.Charles Please refer to the original question: mandatory fixed fees in family law (includes divorce)
There is no doubt that the lack of legal aid funding is affecting solicitors but should this mean that they can have a system that is open ended with escalating costs for the private client? or should the costs be controlled somehow?
The system as it stands has no checks and balances, the solicitors can seriously affect their clients way of thinking by the type of advice they offer and the courses of action they propose.
If a case goes to final hearing or not the only winner is the solicitor. The solicitor is not taking any risks as they know all the financial information from both sides.
In my case the Exs solicitor was a Rottweiler who pushed through to final hearing only speaking about a dozen words to me despite me making it clear I wanted to negotiate at both first hearing and FDR (represented myself).
At the FH I had a Barrister and together we made our case and got a very good settlement far better than anything the other side had offered. In the written judgement the Judge was very critical of the ex (and by association her legal representation who had been with her the whole time through divorce).
I strongly believe that the motive was money as there was a substantial amount on the table. If there was no money to pay legal fees the exs solicitor would not have behaved the way he did - he never attempted to negotiate!
There are good and bad in all professions which we do see occasionally here on the forum but to simply say they are regulated and that solicitors are accountable will never cover the exceptional bad apple.
Solicitors may have professional status but they are also human
You make good points but you have to realise that controlling cost by introducing mandatory fees sets a dangerous precedent.
Solicitors operate in a free market. They are not civil servants.
Very expensive solicitors can afford to trade in expensive offices and offer fresh brewed coffee in their air-conditioned offices with sparkly granite floors.
Other solicitors operate on the high street in rented offices along with other businesses.
The client can choose which experience they prefer, similar to that of getting a hair cut (Sporting barber or Toni & Guy?) or buying a car (Ford Mondeo or Tesla Model S?).
From a car perspective, the Ford Mondeo offers the most value for money...unless you value creature comforts, speed, technology, build quality, customer support etc.
If the government were to cap the amount a car manufacturer were to charge, the more expensive brands would have to stop trading or reduce the overheads and effectively build a Ford Mondeo with a different badge. Choice diminishes then disappears.
The bells and whistles offered by expensive solicitors cost money to provide and those who can afford it will choose the bells and whistles every time.
If solicitors are only interested in money and mandatory fixed fees are appropriate we should roll out the same principle to other professions. Wedding suppliers for instance - a dress costs £x but if it is a wedding dress it costs £x multiplied by 3 as it is with cakes, flowers etc. Isn't this just profiteering at the expense of two people who have their futures pinned on one special day?
Taking of flowers, florists literally make money, hand over fist, when people die. Funeral directors? Solemnity = money.
Obviously I am being facetious but there is a credible point that I am making - don't confuse profit with cost otherwise you end up with a product which is not fit for purpose.
Look at the court system - the government decided that too much money was being spent and now access to justice is being affected. I wonder who on this forum has gone to court only to be told that no judge is available or that the judge has not had time to read the papers or that the papers didn't get to the court file due to backlogs.
I agree that costs are a problem as I've been working at the sharp end of legal costs for the best part of 2 decades but shooting from the hip is likely to cause more harm than good.