Professional Charges

Information relating to our professional charges

At Valens, we provide legal advice and assistance to individuals, professional appointees, and established companies.  The legal services that we provide cover a wide range of legal specialisms.  We would be pleased to discuss any specific legal requirements that you may have.  We will also provide you with an indication of the likely professional charges that will be payable for the legal advice or assistance that you require.  We would usually be able to do this after we have discussed your requirements with you; considered the background and assessed the current circumstances; considered the nature and extent of the legal advice or assistance you may, or are likely to, require; and, if necessary, undertaken an review of initial documentation.

We provide bespoke legal services, tailored to our client’s specific needs, and we provide tailored fee quotes in respect of our professional charges specific to our client’s legal needs and circumstances.

In accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority transparency rules, we have set out below information relating to our professional charges in respect of some specific services. For other legal services which are not referred to below, please get in touch with us to discuss your specific requirements, and we will provide you with a fee quote once we have sufficient information.

Employment Tribunals

The work that we undertake is usually for individuals, although we do also advise businesses on employment claims and related matters and requirements.  The nature of the employment advice and assistance required by our clients and provided by our firm is bespoke, and the information regarding professional charges is set out below as an indicative guide only.  Please contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

Professional charges

We have set out below the estimated ranges for our professional charges for advising and assisting you by way of representation in bringing and defending a claim for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal.

All our professional charges are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%.

Type of caseIndicative guide to typical range of professional charges
Simple case£6,000 – £15,000 plus VAT
Medium complexity case£15,000 – £35,000 plus VAT
High complexity case£35,000 – £60,000 plus VAT

See also the section entitled ‘Disbursements’ below for the typical disbursements that are likely to be applicable in relation to employment cases.

Matters likely to affect the level of professional charges

When taking instructions, we will work with you to assess the nature of the case and what it involves, and also consider its complexity.  There are a number of factors that could make a case more complex, which would implicate on the level of professional charges that would be applicable.

As a guide, a medium complexity case would be one which we would expect to involve a hearing over 2 to 3 days with a maximum of 5 to 6 witnesses.

Some of the typical factors that may be relevant are set out below:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
  • The number of witnesses, and witness statements that may be drafted
  • The number of documents, including their complexity, and collation of bundles
  • The number of days that the Tribunal Hearing is listed for
  • Delays in the proceedings arising from the Tribunal’s administration
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
  • The need to attend a Tribunal Hearing.

Also, it may be that there are additional claims that may be made or which may be relevant, in addition to unfair or wrongful dismissal.  These could for example involve allegations of discrimination, whistleblowing, or breaches of ‘TUPE’.  In such circumstances, we would also be able to advise and assist you should you wish to bring such additional claim(s) or are required to defend against them.  We would provide an indication of our professional charges taking account of the additional scope of work that we would be required to assist with.  Also, there may be a possibility of engaging in settlement negotiations with the opposing party, whether in without prejudice communications, by way of mediation or otherwise.  Such work would be in addition to work relating to the claim itself.

There is sometimes uncertainty as to how a case will progress, and so we may not be able to provide an accurate indication of the likely professional charges that will be incurred in connection with the work that we are required to undertake at a particular stage.  However, once the position is clearer, and the way in which the matter will progress, and the extent and nature of the likely work that will be required, is better known we would expect to be in a position to provide you with a better indication of the likely professional charges for undertaking the required legal work.

Please note that the professional charges that we quote upon instruction would usually be based on the information that we had at the time.  In the event that the work became protracted for whatever reason or we are required to undertake any work over and above that which we would normally expect in a typical case as that for which we are instructed, we reserve the right to charge additional professional charges for such additional work.

Our professional charges will be calculated by reference to the time that we are required to spend in undertaking the work that you require charged at our hourly rates, as notified to you.  The charging rates that will apply will depend on the experience of the solicitor or other member of staff who undertakes the relevant work.  The hourly rates that will apply to employment cases will range from £250 – £300 plus VAT for paralegal staff and trainees to £375 – £425 plus VAT for solicitors.

Disbursements

In addition to professional charges payable to our firm for the work that we undertake for you, there may also be expenditure (costs, fees and expenses) that we incur directly on your behalf with third parties (disbursements).  We will handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process, and would notify you of sum(s) that we would require on account to cover the same.

Disbursements that are typically incurred in connection with employment cases, include the following:

  • Tribunal fees (if bringing a claim).
  • Counsel’s fees (which will be subject to VAT). The level of Counsel’s fees will usually depend on the experience of the barrister.  A more experienced barrister would usually be instructed on more complex cases, although this is not always the case.  We will discuss instruction of Counsel with you, should this be relevant.  Counsel’s fees can range from £150 plus VAT per hour for a junior barrister to in excess of £1,000 plus VAT per hour for a senior QC.  A fixed ‘brief fee’ would usually be agreed in relation to the final Tribunal Hearing which would usually cover preparation for the Hearing and attendance for an agreed number of days.  A typical brief fee for a barrister with 10 years’ experience for a 1 day hearing would likely be in the region of £2,500 – £3,000 plus VAT.
  • Photocopying charges. These would only be applicable for mass copying, such as bundles or documents for Counsel, for the Tribunal, service on the opposing side, or for use at the Tribunal Hearing.  Our firm’s photocopying charges are calculated at £0.25p per page plus VAT.  We may utilise external copying companies.  In such a case, the photocopying charges would typically range from £0.25p per page to £0.50p per page plus VAT.

Please note that these are examples of the typical disbursements that may be incurred, and are not exhaustive.  As your case progressed, we would confirm the disbursements that will be payable and let you know any additional disbursements that may be payable.

We would be very pleased to provide you with further details regarding likely disbursements if you have any queries.

Key stages

The typical stages of an employment claim, and in respect of which our professional charges would apply, are set out below, and we should point out that not all stages may be relevant in some cases, whereas in other cases, there may be additional stages not referred to below:

  • Taking your instructions in detail, including reviewing any relevant documentation
  • Advising you as to options and procedure for proceeding, including merits of claim
  • Advising you on issues concerning compensation and awards
  • Engaging in pre-claim communications with opponents
  • Preparing a claim or a response to a claim, and reviewing a claim or a response to a claim
  • Reviewing documentation and collating documentation, including for the purpose of disclosure and inspection
  • Reviewing and drafting witness statements in concert with witnesses, and preparing any exhibits
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • Preparing final bundle of documents with opponents (if required) and agreeing content with opponents
  • Preparation of Instructions to Counsel, and collating and preparing Bundle for Counsel
  • Liaising with Counsel as regards preparation for the final Tribunal Hearing, including agreeing list of issues, chronology, and case summary (as may be required)
  • Preparing for attendance, and attendance at final Tribunal Hearing
  • Discussing the outcome of the final Tribunal Hearing with you, and if required, advising you on matters requiring your compliance

Timescale

When taking your instructions, we would provide you with an indication of the likely timescales involved in the claim from the initial work that we undertake, through the pre-claim stage, and then once the claim has commenced, through to the final Tribunal Hearing.  In general terms, the more complex the claim the more time it is likely to take to prepare and proceed with.  Also, progress will depend on the Employment Tribunal’s availability and timetable and also the responsiveness of the opponent.  We request our clients to provide timely instructions and responses, as we may require, to avoid inadvertent delay in progressing the claim.  A simple Employment Tribunal claim can take from 3 to 6 months from the date when the claim is filed to the final Tribunal Hearing.  However, the more complex the claim the more time it can take to deal with.  A complex case can take over 12 months to deal with.  Also, the venue at which the claim is dealt with may have a bearing as to speed as some Tribunals may be less busy than others.  As the claim progresses, we would keep you advised as to timescales and action(s) that needed to be taken.

Employment expertise

Our employment department has years of experience in dealing with all aspects of employment-related matters, covering those that are both contentious (e.g. disputes; claims etc.) and non-contentious (e.g. contracts; documentation; advice etc.).  We are committed to ensuring that knowledge is kept up to date, in order to give our clients the best service possible.  The Solicitor that heads up our Employment Department has over 20 years of experience in this area, and he is supported by other solicitors, and also paralegals who assist with the day to day work.

Probate and Administration of Estates

We are able to assist with the collection and distribution of money, property and other assets belonging to a person following their death, where these are within the UK and the matters are not contested.

Obtaining a grant of representation and dealing with the administration of an estate can be complicated.  It can take several months to make sure everything is done properly.  At Valens Solicitors, we have extensive experience in all matters relating to probate and estate administration.  We offer a complete service to deal with everything for you.  One of our experienced solicitors will conduct most of the work on your matter, and will be assisted by other legal staff.

Our typical professional charges, and our services

As a general indication, our professional charges are typically in the range of between £3,500 and £7,500 plus VAT and disbursements (see the section below entitled ‘Disbursements’) for a straightforward administration of an estate, for estates in England and Wales, where:

  • There are no more than two to three beneficiaries
  • There is no more than one property in the sole or joint name of the deceased
  • There are no more than two to three bank and/or investment accounts
  • There are no debts other than utility bills
  • There is a valid will appointing executors
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries
  • There are no claims made against the estate
  • There are no complications

The following services would typically be included within our professional charges:

  • Providing you with a dedicated and experienced solicitor to work on your matter
  • Identifying the legally appointed executors or administrators, and beneficiaries
  • Obtaining the relevant documentation required to make the application
  • Advising you on the application that will need to be made
  • Completing the application for the grant of probate
  • Completing the relevant HMRC forms
  • Drafting a legal oath for you to swear
  • Submitting the application to the Court on your behalf
  • Obtain the grant of probate and sending you a copy
  • Collecting and distributing all identifiable assets in the estate

The following factors are likely to increase the cost of your matter:

  • There is no valid will appointing executors
  • Not having all of the paperwork available, or having missing or incorrect information that needs investigation and correction
  • Third parties not responding to our communications promptly
  • Dealing with unusual or complex assets or items (for example: fine art, timeshares, shares in private companies etc.)
  • There are multiple beneficiaries (more than two to three)
  • There is more than one property in the sole or joint name of the deceased
  • There are multiple bank and/or investment accounts (more than two to three)
  • There are debts due from the estate other than utility bills
  • There are other intangible assets
  • Sale or transfer of any property or assets forming part of the estate
  • Advice in relation to foreign assets (this would usually entail us co-ordinating advice with professional advisers in other jurisdictions in relation to assets held abroad but only to the extent specifically agreed in writing between us)
  • Advice in relation to dealing with actual claims made against the estate, or contentious matters (whether involving beneficiaries or otherwise) in dealing with the administration of the estate.

If additional requirements or any complications arise, we will discuss these with you and provide you with an indication of our professional charges for the additional work we anticipate will be required in advance of it being undertaken. We will also update you regularly on professional charges throughout the matter so you can stay in control throughout.

Every probate and administration case, and every estate, is different.  We encourage you to contact us so we can provide you with an individual quote in respect of our professional charges to undertake the work that is likely to be required to provide you with the right amount of support to meet your individual circumstances.

Our professional charges may be based on a fixed fee which we may agree with you in certain cases; calculated as a percentage of the value of the gross estate, typically between 1% to 3%; calculated on a time incurred basis, at our hourly rates, as notified to you; or they may be a combination of the same.

The charging rates that will apply will depend on the experience of the solicitor or other member of staff who undertakes the relevant work.  The hourly rates that will apply to matters involving probate and administration of estates will range from £250 – £300 plus VAT for paralegal staff and trainees to £375 – £425 plus VAT for solicitors.

Disbursements

In addition to professional charges payable to our firm for the work that we undertake for you, there may also be expenditure (costs, fees and expenses) that we incur directly on your behalf with third parties (disbursements).  We will handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process, and would notify you of sum(s) that we would require on account to cover the same.

Disbursements that are typically incurred include the following:

  • Probate application fee of £155
  • Office copies for the grant of probate (per copy) £1.50
  • Swearing of the oath (per executor): £5.00.
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches: £2 per beneficiary
  • Post in The London Gazette: £71.00. This protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • Post in a Local Newspaper: £150.00 (estimated). This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.

This is not exhaustive, and other disbursements may apply.  During the course of the matter, we would let you know if any additional disbursements are incurred.

How long will it all take?

Each case is different, and the amount of time it will take to obtain a grant of probate or administer an estate will vary dependent on the specific circumstances.  We will endeavour to provide you with an initial indication of timescales once we have received preliminary information from you regarding the estate, and will also provide you with updates on timescales as the matter progresses.

Residential Conveyancing

The legal services that we offer include legal advice and assistance in relation to property-related matters.  This includes the purchase or sale of residential property, and the mortgaging or re-mortgaging of residential property.  We have set out below some information regarding our typical professional charges in such transaction.  Please note that this information is provided as an indicative  guide only and we will be pleased to discuss your specific requirements with you, and provide a confirmed fee quote once we have all relevant information relating to your proposed transaction.

Purchase or sale of a freehold residential property

We have set out below an indication of our typical professional charges, applicable for the purchase or sale of a freehold property on an open market for a price of £350,000, with the assistance of a mortgage, with exchange within 4 to 6 weeks and completion 2 to 3 weeks thereafter.  Please note that all our professional charges are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%.

Our professional charges cover the work typically required to complete the purchase or sell a freehold residential property, including dealing with registration at the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (‘SDLT’) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (‘Land Tax’) if the property you wish to buy or sell is in Wales.  See the sections below entitled ‘Stages of the process – Purchase’ and ‘Stages of process – Sale’, which provide an indication of the typical work that is involved in connection with the purchase or sale of a freehold residential property.

  PURCHASE SALE
ITEM DESCRIPTION Costs Costs
Legal professional charges – Purchase or sale £1,375.00 (plus VAT) £1,275.00 (plus VAT)
Legal professional charges – Completion and submission of SDLT Return £225.00 (plus VAT) N/A
Legal professional charges – Acting for mortgagee or liaising with the mortgagee’s solicitors £375.00 (plus VAT) N/A
Legal professional charges – Redemption of mortgage (per mortgage) N/A £300.00 (plus VAT)
Legal professional charges – Bank transfer fee (UK only)(per transfer)* £35.00 (plus VAT)

((i) completion monies)

£70.00 (plus VAT)

((i) redemption of mortgage; and

(ii) balance of monies to you)

Search fees**

(Local Authority/Drainage & Water/Environmental/Chancel Check)

£350.00 (plus VAT) N/A
Land Registry office copies of register and title plan (@ £3.00, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT per office copy) N/A £7.50 (plus £0.30 VAT)
Land Registry office copy documents (@ £3.00, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT per office copy) N/A £3.75 (plus £0.15 VAT)
Bankruptcy search (@ £2.00, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT, per purchaser) £2.75 (plus £0.15 VAT) N/A
Land Registry pre-completion priority search (£3.00, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT, per search) £3.75 (plus £0.15 VAT) N/A
Lawyer Checker search fee £15.00 (plus VAT) N/A
ID/Anti-Money Laundering search (per individual)*** £5.25 (plus VAT) £5.25 (plus VAT)
SDLT Return submission fee, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT £4.75 (plus £0.15 VAT) N/A
Land Registry registration fee

eDRS fee £4.00, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT

£150.00

£4.75 (plus £0.15 VAT)

N/A

N/A

 

SUB-TOTAL

 

£2,546.25

 

£1,661.50

VAT PAYABLE £476.65 £330.50
 

ESTIMATED TOTAL

 

£3,022.90

 

£1,992.00

Notes:

*Please note that additional bank transfer fees may be payable if any of the following are required to be paid by bank transfer:

  • the deposit to be paid on exchange;
  • SDLT or Land Tax; or
  • any other sum.

**Please note that not all parts of a search pack may be subject to VAT, but in the above example the whole of the net cost is presumed to be subject to VAT.  Search fees may vary, and may depend upon a number of factors, including the location, nature, and value of the property.  They can sometimes be significantly more than we may initially estimate.  It may be necessary for other searches or more additional/more detailed searches or reports to be obtained, which would incur additional fees.  During the course of the transaction, when we have more information, we can confirm the applicable fees with greater certainty.

***Please note that searches may be standard (£5.25 plus VAT (as per the above-mentioned indication of estimated professional charges)) or enhanced (£6.00 plus VAT).

Professional charges – typical minimum range for the sale or purchase of a residential freehold property

Our minimum legal professional charges are set out below:

Property value to £350,000:

  • Sale £1,275 plus VAT/Purchase: £1,375 plus VAT
  • plus any additional legal professional charges that may be applicable (see for example in the above example, in relation to the completion and submission of the SDLT Return)
  • plus disbursements.

Property value from £350,001 to £499,999:

  • Sale £1,625 plus VAT/Purchase: £1,725 plus VAT
  • plus any additional legal professional charges that may be applicable (see for example in the above example, in relation to the completion and submission of the SDLT Return)
  • plus disbursements.

Property value from £500,001 to £749,999

  • Sale £1,975 plus VAT/Purchase: £2,075 plus VAT
  • plus any additional legal professional charges that may be applicable (see for example in the above example, in relation to the completion and submission of the SDLT Return)
  • plus disbursements.

For property sales of purchase above £750,000 please contact us for a quotation.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry fees and search fees.  We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.  The disbursements that we anticipate would typically apply are set out in the example above.  However, these are not exhaustive and other disbursements may apply.  During the course of the transaction, we would let you know if any additional disbursements are incurred.

 

Purchase or sale of a leasehold residential property

We have set out below an indication of our typical professional charges, applicable for the purchase or sale of a leasehold property on an open market for a price of £350,000, with the assistance of a mortgage, with exchange within 4 to 6 weeks and completion 2 to 3 weeks thereafter.  Please note that all our professional charges are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%.

Our professional charges cover the work typically required to complete the purchase or sell a leasehold residential property, including dealing with registration at the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (‘SDLT’) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (‘Land Tax’) if the property you wish to buy or sell is in Wales.  See the sections below entitled ‘Stages of the process – Purchase’ and ‘Stages of process – Sale’, which provide an indication of the typical work that is involved in connection with the purchase or sale of a leasehold residential property.

Our professional charges and disbursements

  PURCHASE SALE
ITEM DESCRIPTION Costs Costs
Legal professional charges (purchase or sale) £1,375 (plus VAT) £1,275 (plus VAT)
Legal professional charges – completion and submission of SDLT Return £225 (plus VAT) N/A
Legal professional charges – acting for mortgagee £375 (plus VAT) N/A
Legal professional charges – redemption of mortgage (per mortgage) N/A £300 (plus VAT)
Legal professional charges – Telegraphic transfer fee (UK only)(per transfer)* £35.00 (plus VAT)

((i) completion monies)

£70.00 (plus VAT)

((i) redemption of mortgage; and

(ii) balance of monies to you)

Search fees**

(Local Authority/Drainage & Water/Environmental/Chancel Check)

£350 (plus VAT) N/A
Deed of Covenant / Landlord’s licence to assign (estimated) N/A £450 plus VAT (estimated)
Notice of Charge Fee (estimated) £100 plus VAT (estimated) N/A
Notice of Transfer Fee (estimated) £100 plus VAT (estimated) N/A
Lawyer Checker Search fee £15.00 (plus VAT) N/A
Land Registry copies of register and title plan (@ £3.00, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT, per office copy) N/A £15.00 (plus £0.60 VAT)
SDLT Return submission fee, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT £4.75 (plus £0.15 VAT) N/A
Land Registry office copy documents (@ £3.00, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT, per office copy) N/A £3.75 (plus £0.15 VAT)
Bankruptcy search (@ £2.00, plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT, per search)  £2.75 (plus £0.15 VAT) (for one purchaser) N/A
Land Registry pre-completion search, £3.00 plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT, per search £3.75 (plus  £0.15 VAT) N/A
Land Registry registration fee

eDRS fee (£4,00 plus search provider fee of £0.75 plus VAT)

£270.00

£4.75 (plus £0.15 VAT)

N/A
 

SUB-TOTAL

 

£2,861.00

 

£2,113.75

VAT PAYABLE £495.60 £422.15
 

ESTIMATED TOTAL

£3,356.60 £2,535.90

Notes:

*Please note that additional bank transfer fees may be payable if any of the following are required to be paid by telegraphic transfer:

  • the deposit to be paid on exchange;
  • SDLT or Land Tax; or
  • any other sum.

**Please note that not all parts of a search pack may be subject to VAT, but in the above example the whole of the net cost is presumed to be subject to VAT.  Search fees may vary, and may depend upon a number of factors, including the location, nature, and value of the property.  They can sometimes be significantly more than we may initially estimate.  It may be necessary for other searches or more additional/more detailed searches or reports to be obtained, which would incur additional fees.  During the course of the transaction, when we have more information, we can confirm the applicable fees with greater certainty.

***Please note that searches may be standard (£5.25 plus VAT (as per the above-mentioned indication of estimated professional charges)) or enhanced (£6.00 plus VAT).

Professional charges – typical minimum range for the sale or purchase of a residential leasehold property

Our minimum legal professional charges are set out below:

Property value to £350,000:

  • Sale £1,275 plus VAT/Purchase: £1,375 plus VAT
  • plus any additional legal professional charges that may be applicable (see for example in the above example, in relation to the completion and submission of the SDLT Return)
  • plus disbursements.

Property value from £350,001 to £499,999:

  • Sale £1,625 plus VAT/Purchase: £1,725 plus VAT
  • plus any additional legal professional charges that may be applicable (see for example in the above example, in relation to the completion and submission of the SDLT Return)
  • plus disbursements.

Property value from £500,001 to £749,999

  • Sale £1,975 plus VAT/Purchase: £2,075 plus VAT
  • plus any additional legal professional charges that may be applicable (see for example in the above example, in relation to the completion and submission of the SDLT Return)
  • plus disbursements.

For property sales of purchase above £750,000 please contact us for a bespoke quotation.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry fees.  We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.  There are certain disbursements which will be set out in the individual lease relating to the Property. The disbursements which we anticipate will apply are set out below under the heading ‘ Anticipated Disbursements’. The disbursements can vary from property to property and can on occasion be significantly more than the ranges that we have set out.  We can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of documents relevant to the transaction/received relevant information.  Please also note that the list is not exhaustive.  Other disbursements may also apply depending on the terms of the lease.

Anticipated Disbursements

  • Notice of Transfer fee. This fee, if chargeable, is usually set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £50 – £100 plus VAT.
  • Notice of Charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged). This fee is usually set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £50 – £100 plus VAT.
  • Deed of Covenant fee. This fee is usually confirmed by the management company / Landlord for the property and can be difficult to estimate. It can typically be between £250 plus VAT to £450 plus VAT, but may be less or significantly higher.
  • Other fees may also be payable to third parties in relation to leasehold purchases. We would inform you of likely fees that would be incurred once we had sufficient information.

Ground rent and service charges, apportionments and possible retentions

You should also be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your ownership of the property. We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as soon as this we receive this information.  At completion, an apportionment of the ground rent and service charge is usually likely to be required whereby any pre-payments made by the seller or arrears due from the seller are apportioned as between the seller (liable prior to completion) and you (liable after completion).  If an apportionment is not possible at completion, then it may be possible to agree for a sum to be retained or paid under the contract to be held by one of the parties’ solicitors pending confirmation of final figure.

 

Auction purchases

The above indications of our professional charges do not apply to auction purchases.  The nature of the work that we would be required to undertake, and the speed / steps in the transaction, would be different from a typical transaction relating to the sale or purchase of a property on the open market.

If you intend to buy or sell a property through an auction, then you should contact us at the earliest opportunity prior to the auction.  One of the services that we offer is a Review of Auction Pack, which involves a review of all the auction documentation and reporting to you; and you will also have an option of instructing additional investigation and enquiries at an additional costs.  If this is of interest, please get in touch with us.

We will also be able to provide you with a bespoke quotation to act for you in your sale or your purchase.  If you are selling, then you may have the option of requiring the purchaser to make a contribution towards your own legal costs in the transaction. Likewise, if you are purchasing you the auction special conditions may require the successful buyer to contribute towards the seller’s legal costs.

Referral fees

Please note that we do not pay referral fees to third parties for conveyancing work.

Stamp Duty or Land Tax (on purchase)

The amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax that is payable depends on the purchase price of your property, and also depends on whether you will own two or more properties on completion.  You can obtain an indication of the amount you are likely to need to pay by using HMRC’s website and the online calculator:

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/calculate-stamp-duty-land-tax/#/intro

or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority’s website:

https://beta.gov.wales/land-transaction-tax-calculator

Please note that reliefs and exemptions can sometimes be available, and further information is available on HMRC’s website.  You should also let us know if you believe that any relief or exemption may be applicable to your purchase.

How long will my house purchase take?

The time it will take from your offer being accepted until you get the keys to your new house will depend on a number of factors.  The average process typically takes between 6 to 10 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you are a first time buyer, purchasing a new build property with a mortgage in principle, it could take 8 to 10 weeks. However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between 2 and 3 months. In such, a situation additional charges would apply.

Assumptions

*Our professional charges assume that:

  • The transaction is a standard transaction and that no unforeseen matters arise including for example (but not limited to) a defect in title which requires remedying prior to completion or the preparation of additional documents ancillary to the main transaction
  • The property is not a new build
  • If the property is freehold, it is registered with its own title at the Land Registry, and that there will be no requirement for a first registration
  • If the property is a leasehold, the lease is a registered lease, registered with its own title at the Land Registry, and that there will be no requirement for a first registration
  • That all relevant building regulations or planning permission has been obtained
  • That all relevant documents we request from you, our client, are provided promptly
  • The transaction and property is not part of or sold under a shared ownership scheme
  • The property is not being purchased using a help to buy scheme, equity loan or ISA
  • The property is not being purchased under a right to buy
  • The property is not being purchased at auction or direct from a mortgagee (whether in possession or not) or from an insolvency practitioner
  • The property has not been repossessed
  • This is the assignment of an existing lease and is not the grant of a new lease
  • If a mortgage is required, the mortgage is a standard home purchaser or buy-to-let mortgage and not an Islamic mortgage, or unconventional (or non-standard) mortgage
  • The transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complication arise
  • All parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing documentation
  • No indemnity policies are required. Additional disbursements may apply if indemnity policies are required.
  • There is at least ten working days between exchange and completion.  In the event that completion is to be expedited, then we will charge an expedited completion fee of £100 plus VAT (sale or purchase) or £125 plus VAT (sale and purchase).

If any of the above-mentioned factors apply to the property or the transaction, then this is likely to increase the professional charges (and possibly also the disbursements that you would likely need to pay).  The list above is not intended to be exhaustive and there may be other factors that may be relevant.

Stages of the process – Purchase

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, we have set out below the typical stages that we would expect in most transactions:

  • Take your instructions and provide you with initial advice
  • Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender’s solicitors, if required
  • Receive and advise on contract documents
  • Carry out searches
  • Obtain further planning documentation, if required
  • Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor
  • Give you advice on all documents and information received
  • Go through conditions of mortgage offer with you
  • Send final contract to you for signature
  • Draft Transfer
  • Advise on joint ownership (if more than one individual is purchasing the property)
  • Obtain pre-completion searches
  • Agree completion date (date from which you own the property)
  • Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
  • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
  • Complete purchase
  • Deal with payment of Stamp Duty/Land Tax
  • Deal with application for registration at Land Registry

Stages of the process – Sale

The precise stages involved in the sale of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, we have set out below the typical stages that we would expect in most transactions:

  • Take your instructions and provide you with initial advice
  • Check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender’s solicitors, if required
  • Receive and advise on contract documents
  • Carry out searches
  • Obtain further planning documentation, if required
  • Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor
  • Give you advice on all documents and information received
  • Go through conditions of mortgage offer with you
  • Send final contract to you for signature
  • Draft Transfer
  • Advise on joint ownership (if more than one individual is purchasing the property)
  • Obtain pre-completion searches
  • Agree completion date (date from which you own the property)
  • Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
  • Arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you
  • Complete purchase
  • Deal with payment of Stamp Duty/Land Tax
  • Deal with application for registration at Land Registry

 

Matters likely to affect the level of professional charges

There is sometimes uncertainty as to how a transaction will progress, and so we may not be able to provide an accurate indication of the likely professional charges that will be incurred in connection with the work that we are required to undertake at a particular stage.  However, once the position is clearer, and the way in which the matter will progress, and the extent and nature of the likely work that will be required, is better known we would expect to be in a position to provide you with a better indication of the likely professional charges for undertaking the required legal work.

Please note that the professional charges that we quote upon instruction would usually be based on the information that we had at the time.  In the event that the work became protracted for whatever reason or we are required to undertake any work over and above that which we would normally expect in a typical case as that for which we are instructed, we reserve the right to charge additional professional charges for such additional work.

Where we have not quoted a fixed fee, our professional charges for work we undertake (including additional work required) will usually be calculated by reference to the time that we are required to spend in undertaking the work that you require charged at our hourly rates, as notified to you.

The charging rates that will apply will depend on the experience of the solicitor or other member of staff who undertakes the relevant work.  The hourly rates that will apply to residential conveyancing transactions will range from £250 – £300 plus VAT for paralegal staff and trainees to £375 – £425 plus VAT for solicitors and licensed conveyancers.

Residential conveyancing expertise

Our property department has years of experience in dealing with all aspects of residential conveyancing.  The profiles of the individuals who will be able to assist you with residential conveyancing are available on our website, and include solicitors and a licensed conveyancer.  They are supported by experienced legal support staff.

Debt Recovery

The work that we undertake in relation to debt recovery is usually for businesses, and the information regarding professional charges is set out below is an indicative guide only.

We do also advise and assist individuals in relation to private debts and related matters and requirements.  The nature of such matters is typically non-standard, and usually requires bespoke advice and assistance.

Please contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

Professional charges

The estimated fees set out below apply where you are a claimant and your claim is for up to £100,000 and is in relation to an unpaid invoice which is not disputed, enforcement action is not required, and no interim applications (including adjournments of hearing or requests for extensions of time) are required.

If you are defending a claim then the estimated fees set out below do not apply.  You should contact us to discuss your specific requirements, and we will provide you with a fee quote if we are able to assist you.

If the other party disputes your claim at any point, or any additional work is required, we will discuss this with you and provide you with revised advice about costs as necessary depending on how much more work is required.

If you are seeking recovery of a debt with a value or more than £100,001 or require any other assistance involving a dispute, litigation, a court claim, or enforcement, then please contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

All our professional charges are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%.

Debt value Court fee Our typical fees Total estimated fees (based on estimated upper limit of our typical fees)
Up to £5,000 £35 – £205 £600 – £1,000 plus VAT £1,205 plus VAT
£5,001 to £10,000 £455 £800 – £1,300 plus VAT £1,755 plus VAT
£10,001 to £100,000 5% of the value of the claim £1,000 – £2,500 plus VAT Up to £7,500 plus VAT

Our estimated fees would usually include all or whatever parts of the following work we are required to undertake:

  • Taking your instructions and reviewing initial documentation received/required from you;
  • Undertaking appropriate searches;
  • Preparing and sending a letter before action;
  • Notifying you of the response (if any) received to the letter before action;
  • Receiving payment and sending onto you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing a claim;
  • Where no Acknowledgment of Service or Defence is received, applying to the court to enter Judgment in default;
  • When Judgment in default in received, writing to the other side to request payment;
  • If payment is not received within 28 days, providing you with advice on next steps and likely costs.

For claims with a debt value up to £5,000, the Court fee will be between £35 to £205.  You can confirm the Court fee that will be applicable by either contacting us or checking on the Gov.uk website at

Matters likely to affect the level of professional charges

There is sometimes uncertainty as to how a case will progress, and so we may not be able to provide an accurate indication of the likely professional charges that will be incurred in connection with the work that we are required to undertake at a particular stage.  However, once the position is clearer, and the way in which the matter will progress, and the extent and nature of the likely work that will be required, is better known we would expect to be in a position to provide you with a better indication of the likely professional charges for undertaking the required legal work.

Please note that the professional charges that we quote upon instruction would usually be based on the information that we had at the time.  In the event that the work became protracted for whatever reason or we are required to undertake any work over and above that which we would normally expect in a typical case as that for which we are instructed, we reserve the right to charge additional professional charges for such additional work.  This would include, by way of example, where the opposing party defends the claim you make, and the claim becomes contested.

Where we have not quoted a fixed fee, our professional charges for work we undertake (including additional work required) will usually be calculated by reference to the time that we are required to spend in undertaking the work that you require charged at our hourly rates, as notified to you.  The charging rates that will apply will depend on the experience of the solicitor or other member of staff who undertakes the relevant work.  The hourly rates that will apply to debt recovery claims will range from £250 – £300 plus VAT for paralegal staff and trainees to £375 – £425 plus VAT for solicitors.

Disbursements

In addition to professional charges payable to our firm for the work that we undertake for you, there may also be expenditure (costs, fees and expenses) that we incur directly on your behalf with third parties (disbursements).  We will handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process, and would notify you of sum(s) that we would require on account to cover the same.

Disbursements that are typically incurred in connection with debt recovery cases, may include the following:

  • Court fees (if bringing a claim).
  • Counsel’s fees (which will be subject to VAT). The level of Counsel’s fees will usually depend on the experience of the barrister.  A more experienced barrister would usually be instructed on more complex cases, although this is not always the case.  We will discuss instruction of Counsel with you, should this be relevant.  Counsel’s fees can range from £150 plus VAT per hour for a junior barrister to in excess of £1,000 plus VAT per hour for a senior QC.  A fixed ‘brief fee’ would usually be agreed in relation to hearings which would usually cover preparation for the hearing and attendance for an agreed period of time.  A typical brief fee for a barrister with 10 years’ experience for a ½ to 1 day hearing would likely be in the region of £1,750 – £3,000 plus VAT.
  • Photocopying charges. These would only be applicable for mass copying, such as bundles or documents for Counsel, for the Court, service on the opposing side, or for use at the hearing.  Our firm’s photocopying charges are calculated at £0.25p per page plus VAT.  We may utilise external copying companies.  In such a case, the photocopying charges would typically range from £0.25p per page to £0.50p per page plus VAT.

Please note that these are examples of the typical disbursements that may be incurred, and are not exhaustive.  Usually, Counsel’s fees would only be applicable in more complex cases, including those where a claim is contested.  As your case progressed, we would confirm the disbursements that will be payable and let you know any additional disbursements that may be payable.

We would be very pleased to provide you with further details regarding likely disbursements if you have any queries.

Costs recovery

You should note that for claims with a value less than £10,000, even if you are successful in your claim you will not be able to recover the legal fees that you have incurred from your debtor save for minimal costs relating to attendance at Court and Court fees.  Costs where a claim is issued and a Judgment in default is entered would usually be awarded based on a fixed costs basis under Rule 45 of the Civil Procedure Rules.  We can provide further information in relation to this if you require.

You should therefore bear this in mind before deciding whether to proceed with the proposed debt recovery action.

Timescale

When taking your instructions, we would provide you with an indication of the likely timescales involved in the claim from the initial work that we undertake, through the pre-claim stage, and then once the claim has commenced, through to the final hearing/request for Judgment.  In general terms, the more complex the claim the more time it is likely to take to prepare and proceed with.  Also, progress will depend on the speed with which the Court deal with the claim, the Court’s availability and timetable, and also the responsiveness of the opponent.  We request our clients to provide timely instructions and responses, as we may require, to avoid inadvertent delay in progressing the claim.  A straightforward debt recovery claim where we file a request for Judgment in default may take 8 to 14 weeks from receipt of instructions from you to receipt of payment from the other side, depending on whether or not it is necessary to issue a claim.  You are required to give 30 days’ notice of your intention to issue proceedings.  Once proceedings have been issued by the Court, you are obliged to give at least 14 days for a response.  The timescales are based on cases where no defence is received, the Court issues Judgment promptly and the other side pays promptly on receipt of Judgment in default.  If the other side disputes the debt at any stage, or enforcement action is needed, the matter will take longer to resolve.

Litigation expertise

Our litigation department has years of experience in dealing with all aspects of debt recovery.  We are committed to ensuring that knowledge is kept up to date, in order to give our clients the best service possible.  The Solicitor that heads up our Litigation Department has over 20 years of experience in this area, and he is supported by other solicitors, and also legal support staff who assist with the day to day work.

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