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Understanding our legal fees
Many people find legal costs and the way they are calculated quite complex. Hopefully this will give you a clear understanding of the sorts of legal costs you may be up for.
Before we start work on your behalf we will explain to you in detail:
- How we calculate our fees
- The likely costs involved to prepare and run your case
- Any additional costs that may be incurred
- Any costs that may be recoverable from, or payable by you to the other party.
How are legal fees decided?
There are many different ways to calculate legal fees. Fees may be decided using an agreed hourly rate (usually for commercial litigation matters) or by using official court scales or other statutory scales (for some compensation claim matters) which set out what should be charged for a particular task.
Will there be any extra expenses?
In most legal matters, you will be required to incur expenses for services provided by other parties. These expenses are called disbursements.
Examples of disbursements include fees charged by courts, doctors, experts and barristers
In litigation matters, disbursements are usually recoverable, in total or in part, from the other party if the case is successful. All reasonably incurred disbursements that cannot be recovered from the other party will form part of the legal costs payable by you.
We may require you to make a contribution towards the disbursements incurred or to be incurred on your behalf. If you are unable to fund disbursements yourself, we can offer you access to funds through a Litigation Funder. Your lawyer will discuss this with you. The Funder will provide you with a finance facility to cover disbursements and we will use these funds when bills are payable for services provided by other parties.
In compensation matters, at the conclusion of your case, your lawyer will deduct from the compensation you receive, the total amount owed to the Litigation Funder plus interest, and fees and charges that may have accrued over the duration of your claim.
You will be reimbursed these amounts if they are recoverable from the other party.
What about the costs of going to court?
Slater and Gordon is committed to providing you with clear and complete information about your likely legal costs before you commit to taking any court action. We will explain, discuss and negotiate legal costs with you before starting your claim.
Nevertheless, it can be difficult to predict whether a case will settle early or proceed to a court hearing. Some court hearings can be short and others lengthy. If we cannot predict the likely direction your matter will take, we will provide you with information about the potential costs at each stage of your matter. Statistically, the overwhelming majority of cases settle before going to court.
If my court case is not successful, will I have to pay costs for the other party?
There are always potential risks associated with taking court action. Most courts and tribunals are authorised to instruct you to pay the other party's costs (ie the defendant's costs) if your case is unsuccessful.
While there is a real risk, it is important to remember that being ordered to pay the other party's costs is only made in a small percentage of cases. This risk occurs in all litigation.
You can be assured that your case will be continually monitored and assessed to ensure you are not exposed to an unreasonable risk of having to pay the other party's costs.