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    Our family team will be there to support
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    Our residential and commercial property
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    Our personal injury team can help you get
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    Our business and employment team
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    Our wills and probate team take pride in
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    We have been writing wills for over 100 years.

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Our Charges

As a result of our Family and Matrimonial Contract, subject to eligibility criteria being fulfilled, we may be able to act for you on a Publicly Funded basis (Legal Aid). If you think that may be entitled to public funding (Legal Aid), please inform our Receptionist when calling to make an appointment and bring evidence of your income/benefit entitlement to your first appointment.

For those clients who instruct us on a privately paying basis we appreciate that the costs of proceedings may be substantial, as a result we will invoice you at regular intervals to ensure that the costs remain manageable, alternatively we would be happy to discuss payment by standing order enable you to pay as you go.

Please note that all work undertaken on your behalf or advice given, is chargeable, we do not offer free or fixed price interviews except for family matters.

Private Charging Rates

If we do not work for you under the terms of a Legal Aid Certificate or Conditional Fee Agreement basis or in a respect of a conveyancing or other fixed fee matter, we will charge you in accordance with the following schedule of fees:

Fee Earner   Status  Hourly Rate Routine Letters/Disbursements 
Angela Ashcroft LL.B   Director - Solicitor £235.00 £23.50
Andrew Simpson LL.B   Director - Solicitor £235.00 £23.50
Claire Truscott LL.B   Director - Solicitor £235.00 £23.50
         
Fiona Aitken BA Law   Consultant Solicitor £235.00 £23.50
         
Janine Hobson B Hum   Associate Solicitor £235.00 £23.50
         
Karen Greenwood LL.B   Assistant Solicitor £190.00 £19.00
Abigail Lawson LL.B   Assistant Solicitor £190.00 £19.00
Laura Thomson LL.B   Assistant Solicitor £190.00 £19.00
         
Joy Geggie   Senior Legal Clerk  £190.00 £19.00
         
Legal Clerks     £160.00 £16.00
         
Associate Legal Executive     £160.00 £16.00
         
Trainee Solicitors     £160.00 £16.00

Family Charging Rates

Christine Anderson LL.B   Director - Solicitor £200.00 £20.00
David Ashman LL.B   Director - Solicitor £200.00 £20.00
Claire Truscott LL.B   Director - Solicitor £200.00 £20.00
Andrew Wilkinson   Director - Solicitor £200.00 £20.00
         
Sharon Walker LL.B   Associate Solicitor £200.00 £20.00
         
Daniel Clark BA Hons   Assistant Solicitor £200.00 £20.00
         
Legal Clerks     £160.00 £16.00
         
Trainee Solicitors     £160.00 £16.00

Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney, Asset Protection Trusts

       
Straight forward Single Will £140.00 + VAT
Straight forward Mirror Will £180.00 + VAT
   
Lasting Power of Attorney -  
Single (either Personal Welfare OR Property and Finance) £300 + VAT
Double (two people OR both Personal Welfare and Property and Finance) £450 + VAT
In addition, Court fee is £82 per LPA  
   
Deputyship Order £950 + VAT and Court fee - This is a fixed fee approved by the Court of Protection
Asset Protection Trust £1,400 = VAT and disbursements

Family Fixed Fees

We offer an initial consultation for a fixed fee of £80 plus VAT which covers an initial appointment of up to 30 minutes where we will provide you with advice tailored to your circumstances and the advice will be confirmed in writing.

We are now able to offer a fixed fee service in certain circumstances in relation to some family matters.  For example to represent a Petitioner in relation to an uncontested divorce we would charge a fixed fee of £500 exclusive of disbursements (eg Court fees) and VAT.  To represent a Respondent in these circumstances we would charge a fixed fee of £350 exclusive of disbursements and VAT.

We are also able to offer a fixed fee service of £500 in certain circumstances in relation to a number of other family matters for example financial matters ancillary to divorce proceedings, separation agreements, consent orders, cohabitation agreements and private law children matters.  This can potentially include representation at Court hearings in relation to those matters.

To enquire as to whether our fixed fee service may be applicable to you  contact a member of our experienced family department who will be able to provide you with further details and discuss your needs in full.  Please contact our Family Department on 5144323 (Sunderland office) or 5118222 (Seaham office).

Conveyancing Charges

These are the legal conveyancing costs that we charge for residential/commercial conveyancing work that we do on your behalf including, but not limited to, buying, selling, remortaging, freehold purchses, transfers of property, purchase of land.  This is a fixed fee which covers the legal work that we carry out on your behalf from your intitial instructions to completion of the transaction and dealing with all the formalities in between.  There are additional costs involved other than the conveyancing costs, such as Stamp Duty at the prevailing rate, bank transfer fees, Land Registry fees and other search fees.  You should contact a member of our experienced Conveyancing Department who will be able to provide you with a bespoke quote for yor particular transaction and discuss your conveyancing needs in full.  Please contact our Conveyancing Department on 5144323 (Sunderland) or 5118222 (Seaham).

There are no fees for credit/debit card payments or standing order payments.

All charges are subject to VAT at the prevailing rate.

Photocopying

  • 40p + VAT per black and white A4 sheet.
  • 60p + VAT per colour A4 sheet.

Disbursements (payments to others) are charged separately.

Public Funding

To ascertain whether or not you are eligible for Public Funding (Legal Aid), you will need to give us details about your income and capital position then we can assess your financial eligibility.

Funding may be available in the form of "Legal Help" for advice or under a "Certificate of Public Funding" if representation at proceedings is required.

If you qualify for Public Funding (Legal Aid) then you will need to provide documentary evidence about your financial circumstances. If you do not, you may be financially responsible for any charge incurred. You may be liable to pay monthly contributions for the lifetime of the case.

In the event that you recover or preserve money or property which is in dispute then subject to your costs being paid by the other party you may have to pay your own costs. 

To find out more about Public Funding (Legal Aid) go to https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid.

Litigation

Accelerated Possession  Proceedings – Fixed fees

We are now able to offer a fixed fee service in certain circumstances in relation to Accelerated Possession Proceedings.  By way of example we will prepare and serve a straight forward Section 21 notice for £120 plus VAT.  We will also obtain a Possession Order using the accelerated route in the County Court without any hearing for £250 plus VAT and disbursements.     

Small Claims – Fixed fees   

We are now able to offer a fixed fee service in certain small claims cases for each stage of a case.  By way of example our charges pre-proceedings start from £75 plus VAT and then if Court proceedings are required we can offer a fixed fee for each stage of the case up to and including the final hearing, and then also for enforcement.   

To enquire as to whether our fixed fee service may be applicable to you contact a member of our experienced litigation department who will be able to provide you with further details and discuss your needs in full.  Please contact us on 5144323 (Sunderland Office) or 5118222 (Seaham Office).

Conditional Fee Agreements

We can offer to act on a Conditional Fee Agreement basis (where we do not get paid unless you win your claim), in certain types of matters, for example - Personal Injury. Each case is subject to assessment before any agreement is entered into. An assessment of your case will normally take around 2-3 weeks to complete from receiving instructions and if your case is not accepted for a Conditional Fee agreement the assessment will be free of charge.

We do not support the funding of disbursements (which are payments made to third parties)such as court fees, hearing fees, counsels fees , medical report fees , cost of obtaining medical records etc.  We will ask you to pay these. Sometimes Counsel will agree to act on a Conditional Fee Agreement basis. If your case succeeds then usually our base costs are paid by the other side, but the success fee element of our costs will still be payable by you out of your compensation and can amount to up to 25% of your compensation for general damages and past losses.

If you win your case the disbursements you have paid may be recoverable from the other party in your case, but there could be a shortfall that you will not recover. If an insurance policy has been taken out the premium will not be recoverable from the other side and will be paid for by you out of your compensation.

Contingency Fee basis (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority Claims Only)

A Contingency Fee is a sum of money we received for our fees out of your compensation if your claim is successful. We do not receive our costs from the other party in your case. Such arrangements are subject to assessment. Each case will be assessed individually and such assessment will normally will take around 2-3 weeks to complete. If the matter is not accepted for a Contingency Fee then the assessment will be free of charge.

Our costs will be payable totally out of your compensation up to a maximum of 25% of the amount you receive. We do not support the funding of any disbursements (payments to third parties) such as for medical reports or police accident reports which you will have to pay in addition.

Undisputed Debt recovery claims up to £100,000

These costs apply where your claim is in relation to an unpaid invoice which is not disputed and enforcement action is not required.

If the other party disputes your claim at any point, we will discuss with you your options and any further work required and provide you with revised advice about costs, which could be on a fixed fee basis (e.g. if a one off letter is required), or an hourly rate basis if more extensive work is needed, which will usually be the case.

Stage 1 - Pre-action

Company - Letter of claim: £75 plus VAT
Individual/sole trader - Letter of claim: £125 plus VAT

This fee includes taking your instructions, preparing and sending the letter of claim to the debtor and reporting back to you on the outcome.

Timescale: Letters of claim sent to companies usually require the debtor to pay within 14 days, but letters to individuals provide for a 30 day period which can be extended to up to 90 days under guidance published in the Civil Procedure Rules. Letters of claim will usually be sent within 10 working days from the date of receipt of your full and detailed instructions. We may need to request that you supply some further information before the letter of claim can be sent which may delay matters.

A Debtor may propose payment by instalments once a letter of claim is sent. Should this happen then the following fees will apply. This will include liaising with you to ensure that the payment arrangement is acceptable to you.

Attempting a negotiation with Defendant for a payment arrangement

(Maximum 3 letters out & 20 minutes attendance) £75.00 plus VAT
Once a payment agreement is in place charge per letter as required £10.00 plus VAT

Stage 2 Court Proceedings – Undisputed Debt Recovery Claims up to £100,000

Where Court proceedings are necessary then the court fees and our costs for preparing the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim are as follows: 

Value of Debt Court Fee Our Fees
Up to £300 £35.00 £90.00 plus VAT = £108.00
£301-£500 £50.00 £90.00 plus VAT = £108.00
£501-£1000 £70.00 £110.00 plus VAT = £132.00
£1001-£1500 £80.00 £200.00 plus VAT = £240.00
£1501-£3000 £115.00 £200.00 plus VAT = £240.00
£3,001-£5,000 £205.00 £250.00 plus VAT = £300.00
£5001-£10,000 £455.00 £300.00 plus VAT = £360.00
£10,001-£25,000 5% of the value of the claim £450.00 plus VAT = £540.00
£25,001-£50,000 5% of the value of the claim £600.00 plus VAT = £720.00
£50,001-£100,000 5% of the value of the claim £750.00 plus VAT = £900.00


Anyone wishing to proceed with a claim should note that:

  • Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost.
  • The costs quoted above are not for matters where enforcement action, such as the bailiff, is needed to collect your debt.
  • The VAT element of our fee can not be reclaimed from your debtor. You can only claim fixed legal costs as allowable under the Civil Procedure Rules and so you will not recover the fees you pay to us from the other side and there will be a shortfall. We will advise you of the fixed costs which you will recover. You should note that you remain liable for our full fees as your case progresses.

Timescale: It will usually take between 10-15 working days to prepare your Claim Form for approval and signature by you. You should note that it will usually take up to 10 working days for the Court to issue and serve a claim once the Claim is lodged with the Court. Sometimes delays are inevitable in the Court system so this can take longer.

Request judgment - £50 plus VAT

Once the court has issued and served the claim form, a debtor has 14 days in which to file a defence or enter an acknowledgement of service (when they will have a further 14 days to respond). If the claim is defended then we will advise you about future likely costs on an hourly cost basis rate.  If no acknowledgement of service or defence is filed or the Defendant admits the debt then we can proceed to apply to the Court for Judgment and our fixed fee for this service will apply.

Once Judgment is entered and the Court serve the order on the Debtor, and if payment is not received within 10 working days, then we will provide you with advice on next steps and likely costs whether on a fixed cost or hourly basis.

Timescale: It usually takes the court about 10 working days to enter judgment following receipt of our request but delays in the court system are sometimes inevitable and so it can take longer.

Cases can take around 6 months from receipt of instructions from you to receipt of payment from the other side, depending upon whether or not it is necessary to issue a claim on an undisputed debt matter. There can, however, be inevitable delays. Our time estimate is on the basis that the other side pays promptly upon receipt of Judgment in default or admission. If enforcement action is needed, the matter will take longer to resolve and we will advise you of likely costs and timescales moving forward.

Qualifications of the Team

Debt recovery work is undertaken within our litigation department by Janine Hobson and Nicola Burrell and their specific experience can be viewed on their individual profiles page on this website.

Obtaining the Grant of Probate Only

We can help you through this difficult process by obtaining the Grant of Probate on your behalf.

How much does this service cost?

TOTAL: fixed fee of £480.00 (incl. VAT).
This includes: obtaining the grant only.

Breakdown of costs:

Legal fees £400, VAT on legal fees £80

In addition the following Disbursements may be payable:

  • Probate court fee of £155.00 plus 50p for each office copy.
  • £5 Swearing of the oath (per executor) plus £2 per exhibit (although rules are changing to dispense with this)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary).
  • approximate costs £100.00 Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • approximate costs £160.00 Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

As part of our fixed fee we will:

  • Provide you with a dedicated and experienced probate specialist to work on your matter
  • Identify the legally appointed executors or administrators
  • Accurately identify the type of Probate application you will require
  • Obtain the relevant documents required to make the application
  • Complete the Probate Application and the relevant HMRC form IHT205 (any other HMRC form such as IHT400 will attract additional fees)
  • Draft a legal oath or Statement of Truth for you to sign
  • Make the application to the Probate Court on your behalf
  • Obtain the Probate and securely send two copies to you

Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 3-4 weeks.

Applying for the grant, collecting and distributing the assets

We anticipate this will take between 5 and 15 hours work at £160-£235 per hour depending on the solicitor/legal executive carrying out your work. Total costs estimated at £800-£3525 (+VAT). 

The exact cost will depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

We will handle the full process for you. This quote is for estates where:

  • There is a valid will
  • There is no more than one property
  • There are no more than 5 bank or building society accounts
  • There are no other intangible assets
  • There are 2-10 beneficiaries
  • There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
  • There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
  • There are no claims made against the estate

In addition the following Disbursements may be payable:

  • Probate court fee of £155.00 plus 50p for each office copy.
  • £5 Swearing of the oath (per executor) plus £2 per exhibit (although rules are changing to dispense with this)
  • Bankruptcy-only Land Charges Department searches (£2 per beneficiary).
  • approximate costs £100.00 Post in The London Gazette – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
  • approximate costs £160.00 Post in a Local Newspaper – This also helps to protect against unexpected claims.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Potential additional costs

  • If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there is likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
  • If any additional copies of the grant are required, they will cost £0.50 (1 per asset usually).
  • Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.

How long will this take?

On average, estates that fall within this range are dealt with within 3-6 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 4-8 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 4-6 weeks. Once this has been done, we can distribute the assets, which normally takes 2-3 weeks.

  

VAT Registration number 176456043

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