Most people do not consult solicitors lightly. When solicitors are consulted it is usually because some unwelcome event has befallen the client or because he or she has decided to invest in business or property requiring investment and financing well beyong his or her normal daily remit.
Appart from the particular issues and circumstances invloved in each clients case a competent firm of solicitors will seek to address from the beginnning two of the most common factors ineveitably involved in even the most straight forward case.
These issues are:
Because legal issues invariably involve interaction between clients, lawyers and other agencies law cases inevitably take longer to resolve than the average client anticipates. In even the simplest case a file is unlikely to be open and closed in less than 3 months.
A complicated matter can take up to 5 years or more to resolve.
In the experience of Fergusons Solicitors files on average take between 6 and 18 months between opening and closing the file.
Legal services are not cheap and the consequences of legal action particularly contentious matters can be financially very severe. A good service to a client will involve making the client aware from the start of the case rely cost that will be involved in taking the case through to completion.
Fergusons Solicitors will try to advise clients of:
Fergusons will also seek to assist clients by putting in place the means to reduce the impact of the cost of legal services by spreading them over a period of time - ideally over the period that the legal transaction is likely to take. Inevitably every case is different and some cases can take an unexpected turn which may involve greater or lesser expense. The solicitor or legal executive taking instructions should be able to help as to what would be a sensible amount to pay on an instalment basis.
Legal Aid is only available to a limited number of people and is means tested. Solicitors costs will not be met out of the Legal Aid fund until Legal Aid Certificate issues. This means that all work done up until the issue of the Legal Aid Certificate including the application itself is not legally assisted.
A Legal Aid application will require written proof of income whether from benefit payments or from pay slips and a declaration as to what savings the applicant may have to contribute towards the cost.
Legal Aid is often not completely free and invloves contributions from the applicant themseleves usually on an instament basis. In some cases this may amount to more than the solicitors costs would have been without a Legal Aid application.
In most cases where a compensation award or settlement is likely to be achieved it will be a condition of the Legal Aid authorities that any monies paid by the Legal Aid Rind shall be deducted from any award or settlement achieved. This is known as Statutory Charge.
By and large Legal AId will not cover non-contentious cases i.e. cases involving property where there is no disputed issue.
In practice Legal Aid tends only to be available to people who are in receipt of state benefits - but being in receipt of state benefits on its own will not guarantee qualification for Legal Aid.