It’s understandable to be concerned about price, that’s why we don’t shy away from talking costs
Calculating Your Legal Costs
Providing an estimate of costs in legal matters, and in particular family law costs, can be challenging. The most important thing you and your legal team can do is consider and discuss the variables that may impact the incremental or overall costs of your legal service.
So what are the variables?
The following should be considered when estimating costs:
- The complexity of the issue at hand: an amicable divorce, where no issues of property settlement or the care of children is contested, will cost less than one where issues require further mitigation, subpoenas, or for matters to be taken to court.
- The willingness of parties to settle: whether it’s a criminal law matter, a construction law dispute or a case before the family courts, the willingness for parties to settle (where suitable) will ensure you do not have to face the extended costs of a lengthy legal battle. However, settling isn’t for everyone and you and your solicitor should have an open dialogue about what you want, what you can afford, and what legal aid may be available to you.
- The willingness of solicitors to assist in settlement: your respective lawyers can come together to work towards settlement; how quickly settlement is reached relies on the readiness of both parties, including the legal team and their client, to reach a mutually beneficial resolution.
- Your solicitor’s negotiating strength: just how fast a settlement is reached can be affected by the aptitude of your solicitor. A good solicitor in characterised by having a clear and well-argued defence supported by strong evidence.
- Honest disclosure: there is always the possibility that the other side will not fully disclose their assets or their evidence prior to court. Dishonest disclosure can result in the drawing out of legal proceedings, which will add to the overall costs via both the price of your solicitor’s services and the cost of court orders, subpoenas and other legal documents.
- Delays in the court system: the courts are subjected to a wide variety of delays. These can be problematic in many ways including the extended imprisonment of a criminal defendant, the exacerbation of stress for plaintiffs and defendants, the loss of evidence or the failing of witness testimony, and increases to the costs of civil and criminal costs alike. Delays can be caused by increased caseloads, the duration of hearings, and resource issues. Your solicitor should keep you informed about how and why delays are happening and the possible financial impacts they could have for you.
- Your own perception of a favourable outcome: what is satisfactory for some isn’t always satisfactory for others. It’s important you know and communicate with your solicitor what you perceive as a favourable outcome. The pursuit of some outcomes may require more time, the use of third party services or the filing of additional legal documents.
Fixed fees don’t work. How other law firms’ “fixed fee guarantees” are selling you short.
The variables above are real, everyday occurrences when it comes to legal matters. It is for this reason that we see fixed fees as an inadequate pricing system that tends to favour large law firms more than their clients. Fixed fee agreements generally are accompanied by a clause reserving the solicitor’s right to charge higher rates in the event that a matter becomes more complex. In this respect, they’re rarely a true representation of the overall costs you will have to pay.
Our Price Policy
At CM Lawyers, it is our policy to always provide our clients with an estimate of costs at the beginning of the matter. Because legal matters can be time consuming, we then ensure that clients are regularly informed about costs, including any additional costs, during the course of your legal matter.
If you would like to speak to a solicitor directly about your legal matter, and the possible costs associated with it, complete a confidential contact form today.