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Topic:
Legal bill is double the estimate (4 Posts)
Started By:
Date:
25 July, 2017 05:03PM
Legal bill is double the estimate
abusesurvivor - 25 July, 2017 05:03PM
I've had my final bill. The financial settlement of my divorce was LEGAL AID funded (I'm disabled and it was a domestic violence case) and I was told after the final consent order my legal bill would be 'around' a certain amount, I viewed this as an estimate.

My final bill is just a little short of DOUBLE the amount I was told it would roughly be.

Do I have any legal right to hold the solicitor to the estimated amount or somewhere close to it?

Thanks
Re: Legal bill is double the estimate
Bubblegum - 25 July, 2017 05:21PM
I think you need to ask your solicitor for a breakdown of the bill so that you can see where the additional expenditure has been made. How much did s/he estimate and how much did you end up paying? There may be a good reason why it ended up costing more than the guide price you were given. I'm sure a quick email to the solicitor will offer some clarity and explain the huge disparity in figures.

(If not then you could follow the firm's complaints Proceedure and ultimately complain to the legal ombudsman.)
Re: Legal bill is double the estimate
Andyk - 25 July, 2017 05:45PM
I guess that they would have estimated based on the information provided. Was the financial settlement contested in any way? Solicitors tend to charge for this sort of thing based on each phone call, letter etc so if there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing that might have put the bill up.

Are the Legal Aid people querying it?
Re: Legal bill is double the estimate
abusesurvivor - 25 July, 2017 07:12PM
I haven't paid it yet.

I was given 21 days to raise any queries with the bill, I sent an email within the 21 day period but my solicitor was away for a number of weeks, they didn't respond on their return to the office. I chased them over the email (that I sent in that 21 day period) as I was just left waiting, they told me to resend the email. There is no question on whether the email got through first time I sent it, as I received an automatic reply. I am now waiting again.

I have a very detailed breakdown of the bill already.

The estimation of what my final bill would be was sent to me at the conclusion of the case, but before my case file was sent to a costs draughtsman.

My solicitor has followed the usual (I assume?) process of sending my case information to the LLA and to the court as if I haven't raised any queries with the bill, when in fact I have. I have not yet heard anything from the LLA direct.

I really want to know my rights with regard to the estimated total bill (told to me in an email at the conclusion of the case) and if the solicitor is legally bound by the estimate - or whether the total should at least be within a ballpark figure of the estimate.

I did read somewhere online that a total bill has to be within 10% of any estimate.

Thanks for any further help and advice.
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