SOLICITORS are required by law to disclose their fees and other expenses before they start working for a client.
This is known as the duty of disclosure.
Solicitors are entitled to charge fees that are fair and reasonable and may be calculated at a fixed amount; an hourly rate; no win, no pay; or a method of charging as negotiated to suit the circumstances.
In addition to fees, solicitors will charge for expenses incurred on your behalf, for example, barrister's fees or court fees.
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They cannot charge you for preparing a costs agreement, making disclosures to a client, or preparing the client’s bill.
Fees between solicitors can vary due to differences in expertise, seniority, location and urgency.
Compare the legal fees from a number of different solicitors.
As with any other service, the lowest cost may not necessarily be the best value.
A solicitor cannot charge interest on outstanding fees, unless bill states that interest is payable and also states the rate, or until 30 days after the client has been given the bill.
Solicitors can ask clients for money in advance for things such as barrister's fees, medical reports and filing fees.
However, the money is put into a trust account until it is spent in accordance with the client’s directions.