Important note – this page has been written in preparation for KJM Legal seeking authorisation from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to be a Recognised Body. We are not yet a Recognised Body, though we will seek to become one later in 2019.
It is impossible to provide an estimate of costs without having read the papers. However, to provide you with some certainty about the initial charges should you instruct us, our initial charge for reading the papers and advising you about the next steps by telephone or email will not exceed two hours. If your initial paperwork is so extensive that we do not consider we will be able to read it and advise you on it within two hours we will discuss with you before reading it. At the moment we are not registered for VAT; this is expected to change within the year, but you should be aware that none of the figures set out here include VAT. Further, you should be aware that we can only really provide information about our own costs, not those of any expert witnesses who may need to be instructed.
We will provide clients with a bespoke cost estimate for potential costs once we have seen your papers and advised on the legal issues involved.
Karen’s hourly rate is £250 per hour. Where, in exceptional circumstances, Karen has agreed to do work outside of office hours at your specific request, we reserve the right to increase this hourly rate (by up to 50%).
Where we are doing work that is reasonably predictable in terms of the amount of Karen’s time it is likely to take, we are willing to offer fixed fees. This has the advantage for you of certainty as to your total fees for the piece of work and the advantage to us of easier and less time consuming time recording and invoicing arrangements.
We charge separately for courier and postage costs and for photocopying. These costs are all considered disbursements ie. Money paid, usually to a third party, by us on your behalf that is not professional fees for legal work.
We will review our fees from 1st April each year and will notify client with their January invoices (ie. issued in early February) of our new hourly rates and any changes to our fixed fee rates.
We do not currently offer “no win no fee” arrangements; they are not helpful in the context of appeals to the First-tier Tribunal where no monetary award will be made and costs are not normally recoverable from the Local Authority. There are also financially risky for us as a small practice. We will revisit their use when a potentially suitable case arises.
Appeals to the First-tier Tribunal
Against a refusal by the LA to commence an EHC Needs Assessment: we will charge no more than £5000, but we will provide you with a bespoke cost estimate on sight of the papers.
Appeals against refusal to issue an EHC Plan: we will charge no more than £9000; again, we will provide a bespoke estimate on sight of the papers.
Appeals against the content of an EHC Plan (including appeals against ceasing to maintain an EHC Plan): these will be offered a bespoke fixed fee once Karen has read enough paperwork to have an understanding of the case. Cases that are likely to involve more legal work will be offered a fixed fee at a higher rate than those that should be quicker to deal with. Fixed fees are likely to fall between £10 000 and £20 000.
Where we are charging a fixed fee, this will be divided into equal amounts and payable in monthly instalments over a two or three month window. It will not normally be possible to swap from fixed fees to “pay as you go” within the same piece of work.
If you do not wish to accept fixed fees, we will charge you on the basis of time taken to do the work, calculated in 6 minute units. Six minute units are used because it means there are 10 units in an hour, which makes subsequent calculations easier. Please bear in mind that the minimum charge is six minutes and that fractional units are always rounded up.
Attendance at Final Hearings
The cost of attendance at the final hearing is not included in the fixed costs set out above. We will discuss who the best person is to attend the hearing. In many cases, it will be more cost effective to instruct a barrister with specialist expertise in this field to attend the hearing, rather than arrange for Karen to attend. In some cases, given their complexity, Karen’s advice will be that a barrister will need to be instructed.
If Karen is going to attend a Final Hearing, her fees for doing so will be £1250 (an all day fee) + £500 (2 hours preparation time for the day before the hearing). Her travelling costs and any accommodation needed are separately chargeable as a disbursement. These figures exclude VAT and any other disbursements.
Annual Reviews of EHC Plans
Where Karen is asked to attend an Annual Review in person, she will have to charge an all day fee of £1250 for doing so. There will be an additional disbursement charged for her travelling costs and any overnight hotel stay. The only exception to this is where an Annual Review is taking place locally, such that Karen can travel to it, attend it and return in less than five hours, where she will charge for the time actually taken.
It will be more cost effective to arrange for Karen to attend by telephone or video conferencing (as then she will simply charge for the time taken to attend the meeting and any prior discussion with you). How useful a Solicitor’s attendance is at an Annual Review varies considerably depending on the circumstances you are in and your own feelings about attending alone. There are some cases where it will be advisable for Karen to attend with you in person, others where her attending by telephone is perfectly fine and others again where people will be happy to attend by themselves, having had some advice on the documentation.
In cases where all is going well with a child’s education at present and there are no particular concerns, Karen is happy to advise on the preparation of parental views for submission prior to the meeting and on the documentation produced by the Local Authority for the Meeting. For this a fixed fee of £500 can be offered.
Property and Financial Affairs
For these applications we can offer a fixed fee of £1000.
Health and Personal Welfare
These application are more complex and how they are dealt with by the Courts varies considerably at present, so it is difficult to provide a full estimate of costs until the application has been submitted. The fixed fee for submitting the application is £1500. The remaining work will vary between an additional £1000 – £3000 depending on the Court’s attitude and whether there is any opposition to the application by either the LA/NHS or by relatives or close friends of the (potentially) incapacitated individual.
All other types of work
We will consider the piece of work individually and in some cases will be able to offer a fixed fee. In others we will not be able to do so and we will provide you with an estimate of the range of potential costs.