Solicitors’ fees and legal costs are normally calculated by reference to a number of factors including the following:
- The complexity of the matter.
- The urgency of the matter.
- The difficulty or novelty of the questions raised.
- The skill, labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved.
- The number and importance of the document prepared to examine.
- The amount of value of any transaction involved.
- The importance of the matter to you.
- The time spent by personnel in the solicitors firm on the matter.
- The place, or places, and the circumstances in which the matter is pursued.
- These are also the factors which are taken into account in the assessment of the solicitors bill.
In addition to professional fees and miscellaneous charges payable to the solicitor, there will be items of outlay payable to third parties, including government agencies, which must be discharged by you.
If your solicitor is dealing with a contentious matter for you, the law requires the following explanation to be given to you:
- Responsibility for you solicitors charges.
- Unless otherwise agreed, when you solicitor sends you the bill of costs, you are then responsible for the payment of the bill.
- You remain responsible for this amount even where you reach a settlement with the defendant or any other third party and a term of that settlement is that you will be paid your costs. This is also the case where a defendant or other third party is ordered by a court to pay your costs.
- Your solicitor will seek to recover as much as possible of the charges from the defendant or other third parties. When monies are so recovered, if you already paid your solicitor, the monies will be refunded to you, less any costs incurred in their recovery. Otherwise, they’ll be set off against the full amount due to you solicitor.
The amount which defendant or other third party may agree or may be ordered to pay will not generally be sufficient to set off your solicitors entire charges. Insofar as the cost recovered from the other third parties are insufficient to discharge your liability to you solicitor, then you remain liable to make up the shortfall.
Possible liability to pay costs of other parties
Even where your solicitor is satisfied that you have a good case, the law requires that it is explained to you that, in the event of the following circumstances arising, you may be liable to pay, in addition to your own costs, the cost of the defendant or other third parties.
(a) Losing the case, or
(b) agreeing to accept an amount less than your full claim, or
(c ) a court failing to award you your costs or a portion of them or,
(d) the court awarding costs against you.
Charges in relation to your case will be accruing as the case progresses. Some solicitors make an arrangement with their clients that, rather than furnishing one Bill at the conclusion of the case, they will furnish interim bills on a regular basis. The amount billed should be paid within the usual credit terms of your solicitors firm.
At the conclusion of your case, your solicitor will account you for all monies received.