One of the drivers behind Sewell Law is the ability to exercise autonomy and flexibility on costs. Being fair, proportionate, and reasonable on fees cannot be underestimated. We are transparent when it comes to the fees we charge for our services. Unlike other law firms, our solicitors do not have fee targets.
The success of the firm is measured on client satisfaction, and we have already established a reputation for “going above and beyond”. Most of our clients come to us by recommendation and our aim is to become a benchmark as to how legal services should be provided. Transparency in the way we charge for legal services is fundamental to us achieving client satisfaction.
There will be no charge for our initial consultation with you. At the initial consultation, we will usually be in a position to assess the necessary preliminary work and provide you with an estimate of the likely cost for us to undertake that work. If we need further information or additional documentation from you before we can provide you with a view, we will do so upon receipt of that information. We will also provide you with an indication of the likely cost to the conclusion of the case.
There are several ways in which legal fees can be charged and a case can be funded.
Privately funded on an hourly rate basis
Probably the most common way to pay for legal services. Each solicitor at Sewell Law, like most professionals, has an hourly charging rate, which is broken down into units of 6 minutes. For example, if a solicitor has an hourly charge of £150.00 plus VAT, that solicitor’s work will be charged at £15.00 plus VAT per 6 minute unit. If a piece of work takes 30 minutes to complete, generally that piece of work will cost £75.00 plus VAT.
You will receive a breakdown of the time spent by the firm’s solicitors on your case with your invoice so that you can see exactly what you have been charged for the legal services provided.
Fixed or Capped Costs
As the name suggests, fixed or capped costs are useful to ensure certainty. If we decide that fixed or capped costs are appropriate, your fees will be fixed or capped regardless of how much time is spent in dealing with the matter.
Legal Expenses Insurance
When taking instructions about any new matter, we will ask you to check whether you have any Legal Expenses Insurance (‘LEI’) that can be used to finance your case.
Policies of vehicle, business and home insurance generally come with the option of purchasing legal cover as part of the policy but may be included as part of the policy at no extra cost.
Where LEI is included, the policy terms will set out what type of legal issue is covered. The extent of cover may not necessarily correlate to the type of insurance. For example, the LEI on a motor insurance policy may include cover for employment disputes and debt recovery.
Insurers sometimes prefer a client to use their own panel Solicitor for legal work covered by their LEI policy. However, provided terms of engagement and hourly rates can be agreed, usually you can instruct a Solicitor of your choosing.
Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA) (‘No Win, No Fee’)
Also known as a contingency agreement, and usually applying to claims for damages above £10,000, this is an arrangement where you will be liable for a solicitor’s legal fees, usually calculated on an hourly rate basis, but you will only have to pay the fees if the claim is successful. In other words, payment of the fees is contingent on a successful outcome.
CFA’s can be cost neutral because, in the event of a successful outcome, the solicitor will often limit their fees to whatever is recovered from the opponent.
Owing to the risks involved with CFA’s there are certain contractual conditions that must be met before a CFA arrangement can be considered.
Damages Based Agreements (‘DBA’)
Similar to CFA’s a DBA is contingent on a successful outcome but the cost of the matter is paid from the actual damages recovered from the opponent.
Third Party Funding (‘TPF’)
In this situation, a third party unconnected with the litigation agrees to fund all costs and disbursements associated with the case. The client does not pay anything if the claim is unsuccessful. If the case is successful, the TPF will recover its costs from the opponent plus an uplift from the client (on the money it has invested). The uplift may be covered with a policy of ‘After the Event Insurance’.
After the Event Insurance (‘ATE’)
With litigation comes risk the risk of having to contribute towards or full payment of an opponent’s legal costs, if the case is lost. As a rule of thumb, the losing party may be ordered to pay around 80% of the costs and expenses incurred by the successful party. It could be more; it could be less; much will depend on whether the costs claimed by the opponent are reasonable.
A client can insure against having to pay an opponent’s legal costs. Insurers will usually require a case to have prospects of success of more than 60% (usually supported by Counsel’s opinion) before they will consider indemnity.
The insurance premium paid is not recoverable from an opponent.
When a client’s case is funded by a TPF, it is possible to obtain ATE to cover the cost of the uplift.