Price Transparency

We believe it is not only important, but ethical that clients have the information they need to make an informed choice of the legal service provider they wish to instruct. This includes helping our potential clients to understand what the likely costs of their matter may be, and the stages which a typical matter may take.

To ensure that we are fully compliant with the transparency rules as outlined by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). We are happy to publish information on our prices and services.  Below you will find pricing information on:

Employment – representation for businesses

Debt recovery (up to £100,000)

Motoring offences

Probate

Residential Conveyancing

EMPLOYMENT

Introduction

As we are a business legal practice, on employment matters we only act for Respondents (employers defending claims brought against them in the Employment Tribunals). As a general rule, because we specialise in advising businesses and business owners, we do not act for employees on ordinary unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal claims.

If you are an employer who has received a claim form (ET1) our employment team of solicitors will happily read through the claim form for you on a no obligation basis and then provide you with a fee estimate for our work involved in defending the claim against you based on the fee parameters below.

We would also explore with you the extent to which you may have legal expenses insurance. You may have this as part of your own commercial business insurance or possibly by being a member of a trade association. If you have a policy of insurance we will explore with you the possibility of defending the claim for you under the terms of your existing insurance policy.

If you are a client with an annual employment retainer scheme with us, known as our Employer Protection Scheme (EPS), and have taken out the optional insurance policy, all your fees, disbursements and any award against your business (hopefully it won’t come to that) would generally be covered by the insurance other than an agreed level of excess applicable to the terms of your insurance policy. Please contact us if you would like details of our EPS.

If you are an employer who, due to the nature of your business and scale of employees receives a volume of claims annually, we could discuss with you dealing with those claims on a fixed fee arrangement.

Outside of the arrangements mentioned above, an indication of fees for dealing with unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims are set out below.

Factors that could affect Fees

Factors that could have a bearing on the complexity of the claim and therefore our fees are as follows:-

  1. If it is necessary to defend or make applications to the Employment Tribunals;
  2. Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person, meaning that we have to liaise with the claimant and not their representative;
  3. Making a costs application;
  4. Dealing with complex preliminary issues such as whether or not the claim has been brought in time or requesting further and better particulars from the Claimant if they have not adequately set out the full details of their claim;
  5. The number of witnesses and documents required to defend the claim; and
  6. If the claim is for constructive unfair dismissal (meaning the claimant alleges they resigned as a result of a fundamental breach of contract/action taken by their employer, or if they allege they were automatically unfairly dismissed as a result of blowing the whistle on you as an employer.

If the claim form alleges any details of discrimination, these fee parameters exclude dealing with those allegations.

Range of Fees

Estimates are based on our defending an ordinary unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunals where there is no discrimination or victimisation alleged in the claim form.

For a simple case of defending an ordinary unfair dismissal claim, a typical range of fees and costs which you may incur are from £7,500 to £9,500. This is likely to be for a case that is listed by the Employment Tribunals at the time of sending out the claim form to you for only a half or a one day hearing. In a medium complexity case, which is a case where there may be some preliminary issues and a case management conference arranged to deal with those issues, a typical fee range is from £9,500 to £12,000 and in a high complexity case, which would contain many of the factors listed above, a typical fee range is from £12,500 to £14,500. All prices exclude VAT.

Key Stages

A typical fee range as set out above would deal with the following:-

  • After an initial free review of the claim form, should you wish to engage us to defend the claim, taking your initial instructions, a detailed review of the claim form and advising you on the merits of the claim and likely award (the range of compensation an employee is likely to receive in the event their claim is successful).
  • Preparing the response form, which is the form required to be submitted to the Tribunal setting out your defence to the claims against you. In more complex cases this may include setting out the details of any counter claim against the employee.
  • Discussing with you and exploring the possibility of settlement negotiations. These will be reviewed throughout the tribunal process.
  • Responding to and analysing any schedule of loss prepared by the employee.
  • Preparing for and attending or arranging Counsel (a barrister) to attend and represent you at any preliminary hearing or case management hearing arranged by the Employment Tribunals.
  • Agreeing a bundle of documents, exchanging the documents with the Claimant or the Claimant’s representative and collating the bundle for use at the hearing (usually the Respondent is responsible for this).
  • Taking witness statements, drafting witness statements for use by witnesses at the Employment Tribunal.
  • Reviewing and advising on the Claimant’s witness statements and if necessary in more complex cases, providing further supplemental witness statements.
  • Agreeing a list of issues and finalising the bundle of documents in preparation for the hearing.
  • Attending the final hearing or providing instructions to Counsel to attend and represent you at the final hearing.

The above is an illustration of the typical work involved in defending an Employment Tribunal claim. Other factors which may have a bearing on the extent of our work would include the knowledge and ability of your own internal resources to provide key documents to us and respond efficiently and quickly to any communications from us.

Additional costs which you may incur

In addition to our own fees and expenses, as part of dealing with a claim against you, after discussion with you, it may be appropriate and cost effective to utilise Counsel (a barrister experienced in Employment Tribunals) for assisting and attending a Tribunal hearing (including preparation) as your advocate.  Counsel’s fees are known as a “disbursement” which are costs related to your file which are payable to third parties. The costs of Counsel depend on the experience of Counsel. We would provide you with guidance of appropriate Counsel depending on the complexity of the claim against you and the appropriate level of experience of Counsel.  Typical Counsel’s fees for preparing for and attending a one day hearing will be in the region of £850 – £1500 (excluding VAT). The fees could be significantly more if the claim merits more highly experienced Counsel.  Counsel’s fees for ‘refreshers’ meaning additional days at the hearing after the first day are usually less than the first day and are typically in the region of £750 – £1000 (excluding VAT) but can be more or less depending on the level of seniority of Counsel instructed. If we are instructed to be the advocate at your hearing our fees would be similar to those of instructing senior Counsel.

How long will it take to deal with defending a claim?

The time it takes from taking initial instructions to achieving a final resolution to the claim against you depends largely on the extent to which you wish to explore a negotiated settlement. If defending the claim against you proceeds to a final hearing, depending on the complexity of the case, the Employment Tribunals may have provided you with a hearing date when sending out the claim form (ET1) to you.  As there are different Employment Tribunals centres around the Country, the timings for a final hearing may be affected by the Employment Tribunals centre dealing with the claim.  Dates for final hearings may also change due to the availability of witnesses and the number of days a hearing is initially listed. For that reason it is impossible to say with any degree of accuracy how long it would take to deal with the defence of a claim against you from start to finish (in the event the claim does reach the stage of a final hearing). Based on the current workload of the Employment Tribunals, It is not uncommon for the time to between six and twelve months. Attempts to achieve a negotiated settlement can continue throughout.

Who would deal with defending a claim for you?

Our employment team is made up of highly experienced solicitors.  Typically our solicitors dealing with employment matters have over fourteen years’ experience in dealing with Employment Tribunal claims.  The team is ultimately supervised by Christopher Strutt who is a Director.

Finally we should make it clear that the typical fee ranges as mentioned above are purely an estimate for a standard case of unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal brought against you as an employer and we would always provide a full specific estimate once we have seen the claim form, which we would happily review for you as part of an initial free review process.

DEBT RECOVERY FOR BUSINESSES (upto £100,000)

Introduction

We are a legal practice that specialises in advising businesses and business owners.

If you are owed money, we will happily have a preliminary telephone discussion with you on a no obligation basis and then provide you with a fee estimate for our work involved in pursuing payment of the debt.

We would also explore with you the extent to which you may have the benefit of legal expenses insurance. This may feature as part of your own commercial business insurance policy or possibly by being a member of a trade association.

The debt recover process is usually initiated by sending a formal letter of demand informing the 0debtor that if they do not discharge the claim in full within a specified period of time, you will take steps to recover the debt. If payment is not received, there will be a range of options available to you which could include (but is not limited to) issuing substantive Court proceedings, serving a statutory demand and/or presenting a winding-up petition. We will consider the different options when liaising with you and provide an indication as to the likely costs involved.

Whether a debt is disputed or admitted will affect the options available to you.

If the debt is undisputed, we can offer a fixed-fee arrangement the details of which are set out below.

Fixed fees for an undisputed debt

The cost to issue a letter of demand will be £15 plus VAT for a debt claim with a value of less than £10,000.01. For a debt claim with a value between £10,000.01 and £99,999.99 the cost for a letter of demand will be £30.00 plus VAT. For any claim over the value of £100,000.00 a price will be provided upon request.

If substantive Court proceedings are needed for the recovery of an unpaid debt which is not disputed, and enforcement action is not needed, the following costs apply:

Debt value Court fee Our fee Total
Up to £300.00 £35.00 10% of the value of the sum recovered

If Court Proceedings are issued between £50.00-60.00 depending on service of the Court papers (if more than one Defendant £15.00 extra per Defendant)

If Judgment is entered £22.00-£55.00 depending on the stage at which Judgment is entered

£TBC
Greater than £300.00 but no more than £500.00 £50.00 10% of the value of the sum recovered

If Court Proceedings are issued between £50.00-£60.00 depending on service of the Court papers (if more than one Defendant £15.00 extra per Defendant)

If Judgment is entered £22.00-£55.00 depending on the stage at which Judgment is entered

£TBC
Greater than £500.00 but no more than £1,000.00 £75.00 10% of the value of the sum recovered

If Court Proceedings are issued between £70.00-£80.00 depending on service of the Court papers (if more than one Defendant £15.00 extra per Defendant)

If Judgment is entered £22.00-£55.00 depending on the stage at which Judgment is entered

£TBC
Greater than £1,000.00 but no more than £1,500.00 £80.00 10% of the value of the sum recovered

If Court Proceedings are issued between £80.00-£90.00 depending on service of the Court papers (if more than one Defendant £15.00 extra per Defendant)

If Judgment is entered £22.00-£55.00 depending on the stage at which Judgment is entered

£TBC
Greater than £1,500.00 but no more than £3,000.00 £115.00 10% of the value of the sum claimed.

If Court Proceedings are issued, then an additional £80.00-£90.00 depending on service of the Court papers (if more than one Defendant £15.00 extra per Defendant)

If Judgment is entered, then an £22.00-£55.00 depending on the stage at which Judgment is entered

£TBC
Greater than £3,000.00 but no more than £5,000.00 £205.00 5% of the value of the sum recovered

If Court Proceedings are issued, then an additional £80.00-£90.00 depending on service of the Court papers (if more than one Defendant £15.00 extra per Defendant)

If Judgment is entered, then an additional £22.00-£55.00 depending on the stage at which Judgment is entered

£TBC
Greater than £5,000.00 but no more than £10,000.00 £455.00 3% of the value of the sum recovered

If Court Proceedings are issued, then an additional £100.00-£110.00 depending on service of the Court papers (if more than one Defendant £15.00 extra per Defendant)

If Judgment is entered, then an additional £30.00-£70.00 depending on the stage at which Judgment is entered

£TBC
£10,001 – £100,000.00 5% value of the claim 2% of the value of the sum recovered
If Court Proceedings are issued, then an additional £500.00- £750.00 depending upon the complexities of the claim
If Judgment is entered, then an additional £30.00-£70.00 depending on the stage at which Judgment is entered
£TBC

Points to note:

  1. If the debt becomes disputed at any point, we will discuss with you what further work is required and then provide you with a revised advice about costs.
  2. The above figures do not include VAT.
  3. We add VAT and disbursements to our fees. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to parties such as barrister’s fees and travel and postage.
  4. The VAT element of our fees cannot be recovered from your debtor: you will need to reclaim the input tax in the usual way.
  5. Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost.
  6. The costs referred to above are not for matters where enforcement action, such as a High Court Enforcement Officer, is needed to collect your debt.

Our fee includes:

  1. Taking your instructions and reviewing documentation.
  2. Undertaking credit checks which we may consider appropriate.
  3. Sending a letter before action.
  4. Receiving payment and sending onto you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing the claim. It does not include any fees that may be payable to a third party e.g., a barrister.
  5. Where no Acknowledgment of Service or Defence is received, applying to the Court to enter judgement in default.
  6. When Judgement in default in received (which means you have had judgment made in your favour because the debtor has not responded), write to the other side to request payment.
  7. If payment is not received within the timeframe afforded by the Court, providing you with advice on next steps and likely costs.

The Process

Whilst each case is different, the typical process for recovery of an undisputed debt where the debtor does not respond is as follows:

  1. Letter of Demand is sent to the debtor giving them seven days to discharge the claim in full (assuming business to business).
  1. If the debtor does not respond within the time period specified a further letter may be sent providing an additional seven days to pay, with the threat of Court Proceedings.
  1. Where the debt remains outstanding a claim may be issued with the Court. The Court typically takes between 7 – 21 working days to issue the claim and serve on the defendant.
  1. Once the proceedings have been formally served, the defendant has 14 days to file an acknowledge service or a defence. Where an acknowledgment of service is filed with the Court within the time period specified, the defendant has a further 14 days in which to file its defence.
  1. If the defendant fails to file an acknowledge service or a defence within the prescribed time period, an application will be made for default judgment.
  1. It will typically take the Court 7 – 21 working days to provide judgment in default.
  1. Should the judgment not be paid with the required time period, we will contact you to discuss enforcement options.

How long will it take to recover the debt?

For an undisputed debt that is paid without enforcement action, it usually takes between 1-12 weeks from receipt of instructions to recovery of the debt. Timescales are dependent on the level of response received from the defendant and the time taken by the Court to deal with correspondence. If enforcement action is needed, the matter will take longer to resolve.

Experience and qualifications of those who will carry out the work

We have over 50 years of collective experience in advising on commercial disputes, including debt recovery.

There are currently 5 members of the debt recovery team. Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Nicholas Marshall, a Director of FMGS Law Limited and head of the Litigation Department.

MOTORING OFFENCES

We have a regulatory department which offers specialist advice in road traffic matters and acts for operators and drivers for all motoring-related prosecutions. Examples of the type of matters covered include: drivers’ hours and tachographs; insecure/dangerous loading; construction and use; overloading; driving without due care and attention; dangerous driving; no insurance; speeding; alcohol/drug driving; driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Range of fees

Factors which affect fees for matters in the Magistrates’ court are:

Plea: whether there is a “not guilty” or “guilty” plea.

Listing of hearing:  will the matter require attendance at court and if so, will one or more attendance be required.

Complexity:  is the matter one which is relatively straight forward to deal with or is it likely to require greater time due to the volume of evidence; number of witnesses; technical nature of the issues.

Where possible we will look to agree a fee for appearing in the Magistrates’ Court.   If we have not agreed a fee then our costs are based on the time involved.  As an example, if the matter is one which is likely to require attendance at one hearing with a “guilty” plea before the Magistrates’ Court and a solicitor with a standard charge out rate of £220 per hour is dealing with the matter, typically the fee would be £1100 plus VAT  (VAT is currently at 20%).  This includes: considering the evidence; taking instructions from you; advising on procedure and likely outcome; travel and attendance at court (where the travel and attendance at court is under three hours). If we charge for travel expenditure this will be the cost of a standard rail fare or mileage at 45p per mile.

If the matter is more complex than the example above due to a “not guilty” plea, or a “special reasons” or “exceptional hardship” arguments then we shall aim to agree a fee for the matter or estimate on the charge out costs.  Factors which can incur more costs include: taking witness statements; instructing expert witnesses; visiting locations; examining complex exhibits; appeals.

Key Stages

A typical “guilty” plea matter as described above would include the following stages:

Meeting in person, or on the telephone in order to obtain your instructions

Considering the initial evidence

Explaining the relevant law

Explaining court procedure

Discussing possible outcomes

Attendance at court

If additional work is required, and if we have not agreed a fixed fee with you, the extra work will be charged at our standard hourly rates. VAT should also be added to these rates.
If we need to instruct a barrister or additional expertise is required, such as instructing an independent expert, further charges will also be applicable. We will discuss these in detail with you before we instruct anybody to carry out this additional work.  VAT is currently at 20%

Experience

Our specialist regulatory team, dealing with Magistrates Court prosecutions is made up of experienced solicitors. The team is led by David Glover.

In the main, you are likely to be represented by David Glover:

David is a director and solicitor.  He qualified in 2003 and specialises in road transport law.  He regularly represents individuals and businesses in Court, Public Inquiries and investigations.  David is the Chair of the North East Region of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and a Fellow of the CILT.  David writes and speaks on road transport-related matters including a series of monthly articles which have appeared in respected transport publications for over 10 years.  Prior to qualification as a solicitor David worked for what is now the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for 12 years.

PROBATE

We are a business focussed law firm.  As part of the range of services we provide we offer a probate specialism to individuals connected to some of the businesses we act for.

It has been widely observed that no two probate cases are the same.

The cost of obtaining probate will inevitably depend on the complexity of the deceased’s financial circumstances and the level of support you require.

Range of Fees

Our fees will reflect the particular requirements of the estate. Because of this, it is very difficult to provide a reliable estimate of the costs relating to your individual circumstances until we have more details about the estate and have had a look at the Will (if any) to ascertain whether it is simple, medium or high complexity estate.

We anticipate between 20-40 hours at a charge our rate of between £198 and £220 per hour (plus VAT at 20%). Total Estimated Costs £4000 to £9000 plus VAT

This assumes there are no more than four bank accounts, one property and four beneficiaries.

The applicable disbursements will be: Probate Application Fee £160, Bankruptcy Searches £2 per name, creditor notices £200.

Length of Time Dealt with in 4-8 months to obtain Grant of Probate around 8-10 weeks, collecting assets will take about 8-10 weeks and distributing them 2-4 weeks.

Key Stages

We will prepare for you the Executors Oath (or Oath for Letters of Administration – if there is no Will) based on the financial information provided to us by you.

Clients will need to provide us with a full list of the assets and liabilities in the estate. This will require date of death valuations for all items.

We will also require from you the deceased’s National Insurance number and Tax Office and details of all gifts in excess of £3,000 that have been made within the last seven years.

We will complete an Inheritance Tax Return based on the information provided.

The draft Probate papers (consisting of the Oath and Inheritance Tax Return) will then be sent to you for your approval before the final Probate papers are signed.

Once we receive the Grant of Probate we will write to the Executors releasing the sealed Grants of Probate which will allow them to continue with the estate administration.

Making enquiries of all asset holding bodies; obtaining all necessary valuations; confirming details of liabilities; communicating with Personal Representatives, legatees and beneficiaries; preparation of the papers leading to the application for the Grant of Representation; realising assets (excluding any land/property); making interim distributions if appropriate for beneficiaries; settling liabilities and legacies; preparing and balancing final estate accounts and ultimately attending to the distribution of the final funds due to each of the beneficiaries.

Experience

Kathryn Graham leads our probate specialism.  Kathryn is a highly experienced specialist solicitor with over 35 years post qualification experience.  Kathryn is member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP) and has previously been a partner in a top 100 practice.

RESIDENTIAL CONVEYANCING

Introduction

As we are a business legal practice, we only offer residential conveyancing services for existing business clients, and can only act on sales or cash purchases.  We are not on any lenders panels for residential conveyancing, and cannot therefore act on purchases where mortgage finance is being obtained.

If you are an existing business client who wishes to buy or sell a residential property, we will happily provide you with a fee estimate on a no obligation basis based on the fee parameters below.

Factors that could affect Fees

Factors that could have a bearing on the complexity or amount of work involved, and therefore our fees, are as follows:-

  1. If the sale or purchase is of a newly built property or a property in the course of construction.
  2. If the sale or purchase is of a leasehold flat or apartment within a building.
  3. If the title to the property being sold or purchased is unregistered.
  4. If the title to the property being sold or purchased has title defects which need to be resolved, or missing deeds.
  5. If the sale or purchase of the property requires the consent of any third party.
  6. If the property is being sold or purchased subject to existing tenancies or other third party interests.
  7. If the property is high value (typically over £500k).

Range of Fees

For a simple sale or cash purchase of a residential house with vacant possession where none of the above factors apply, our typical fee is £750 plus VAT and disbursement.  This is a discounted rate which we only offer to our existing business clients.

In more complicated transactions, where one or more of the factors listed above may apply, a typical fee range is from £950 to £3,500 plus VAT and disbursements.  Again, these are discounted rates which we only offer to our existing business clients.  For complicated transactions we will discuss the particular requirements with you before providing you with a no obligation fee estimate.

Stages of Work

A typical fee range as set out above would deal with the following: –

Sales Purchases
Obtaining and reviewing title information and preparation of contract documentation Review of title information supplied by seller’s solicitor and approval of contract documentation
Negotiating and agreeing draft contract, transfer/lease with buyer’s solicitor Negotiating and agreeing draft contract, transfer/lease with seller’s solicitor
Dealing with any specific enquiries that may be raised by the buyer’s solicitor Raising specific enquiries with the seller’s solicitor
Obtaining indemnity insurance quotes (if required) for any defects in title identified Obtaining usual conveyancing searches and reviewing information supplied
Preparation and negotiation of any statutory declarations/statements of truth that may be required to deal with title issues such as adverse possession or lack of formal access Reporting to you on the title and results of any searches obtained
Dealing with exchange and completion Dealing with exchange and completion
Redemption of any existing mortgages registered against the property, and liaising with your lender to obtain redemption statements and deal with the transfer of funds Dealing with all post completion formalities, including preparation and filing of any necessary SDLT return, registration of the purchase at the Land Registry and any necessary registration of the transfer with any superior landlord
Liaising with you and with your estate agents throughout Liaising with you throughput

Additional costs which you may incur

In addition to our own fees and expenses, there will likely be costs payable to third parties that we will incur on your behalf as part of dealing with any residential sale or purchase.  In a sale, disbursement may include:

  • the costs of obtaining title information from the Land Registry (currently £3 per document required)
  • costs of obtaining management information from any landlord or their managing agents for leasehold properties (variable, but typically around £250 plus VAT)
  • the costs of obtaining any indemnity insurances that may be required (variable, but typically between £50 and £250 per policy)
  • estate agent’s fees, which we would usually pay, with your prior agreement, from the proceeds of sale

For purchases, disbursements could include:

  • conveyancing searches (typically between £500 and £750)
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax (calculated on the purchase price)
  • Land Registry Fees (calculated on the purchase price)

How long will it take to deal with a residential conveyance?

For a straight forward transaction where none of the complicating factors mentioned above are present, we would normally estimate 4-6 weeks from receipt of your initial instruction to completion provided both parties deal with the transaction efficiently and expeditiously.  Where there are complicating factors, a chain or delays by either side to the transaction, it may take longer.

Who would deal with a residential conveyance for you?

Our commercial property team is made up of highly experienced solicitors who each have many years’ experience in dealing with residential sales and purchases.  The commercial property team is ultimately supervised by Nicholas Fielden who is a Director.

Finally, we should make it clear that the typical fee ranges as mentioned above are purely an estimate and we would always provide a full specific estimate once we have discussed the transaction requirements with you.