Our desire is to be transparent in our costs to you.
Before commencing work in your matter, we will discuss the issues in your case with you either over the telephone or in person.
Depending on the nature of your enquiry, we will provide you with an initial no obligation 30 minute consultation for a fixed fee of just $110. Should you indeed need legal services, we will provide a costs agreement in writing before we start work.
We generally charge on a time basis but there are exceptions , including conveyancing and undefended debt recovery proceedings where we usually charge a lump sum.
In addition to the costs that Etheringtons Solicitors will incur, it is common in most cases for you to also incur what is known as “disbursements.” These are expenses which may be incurred on your behalf. For example, the most common disbursement are legal fees to be paid to a barrister who may provide you with an advice and/or appear for you at a hearing in court. We will only instruct a barrister with your express authority and we will provide you with an estimate of their costs in addition to our costs before doing so. Other disbursements which are commonly incurred are filing fees which are payable to the court (which can vary from $60.00 to over $1,000.00). Fees may also be payable to experts, who may give an opinion to assist your case. For example, it may be necessary to obtain an opinion from a doctor, in which case you will be liable to pay the doctor’s fee. Again, any disbursements will be advised beforehand for your authority.
An estimate of costs should give you an indication of the likely amount that will be liable to our firm. In matters which are contested in Court, it is difficult to predict the manner in which the other side will conduct their case so we will provide you with a range of estimates in cases that are litigated. We assess each case separately and, as best as we can, the amount of work that is involved in your case. We will give you a commitment that we will not exceed the estimate of costs which we have provided you without your knowledge and consent.
We usually issue accounts to clients on a monthly basis. We can assess specifics as to whether or not this is possible in your case. We recognise that it can be difficult at times to pay legal costs while a matter is ongoing before you have actually obtained any compensation. In some cases, we will agree not to issue any accounts at all until the matter has resolved.
The costs agreement which we give you will govern all of these issues. We encourage you to read our costs agreement when you receive it and ask us any questions in relation to it.
In addition, we can also put you in contact with third party lenders, who may be able to lend funds for the litigation, but also for actual living expenses while your case is ongoing. This is particularly attractive to those separating from their partner and expecting a settlement in family law disputes which can take a lengthy time to resolve. This funding can also be of great assistance in cases where a contested Estate is in dispute and a person is in poor financial circumstances until such time as the matter is resolved.
At any time, you are generally able to ask us for an up to date account and we will provide you with one. We commit to providing you with not only with an account of our charges, but with an itemised account which shows the date on which the work was carried out, what work was actually done, who carried out the work and what the charge was.
Apart from Family Law and Criminal Law matters, in most cases that are disputed, you may obtain some of the legal costs you incurred from the other side if you succeed in your case. In Family Law and Criminal Law matters, you will generally need to pay your own costs. In some other matters, you may also need to pay your own costs, so we will advise you at the time. Equally, if you lose a case you initiated, you could be liable to pay for the other side’s legal costs. For this reason, we aim to provide you with an opinion at the outset on the strengths and weaknesses of your case. It is also important to realise this still applies even if we (or any firm) take on a case on a ‘no win/no fee basis’. Therefore, we must carefully examine all of the issues at the outset in order to protect you as best as we can from this occurring.
For cases where you are successful and entitled to recover your legal costs from the other side, the law only allows for a recovery of approximately 60% to 80% of your legal costs in most instances. This is known as “ordinary or party/party costs”. You are therefore unlikely to recover the “gap” fees. There are strategies which we will advise you on where you can potentially recover all of your costs, or virtually all of them, so you have no gap fee to pay. We always strive to achieve this for clients where possible.