Fixed Fees in Non-Family Law work

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In one of the most significant developments in how solicitors charge for non-family law work Lord Justice Jackson of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales has announced a pilot scheme under which solicitors who win cases for their clients will only be able to charge a fixed fee against the losing party.

For claims of £250,000 or less the fees will be capped at £80,000

The pilot will be open to new cases for two years and be monitored by academics. Jackson is apparently in discussions with Professor Andrew Francis and Nick Taylor of Leeds University’s School of Law.

The scheme is voluntary and both sides must agree to take part, although parties should not have an ‘unfettered right’ to leave the scheme if they change their mind.

All legal cases that are not criminal are described as “civil proceedings”. Family law proceedings are a very specialist subset of civil proceedings. The pilot scheme applies to all non-family law civil claims.

Richard Crallan of Crallan Family and Divorce Solicitors in Bath believes that the slow progression of fixed fees (also called fixed costs or flat fees) is a sure sign of the direction of travel for all solicitors not acting for the very wealthiest members of society.

“High net worth individuals will always want to be able to pay as much as they can afford to conduct contested family law proceedings but it is only a matter of time before the 99% of society who are of more limited means will expect to obtain legal services for a fixed fee”.

Richard Crallan formerly worked at Sears Tooth in Mayfair and set up his own specialist family law firm in Bath in 2008.

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