual basis and get the cost down given the mistakes they made and the big rise of costs at the end etc. Also, there is no mention of the 8 percent interest charge but will this apply definately. Thanks in advance.
The 8% interest is levied by the Legal Aid Agency. You can avoid this by paying off the debt. Your solicitor has no control over this.
You will have received a copy of the bill which is to be assessed by the court. If you wish to challenge all or any part of this you can do so in writing to your solicitor.
Your solicitor will take those points and send them to the court along with their response and the judge will assess the bill with reference to your points and the solicitor''s response. No hearing should be required.
The costs estimate is relevant and you should certainly ask why this has increased considerably over a short period of time. Was VAT miscalculated? Did a hearing overrun into a second or subsequent days? Was there a conference with a
barrister which was necessary at a late date?
Thanks so much for that. Regarding the notes you are saying I can make, is that what my solicitor would have meant in "make representations in relation to the same" (quote from her letter)?
Also do I only have 21 days in which to do so? And do you think an email would suffice or should it be a formal letter?
There are costs listed in relation to correspondence for both Applicant and Respondent. I presume this means his solicitor as well as myself? The former amounts to over £3000 for which half is for phone calls. Would there be any way she could be expected to provide proof of this as I feel it is a large amount of money (although maybe I am wrong?).
I have also been charged £558 for the preparation of the bill. Is this figure normal?
Also would it be reasonable for me to ask the judge to consider charging the other side for some of the costs. We resolved contact
issues in court in 2011 then shortly after, he was put on bail and sectioned (he has alcohol issues amongst others) yet expected me to hand over the kids as normal soon after release. This lead to another series of court attendances as he refused to agree to supervised contact
Apologies for all the q''s. I am already in a lot of marital debt and this one at 8% interest is making it even harder for me to support my kids alone so I just want to do my best to make sure it is at least a fair bill.