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Check your solicitor's billing arrangements

Solicitors may not be entitled to sue or take any other legal action on unpaid invoices by virtue of S69(1) Solicitors Act 1974 if the contract does not expressly or impliedly entitle them to deliver interim statute bills.

Interim statute bills are final bills in respect of the work they cover, there can be no subsequent adjustment. They are complete self-contained bills of costs to date and time limits for seeking assessment apply from the date of delivery.

Most retainers will contractually entitle solicitors to request payments on account but these monthly invoices are just that and do not carry any consequences such as time limits under the Solicitors Act 1974. Accordingly, any court proceedings commenced by a solicitor in respect of an invoice/request for payment on account may be struck out or stayed pending the conclusion of a solicitor and client detailed assessment, once a final statute bill has been delivered.

A final statute bill is one which is delivered to a client at the conclusion of their case requesting payment of all costs to date relating to the case. For a bill to be deemed a statute bill, it must comply with the Solicitors Act 1974.

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