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Challenging my legal costs

  • acfair
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10 Dec 11 #301526 by acfair
Topic started by acfair
can I ask you how I would go about complaining to my solicitors about incurring the my ex-partner's legal costs in the first place - let me explain! I initially had a meeting with my barrister and solicitor at which it was mentioned about putting in an offer before going to hearing - this was never done and on the morning of the hearing my barrister said it was too late. My solicitors had never suggested an offer to the other side. On the day of the hearing I gave in 2 offers of settlement plus their legal costs of £16,500 but they were both rejected by the other side

I get the Judgement telling me I had to give 30% to my ex - OK I accepted that but I was never at any time told by my solicitors that my ex's solicitors could now charge private rates as they had won and the costs would be tripled!

I remortgaged my house on the basis of the meeting with my solicitor talking figures of £37,500 (30% of house) and his costs of £16,500. Now his costs have risen to £55,000!

Do I have any recourse or means of complaining about this. I had a meeting with my solicitor before the day of the Judgement and she was still talking about the 30% share and £16,500 costs. My own barrister on the day of Judgement had never even heard that the other side could do this and so had no defence to it in court!

I was never advised of the costs spiralling this much. What do I do next? Do I have to pay my legal costs and then complain?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

  • rubytuesday
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13 Dec 11 #301894 by rubytuesday
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Sorry you havent had a reply yet.

Charles is the man to answer your question.But I would have thought that as your complaint is really about your legal representation, then you should in the first instance approach the senior partner or practice manager of the law firm your sols works for, and voice your concerns to them.

  • acfair
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13 Dec 11 #301918 by acfair
Reply from acfair
Thank you for your advice.

I have notified my own solicitor that I will be informing their Managing Solicitor about the issues.

  • jonathancj
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13 Dec 11 #301925 by jonathancj
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You can apply to the court to assess your solicitors costs. This applies to all costs paid within the 12 months preceding the application and all costs which remain unpaid. If you get a 20% or better reduction, the solicitor pays your costs of the assessment. If you get a smaller reduction, you pay the solicitors costs. There are firms of specialist costs lawyers who do nothing but costs assessments. If you need to know more, message me.

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13 Dec 11 #301928 by acfair
Reply from acfair
@jonathancj - it's not so much my legal costs - it's more that I was not advised about legal aid costs changing to private law rates and also that my solicitor did not put an offer into court before the hearing.

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14 Dec 11 #302078 by acfair
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Do I send a formal letter of complaint to the Managing Solicitor of the firm that my solicitor works for. I cannot find any information on their website as to who to direct my complaint to.

I have informed my solicitor but she just says I misinterpreted our meeting.

  • .Charles
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15 Dec 11 #302206 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
The letter of engagement (sometimes called a Rule 2 letter or client care letter) that you received at the outset should specify who will have conduct of your case and who the complaints partner is. You should look at that letter to begin with.

Have you lodged points of dispute to your ex's bill yet? You don't want to give him the opportunity of obtaining an order for the full amount. You only have 21 days in which to do this.

Charles

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