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 £2,500 and £6,500 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.

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