So I''ve had some news today that has made me really hacked off. I''ll go into a little background.
I first sought a solicitor (solicitor A) in the middle of Feb. I phoned around a few and the one I went with gave me an estimate of £1000 + VAT for the first hearing, and £200 for the court application fee.
Anyway, after that we had another hearing, and I was again given an estimate of £1000 + VAT for preparation and representation.
So after just 6 weeks, the bill came to £7000! I left my uni course and couldn''t afford to use the same solicitor so I went to a legal aid solicitor (who I''ll call solicitor .
Since then I''ve found out that solicitor A didn''t do a number of things that they should have or could have (like having any written agreement about the property which allowed my ex to come in and strip the house!). They received correspondence from my ex''s solicitor about applying for a court order which they didn''t bother to forward or contact me about so I didn''t have any opportunity to respond.
On top of that I made a payment plan to clear the bill (I''ve paid off £4000 of it so far, but I''ve got an agreement to pay off the rest). I spoke to the solicitor about this and they said that would be fine, and that as long as the first 2 payments were made on time they would release my file to the new solicitor. Well they were, and today I got a phone call saying that they are not releasing the file until the balance is fully paid. Argh!
I phoned the court because I wanted to check on something, and apparently they haven''t informed the court that they are not representing me. Therefore all the paperwork has been sent to the old solicitor. It turns out that there was a court order and a hearing date that has been sent out, but I knew nothing about it! Luckily the hearing isn''t for 2 weeks. The new solicitor says that the old ones should have informed the court!
On top of everything, legal aid have refused me (apparently they are refusing everyone for everything at the moment in an effort to wind public funding down) so it looks like I''m going to have to represent myself at that hearing with absolutely no idea what has gone before because they won''t hand over the file (even though solicitor A said they would!)
Firstly I would stop any further payments to that dodgy solicitor. Report them if possible to firms dealing with and monitoring good practice amoungst solicitors.(Not sure id they exist but worth a try) you may even get some money refunded id you have been coned.
Is there any way you can get the X to agree to a consented divorce? If so it will save you thousands. You can even agree to what reasons will be given like I have with mine to avoid any upsets.
If you can get him/her to agree to a consented divorce you can do a DIY one and use a Consent Order rather than going through the courts. basics costs would be £385 + 40 + £139 approx for divorce and consent order
The forms are abit tricky so ask for help on this forum to fill in the particulars
I only just got mine filled in so feel free to ask me!
Have you requested a complete breakdown of costs and charges?
The first port of call when complaining about a solicitor is to speak to the senior partner or the practice manager of the firm, and at the same time, request that your account is placed "in dispute".
Most firms wish to resolve complaints "in-house", and will actually work towards resolving the issue.
Only then, if there isn''t a satisfactory conclusion, should you approach the Legal Ombudsman.
Jamsandwiches it''s a child residence/contact dispute which there is no hope of an amicable agreement at this point.
Everyon who has been involved with the solicitors is urging me to make a complaint. I''m not sure it''s a good idea though. I understand that I have a right to, but at the moment it''s more important for me to get hold of the file. As it is I have a hearing in slightly over 2 weeks and another in 4 weeks, and the new solicitor (assuming Legal Aid pull their finger out and deal with the appeal) won''t know what has gone before.
I think reaching an agreement about releasing the file is more important than making a complaint, especially as I don''t expect arguing with solicitors will get me anywhere beneficial!
Ok, I need to officially complain. I''ve got the itemised bill of everything that they''ve done, and I''m more than a little bit annoyed!
For example, my solicitor didn''t get it in writing that my ex would collect only personal items from the house. She came and stripped the house the next day so I lost all my personal possessions. The solicitors have billed me with £315 of charges for letters and phone calls dealing with the situation.
There''s a £400 discrepancy between the bill and the list of work done (i.e. they''ve invoiced me for £6600 but the total work done (including VAT) only comes to £6200.
There''s 2 charges for a client care letter (on one day) that they didn''t send on the date listed and then charged again 3 weeks later when they actually sent it.
There are charges for a letter (that the court ordered) that they have written but never sent. It''s very important to the case!
A charge for a C2 form (I didn''t need permission to apply)
There are just loads of them.
So the question is, how do I complain about all of these issues without appearing like I''m just trying to reduce my bill by as much as possible? I''m not going to lie, any reduction of the bill would be appreciated but they seem to have charged for work that just has not been done.
Also, they filed my paperwork in a court 45 minutes to an hour away, and then charged me £300 travelling for each appearance, that''s £900! Why the hell did they file it so far away?!