New Guidance from the Legal Ombudsman on "Good Costs Service"

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The Legal Ombudsman has published the 2nd edition of its guidance to solicitors on how they should go about providing information about legal fees to their clients.

The guide indicates that lawyers must provide their clients with a cost benefit analysis so they can understand the choices available to them and warned lawyers to be "crystal clear" over charging structures, whether they were fixed fees or hourly rates.

It provides a useful "insider" guide to you as a client about the information that should be provided to you before "signing up", how a "cost benefit analysis" should be provided at the outset so that you can see if your case is worth pursuing, how your case will be funded and how you should be notified of any changes to the estimate of fees as the case progresses.

Mr Q approached a solicitor to provide him with advice in an employment case. He paid £1,000 and the solicitor said he would tell him if the costs increased. The final invoice was for £5,000 but he only received £2,000 compensation from his employer. Mr Q had paid invoices on a monthly basis but there was no evidence the solicitor had given a clear idea of what his costs might come to, or what level of compensation he could expect.

We felt the firm had not managed Mr Q's expectations or given him enough information to decide whether his case was worth pursuing.

Legal Ombudsman Case Study

A fuller report on the guidance can be found in the Legal Futures article, below.

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