Tizard v Canter Levin and Berg : £4,500.00 Legal Fee Refund to Former Client of Liverpool Law Firm
Checkmylegalfees.com represented me in a claim against my Solicitor that I consider had overcharged me. Ben Winter dealt with my case and was brilliant throughout the whole process. He was always keeping me up to date with any news on my case, and was always available over the phone to talk about any concerns I had. The outcome was that I was refunded nearly 50% of the c£10,000 that Canter Levin and Berg had charged me, and the only reason I even knew about this was because of an advertisement that popped up on social media one day! I would definitely recommend Ben and the others at Checkmylegalfees.com, I have received great customer service and a great experience all round. Thanks for everything.Mr.Tizard 17/11/2021
Checkmylegalfees.com are pleased to announce that we have achieved a refund of 50% of the legal fees deducted from our client's compensation.Mr Tizard, 27, from Bristol was involved in a Road Traffic Accident on 16th October 2018 when a third-party vehicle turned into a road across Mr Tizard's path causing a collision. He suffered substantial injuries including a broken right leg, a broken nose, various contusions and soft tissue injuries.
He was ultimately successful in his action and achieved a settlement of over £40,000.
Just under £10,000 of his award has retained by his Solicitor towards his legal fees.
Mr Tizard instructed Checkmylegalfees.com in September 2020 to investigate the legal fees charged and provide him with advice as to his rights and remedies under Solicitors Act 1974.
We first made contact with Canter Levin and Berg Solicitors in September 2020 seeking the file of papers belonging to Mr Tizard in relation to his accident claim.
Unfortunately Canter Levin and Berg did not do this, and proceedings were required under s68 Solicitors Act seeking a Court order for the delivery up of the requested papers.
Shortly before the hearing, Canter Levin and Berg agreed to deliver the papers belonging to Mr Tizard, plus a statute bill and cash account. Canter Levin and Berg also paid the costs of this application.
On 26th February 2021, the papers belonging to Mr Tizard were delivered alongside a statute bill.
It was argued for Mr Tizard that upon the construction of a proper cash account, he would be owed an immediate refund, because the statute bill was for less than the overall amount that he had been charged. This was strenuously denied by Canter Levin and Berg.
Shortly before Mr Tizard was about to commence proceedings for recovery of the amount that had been deducted but not billed, Canter Levin and Berg instructed Underwoods Solicitors, based in Hertfordshire, to deal with this matter on their behalf.
On 16th April 2021, Underwoods Solicitors on behalf of Cater Levin and Berg delivered an additional "statute bill" claiming an additional amount, which attempted to cure the position in relation to the original bill.
Rather astonishingly, the new position adopted by Canter Levin & Berg was that Mr Tizard was actually undercharged, and owed an additional £914.93 towards his legal fees.
Underwoods Solicitors claimed that the newly delivered bill was in addition to the previously delivered bill by Canter Levin and Berg, and that Mr Tizard would be out of time to seek assessment of the original invoice delivered in February, because of the time limits under s70(1) Solicitors Act. This is an important point because under s70(1) of the Act, so long as an application for assessment of the bill is made within one month of valid delivery, there is an automatic right to assessment. After a month, the right diminishes and in certain circumstances is lost altogether.
We made the point on behalf of Mr Tizard that that was not the correct legal position, because in Sprey v Rawlison Butler LLP  EWHC 354 (QB) the High Court found that bills delivered under a Conditional Fee Agreement could not be interim statute bills.
Mr Tizard provided authority for us to commence assessment proceedings against Canter Levin and Berg, and these proceedings were sealed by the Court some time afterwards.
An Acknowledgment of Service indicating an intention to contest the claim was filed by Canter Levin and Berg shortly there after.
We prepared standard directions for assessment in the hope that these could be agreed to avoid potentially wasting Court time at a hearing.
Underwoods Solicitors on behalf of Canter Levin and Berg attempted to arrange a meeting on two separate occasions which were agreed to by us both times, however such meeting failed to materialise.
Underwoods Solicitors then made their client's position clear in that they maintained that Mr Tizard's right to assessment had lapsed. . They also contested the obligation to provide a cash account, despite that being a standard direction in assessment proceedings under Solicitors Act.
As a directions hearing before a Judge was looming closer, we instructed Counsel to attend the hearing and seek the directions for assessment that our client wanted.
Despite the claim being defended in every aspect, shortly before this hearing Underwoods Solicitors confirmed that the hearing was no longer required and that the directions we had suggested all along could be agreed. The hearing was then vacated and the matter proceeded under standard assessment directions, including an order for disclosure by list and category
Canter Levin and Berg did not serve the list of documents on time., When it was provided it was, in our opinion, was too vague and did not include potentially vital disclosure including phone calls between the Solicitor and Mr Tizard, and documents in relation to how Mr Tizard was "signed up" to his Conditional Fee Agreement. This was particularly relevant as Mr Tizard had informed us of the involvement of a car body shop.
Shortly after this, Underwoods Solicitors advised us that an offer to settle was being considered by Canter Levin and Berg.
Ultimately a settlement offer was received, offering Mr Tizard a refund of £4,534.55 plus a contribution towards Mr Tizard's legal costs.
After consideration of the offer, Mr Tizard accepted the offer and has now received the sum of £4,534.55 into his bank account.Mr Tizard is delighted with the outcome and plans to spend his money on his upcoming wedding as well as a car.