Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Solicitor Shopping:New Rules On Price Info

From tomorrow 06 December 2018 solicitors must prominently display on their website, information on the prices they would charge for their services if you hired them. Should they not have a website, they are probably still using quill pens and sitting at their desks in bowler or decorative hats but the info must then be made available on request.

If you think of hiring a solicitor without price information you are probably too rich or mad - or both. But do remember this. The cheapest solicitor may not be the best and, as with prosecco and socks, you gets what you pays for! The cheapest solicitor may be reluctant to actually see you face to face more than once and be running their outfit from a caravan on a bomb site (which is not of itself a dreadful thing provided there are some toilet facilities).

The changes will make it easier to mentally compose a short list of solicitors who might suit you. Much of the info would have had to be made available by a solicitor you actually hired. Now you will get it without having first to make contact with the solicitor.

So for precisely which legal services must this price info be provided? Residential conveyancing, obtaining probate or letters of administration where there is no contest, motoring offences which are only dealt with in the magistrates’ court, tribunal claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal and immigration cases (excluding asylum application). For businesses, the services caught are debt recovery for up to £100,000 (that’s the amount of the debt, not the price), defending tribunal claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal and licensing applications for business premises.

And what is the price info which is to be given? Principally, the fixed charge or the average cost or range of costs, the basis for the charges including any hourly rates, a description and amount of any likely disbursements and the experience and qualifications of who will be carrying out the work. The last bit is especially interesting and important. After all, you don’t want to pay through the nose for work done by the office cat.

You’ll find lots of tips on sourcing the right solicitor for your job and what to check on before committing yourself to using them in Breaking Law. The price is on the cover. I think!