“But, lawyers cost loads!”

Actually you might find that legal services are a lot more reasonably priced than you would have thought. It’s certainly true that legal problems can lead to large bills but the same is true of any professional service. Our hourly rates are considerably less than many private doctors ,accountants or other lawyers and are even comparative with some builders, mechanics or other services we all need to buy from time to time.
For us the key to fair pricing is being as open as we can be, letting you know as early as possible the likely total cost and keeping you updated along the way of a case as to how much you are spending. On top of that we like to make it as easy as possible to pay with instalment ,credit card and advance payment options and with many fixed fee options as well.

So how much is my case likely to cost ?

Here are some handy guidelines about the usual cost of various types of case :
Please note VAT for legal services is currently applied at 20% and is applied to a full bill including disbursements.

Domestic conveyancing

This process is usually handled by Mr Gary Buttfield supervised by Mr Tim Bancroft. Their relevant qualifications and experience are listed on this website.
The time length of transactions is difficult to pinpoint as they are often dependent on external factors such as finance and chain transactions, however most are completed within 6-12 weeks.
The prices given are examples only and not set quotes :
Freehold sale and purchase and Leasehold sale and purchase will generally be dealt with in a fixed fee basis and by advance fixed quotation.
Freehold matters are cheaper than leasehold as they are usually less complex.
Sales are usually cheaper than purchases .
The price range for our services is £600 to £1000 plus disbursements and VAT which usually fall within £400-£600. We will often charge a set fee for the redemption or registration of each mortgage on the property as some properties have several. SDLT ( stamp duty -a property registration tax ) is in addition to these costs and varies according to the band of value of the transaction.
Mortgages and Remortgages; the cost for this work usually falls within the bracket of £500 -£800 plus disbursements and VAT which usually come between £4-600. SDLT is in addition to this cost if applicable .This will be on a fixed fee quotation.

Probate matters

This process is usually handled by Mrs Joanna Bancroft ( a clerk with over 20 years of relevant experience with the firm ) supervised by Mr Tim Bancroft.
The time length this takes is hugely variable depending on the nature and valuation process of the assets concerned . Most cases will be concluded over a 6 month period but many will take longer .
Prices given are for the collection and distribution of assets for an uncontested estate with all property contained within the UK with the client providing written evidence of all assets and debts.
Individual tasks can be priced on a fixed fee basis as below:
Inheritance advice,preparing Inheritance Tax form IHT205 and Grant application and applying for probate or letters of administration. This would apply to estates with a value of up to £325,000: £450 plus VAT
Court fee for above : £160
Additional office copies of grant £1.50 each .
As above but with additional inheritance tax relief IHT217 as required as above an additional £150 plus VAT
As above but with full inheritance tax account form IHT400 required an additional £600 plus VAT.
Advice and help with collecting in and distributing assets will be charged on an hourly rate of £200 plus VAT
On a guideline basis the typical cost of work required to assist with the administration and distribution of a simple estate ( under £200,000)to a small pool of beneficiaries (readily located ) including all work listed above as required would be in the region of £3000 plus VAT.
In more complex cases where we are instructed to take full responsibility for the identification, valuation and protection of all assets and identification of all beneficiaries the work will be charged at a rate of £200 per hour plus 1% value of estate element plus VAT. Charges vary depending on the work required but as a guideline expect this to cost between 3-5% of the gross estate ( plus VAT).

Wills

People often ask us about the costs of a Will and Mrs Joanna Bancroft will generally undertake this work on a fixed fee basis if not complex in which case it will charged at hourly rate for Mr Tim Bancroft.
Here is our simple guideline price list . However please be aware of the extra complications that can easily raise the cost . We believe we are very competitive on cost for wills . We are most concerned about the charges sometimes imposed by some non solicitor providers of this work.
Will single (basic 30 min appointment) ; £120 plus VAT ( total £144)
Will double ( basic 30 min appointment) ; £150 plus VAT ( total £180)
Will with Tax planning or Estate planning or complex trust planning will be charged by hourly rate but we will provide a written quote if asked giving the hourly rate of the fee earner involved.
Will with trust: Will prices as above but with additional £50 ( plus VAT) per trust clause set up .
Severance of joint tenancy ( a regular step in will drafting and estate planning ) ; £125 plus VAT .
We have other set charges for standard procedures in this area of work such as the removal of the name of a deceased proprietor from property deeds.

Criminal Proceedings

Due to the very wide nature of seriousness in criminal proceedings it is very hard to give accurate estimates of cost . These matters would usually be dealt with by Mr James Bancroft . A simple case usually has a timeframe of between 6 week to 6 months.However we would expect for example ;
A single charge road traffic matter before the local Magistrates court dealt with in single hearing to cost about £500 plus VAT. In addition to this cost would be disbursements ( mileage and parking usually in the region of about £18-25 ) plus vat .
Longer more complex matters would be charged at hourly rates .
For a very general example of costs we would expect a full magistrates matter ( 2/3 hearings including first appearance ,trial directions ,preparation and final hearing ) to cost between £1500 to £3000 plus VAT usually depending on length of the trial. This process would usually take place over a three to 9 month timeframe . A Crown court trial will also include disbursements such as counsels fees pushing the total cost you should anticipate and budget for to £5000 to £10,000 plus VAT. This again is hugely dependent on seriousness complexity and trial time estimate and the process would often take between 6-18 months .

Employment law

Employment law matters are again very variable according to complexity and will generally be charged on an hourly rate basis as described below. Mr Tim Bancroft, Mr James Bancroft and Mr Sam Bancroft regularly deal with this work .
However we are happy to try to give a guide as to the likely costs of a case .
To have an initial consultation following the termination of employment ,to advise on issues such as unfair dismissal and to assist in the completion of the issue of proceedings to the Employment Tribunal (to include a basic schedule of damages )should cost in the region of £600 -£1200 plus VAT. This would be on the basis of advice and assistance without formally going on the record. We would expect to charge businesses defending such claims a similar amount.
Should we be required to then have conduct of the claim throughout including preparation of trial bundles and full preparation and representation at the hearing itself costs would be on an hourly basis and would often come to within £3000 to £8000 plus VAT depending on trial length and quantity of evidence . Costs when acting in defence of an employer are usually higher as there is usually more work to do and could easily go between £10,000-£15,000 plus VAT. There may be significant extra disbursements such as the instruction and use of experts and counsel. There are also general disbursements in all cases such as issue fees ,mileage and parking costs and listing fees .

Divorce and Family law

These matters are dealt with by Ms Karina Chetwynd and Mr James Bancroft.
A basic Divorce will usually cost in the region of £1200 to £1500. This will be roughly made up of between 3-5 hours of chargeable work at an hourly rate but will also include significant disbursements such as £550 court issue fee and VAT. A straightforward divorce will take 4 -8 months.
Other Family law matters including children matters and financial proceedings will be dealt with on an hourly basis and will also attract disbursements such as mileage ,parking, counsels fees, and court issue fees. A private law children matter will usually cost in the region of £2500 to £5000 plus VAT if dealt with at the lower level court and take 6 to 18 months . A significant length final hearing will add considerably to the cost .
The guideline likely cost for matrimonial finance proceedings also varies hugely but for a relatively simple matter involving the exchange and disclosure of information of mutual assets and the negotiation and agreed division of them with a consent order you should expect the charges to be in the region of £1500 to £3000 plus VAT .Where there are more complex negotiations involving the sale and division of a home or a pension sharing order expect this to be about £3000 to £5000 plus VAT and this bracket and above for matters in which proceedings are issued and advance towards a final hearing. When proceedings are issued expect extra disbursements including counsels fees and if needed experts reports or valuations .
Contested hearings will be significantly higher than this and will depend on length,and complexity.

Debt recovery

This work will usually be dealt with by Mr Sam Bancroft or Mr Tim Bancroft. The cost will vary hugely depending on the value and complexity of the claim . The work will usually be dealt with on an hourly rate basis of between £150 – £190 per hour plus VAT. Be aware that disbursements such as the court issue fee will also vary significantly as they are fixed on a sliding scale according to the size of the claim and are typically 5% of the value claimed so frequently exceed our costs significantly but must be a factor for the client to consider .
For a legally simple case of a debt up to £100,000 which is well documented and evidenced we would expect the cost to be in the region of around £500 plus disbursements and VAT. This would include initial advice, the review of documentation and supporting evidence ,initial letter demanding payment before action, the drafting of proceedings, issue and service of claim and application for judgment if appropriate. We would expect such a matter to take between 3-6 months.
Should a defence be entered ,further and better particulars required or extensive enforcement proceedings needed this would be charged in addition at hourly rate at rates likely to be in the region of £150 plus VAT per hour on cases in respect of values claimed of up to £25,000. Above such claim values the hourly rate of £160 -£220 plus VAT per hour will apply depending on value and complexity.
Enforcement work would be charged on hourly rate basis after the point at which the judgment debt was due and unpaid . We will advise on suitable enforcement methods and likely cost at that point.

To summarise therefore
a) consider the cost of the issue fee
b) the cost of us assisting may not be significant
c) the cost will change significantly if matter becomes defended
d) ask us and factor in the possible cost of enforcement.

Private client

We operate a fixed cost for some private client work which other than stated below would be charged at the hourly rate of the relevant fee earner .
Lasting Powers of Attorney ( cost for drawing up each without registration ) £180 plus VAT
Lasting Powers of Attorney ( with registration) £300 plus VAT and court fee ( currently £82)
Please note we currently recommend clients execute both types of
Lasting Power of Attorney and the cost above would be per document .

Hourly rates

For work which is largely advice or where we cannot predict the likely cost accurately ( for example a court case may settle quickly or go all the way to trial ) we charge by hourly rates. These depend on different factors such as the value of the transaction or case ,urgency and complexity as all of these increase the level of responsibility that we have to take on board.
As a general rule we will charge for dealing with claims and disputes involving children ,criminal defence and money or property claims under £25,000 and transactional work and advice on property, land estates, companies and trusts under £100,000 as LOW level matters with regard to costs.
Claims and disputes with value £25,000-£100,000 and transactional work and advice up to £500,000 falls into a MEDIUM bracket. Claims disputes and transactional work above these figures will fall into the HIGH bracket.
If your case is especially urgent or complex or we are required (by yourself ,or by law ,or by professional regulation or by a third party authority such as a court or government agency) to accept special responsibilities for it we may have to charge in a higher bracket than the above guideline .
We will always try to ensure you are fully aware of the charging scheme applicable to your case at any time.

Guidance rates £/per hour
Fee earner PositionWorkLowMediumHigh
Tim BancroftSolicitor Qualified 1988Property, Commercial, Estates and Trusts180200250
James BancroftSolicitor Qualified 1991Crime, Family, Private Client, Client Employment160180250
Karina ChetwyndSolicitor Qualified 2004Matrimonial Property, Children Disputes160180200
Samuel BancroftSolicitor Qualified 2017Property Commercial Civil Disputes150170190
Gary ButtfieldConveyancing ManagerAssociate ILEX. 30 years’ experience Property Transactions150170
Joanna BancroftWills and Probate Clerk20 years’ experience. Wills, Estates and Private Client150170

Fixed fee

We fully understand that clients like whenever possible to know how much a job is going to cost. There are some transactions that are fairly common legal procedures in which we know roughly how much work is going to be involved. Where we can we will give a fixed fee for these tasks and will keep to it. If the case changes during its course and we have to charge on a different basis we will let you know but we accept that for some cases where things take a little longer we will accept this extra work without passing it on if we can.
It does however take a degree of experience to be able to identify which cases are completely standard so we do not immediately publish these standard fees. This is because a lot of clients will believe theirs is a simple straightforward matter ( usually because they hope it is) when unfortunately that might not be the case at all.
As a guide however our set fees will apply to standard;

  • Domestic conveyancing transactions;
  • Wills;
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney and Deputyship ;
  • Divorces

If you are interested in these fields ask about the likely or fixed fees and please remember that the disbursements ( the court or search fees or other charges we have to pay out ) will be in addition to our costs.

No Win, No Fee

This sort of method of legal costs has become very widely publicised in recent years particularly in the field of personal injury cases . It’s proper term is that of ‘a contingency fee agreement’ and these have gone through a number of different versions. You should always make sure any contingency fee agreement you are given is a proper Law Society approved current version to ensure you are getting a proper fair and protected arrangement.
Essentially it is an arrangement where someone with a claim can be represented by lawyers who agree to only get paid at the end of the case and then only if the case is successful . This is particularly attractive in civil litigation such as personal injury that can go on for years and would otherwise be too costly for the claimant to bring . For the lawyer the attraction is that the agreements can have built in details on the hourly rate they can claim and success fees which can act to uplift the costs depending on issues such as how hard they were defended.
Claimants should be very careful of agreeing to any contingency fee arrangements in which their own winnings or compensation awards could be at risk .We will warn you if this is the case and this particularly applies to cases where whilst we could win the case we may not recover costs as well from the other side . Needless to say this will always be our objective on your behalf but costs is a highly complex area of law in itself and some types of case ( for example family and employment law ) often do not award them at all.
We will regularly review civil litigation cases (particularly for personal injury matters ) for a contingency fee arrangement and you should feel free to ask whether we will enter into one of these with you . We will agree to do so particularly in cases where we believe in your claim ,believe you deserve compensation and are willing to back you with our time. Please note there may still be disbursements that you will need to pay for during the course of the case such as court fees and medical reports. There may be circumstances where you will be meeting your legal fees to us including from any damages you may win . This is particularly in cases where we are not able to recover costs from the other side which in some cases is legally not possible. Cases that recover small amounts of damages ( as classified by the courts as small claims ) do not allow the recovery of costs and accordingly your legal fees (which can be be an agreed percentage of your damages ) can be deducted from the sum awarded or charged to yourself.

Legal Aid

We have always been proud to be a legal aid practice and it has always been part of our belief that justice should be available to all . This practice was one of the first in the legal aid scheme when it was first created.
However over the years the Legal Aid Agency ( as it is now known ) has had a huge number of alterations and reductions in the scope of legal problems it is able to help . To add to controls on government spending firms have to show specialisation and volume in the areas of law they want funding for which means firms ( particularly in rural areas like our own ) cannot fulfil the required criteria even if they have the expertise needed.
We however still hold a civil legal aid franchise and under that must always assess whether or not you might qualify for public funding assistance. We will also assess whether or not you might qualify for the ‘Help with fees scheme ‘ which can remit or reduce court fees for those of limited income or on benefits.
Our current scope of legal aid mostly applies to family cases which nearly all fall under the bracket of public law . See our guide to family public law to see if this might apply to you.

Insurance

Insurance is becoming more and more a part of legal costs . Whilst many of us are aware that our car insurance may have a legal costs provision added to it they can also be part of household ,holiday and pet insurance as well. Some insurance policies in respect of payment plans( against redundancy ,illness or dismissal ) can also be really useful in helping people get representation. Some insurance policies will refer matters only to their own panel of firms and some will allow you to choose your own. It is also possible in some types of case to obtain ‘after the event’ insurance specifically to cover the costs of litigation.
Ask us if you are interested in funding your case in this way.