TRANSPARENCY STATEMENT: INFORMATION ABOUT COSTS & COMPLAINTS

The Transparency Rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) require us to provide costs information concerning the following services which the firm provides:-

• In relation to individuals:

o the conveyancing of residential property comprising freehold or leasehold sales or purchases, or mortgages or remortgages

o the provision of advice and representation to employees in relation to the bringing of claims before the Employment Tribunal against an employer for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal

• In relation to businesses:

o the provision of advice and representation to employers in relation to defending claims before the Employment Tribunal brought by an employee for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal

We do not hold ourselves out as providing any other services to which the the Transparency Rules apply.

Set out below is the relevant costs information relating to these services.

Our services are tailored to the client concerned and their particular circumstances. We encourage anyone considering the engagement of the firm to ask us questions if they are unclear about anything. Every client will be issued at the outset with an engagement letter (or where they are already a client, a schedule to an existing engagement letter) setting out these matters in relation to their specific assignment: how we plan to go about the engagement, which lawyers will be working on the assignment, what experience those lawyers have, what our charges are likely to be and what other expenses they are likely to incur.

Unless a fixed fee has been agreed, the cost of our service will be based on the time spent on the matter by those of the firm’s lawyers who with the client’s knowledge will be engaged on the assignment. Those hourly rates will be set out in the engagement letter.

The client’s work will be carried out by lawyers with relevant experience and qualifications to do the work concerned. All work will be supervised by a partner and the client will know from the outset who that partner is. Depending on the complexity of the matter and the particular factors affecting it, it may be appropriate for more than one lawyer to work on an assignment. In this event, the client will be given advance information and the identity of all such lawyers will be provided. The hourly rate of the supervising partner and any other lawyer engaged on the assignment will be made known to the client.

There will be disbursements applicable to most kinds of work. More detail is given below and the engagement letter will provide specific information wherever possible.

The firm’s fees will attract VAT where the client is UK based or where there is a UK property involved. Many disbursements, but not court fees, will also be subject to VAT. Any fee estimate is stated exclusive of VAT.

Our fees cover all relevant legal advice, save that we do not advise on tax or tax planning matters.

Conditional fee agreements or damages based agreements will not be applicable to the work described above.

1. Residential Conveyancing work in general

All residential conveyancing work is supervised by one or more of the following partners:-

Bibi Fakhrai. Bibi has over 14 years’ post-qualification experience. Her profile can be seen here.

Jackie Boot. Jackie has over 20 years’ post-qualification experience. Her profile can be seen here.

Mark Randolph. Mark has over 15 years’ post-qualification experience. His profile can be seen here.

Martin Otvos. Martin has over 24 years’ post-qualification experience. His profile can be seen here.

Matthew Morgan. Matthew has over 20 years’ post-qualification experience. His profile can be seen here.

The partners are assisted by:-

Janey Wayne, a senior associate with over 13 years’ post-qualification experience. Her profile can be seen here.

Jocelyn Cooke, an associate with over 2 years’ post-qualification experience. Her profile can be seen here.

Where appropriate, the partners and associates are supported by paralegals and trainee solicitors.

Purchase/Sale of freehold or leasehold residential property

Our fees cover all of the work required to complete the sale or purchase, including in the case of a purchase, dealing with registration at the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty).

Fees and disbursements

Legal fees

Our fees are normally based on the time spent in dealing with the transaction. Although most fees will be time-related, in assessing a fair and reasonable fee it is not always appropriate to ignore other factors such as the value to you of work done and advice given. In assessing this, the following matters may be taken into account:-

(a) the value of the transaction;
(b) the complexity of the transaction;
(c) the timetable for the transaction.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as (in the case of a purchase), property search fees, Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

In the case of a leasehold property sales it may be necessary to obtain your landlord’s consent to the sale and if so a fee will be payable to the landlord’s solicitors for preparing a document containing such consent.

2. Leasehold Enfranchisement Work in General

All leasehold enfranchisement work is supervised by Samantha Bone, a Partner, with over 19 years post qualification experience. Her profile can be seen here.

Our firm’s head of litigation Simon Serota also deals with certain leasehold enfranchisement cases. Simon Serota has over 41 years post qualification experience.

Samantha is assisted by Fleur Neale and Shamin Kashem who are Senior Associates with 14 years (Fleur Neale also qualified as a solicitor in Australia in 1999) and 17 years post qualification experience respectively

Where appropriate, the team is supported by Paralegals and Trainee Solicitors. Where the team is required to be supported by Barristers those fees are determined by the work they carry out rather than hourly rates. All such fees are agreed with the client prior to any instruction.

Working for Landlords

In Leasehold Enfranchisement claims, Tenants are normally responsible for certain of the Landlord’s fees for investigating the claim and any conveyancing costs. We endeavour and are successful in most claims, to recover all costs where a Tenant is responsible for those fees. A Landlord is liable to pay costs for any matters that proceed to a hearing in an independent Property Chamber. Only a very few cases reach a hearing. Where our fees are not recoverable from a Tenant, those fees which a Landlord is responsible, rarely exceed (where no hearing takes place) £1,500 plus VAT.

In acting for Landlords, our aim is to ensure that the Landlord receives the maximum price and terms of the conveyance suitable for the Landlord for lease extensions and the transfer of its freehold premises.

Working for Tenants

When advising Tenants who seek to acquire a new lease claim, or collectively act together to purchase the freehold of premises, our aim is to obtain these interests on favourable terms and to ensure that all interests are acquired and relevant conveyancing documents are advantageous to the Tenant. Only a small number of claims reach the Property Chamber, with terms being agreed between the parties.

Our aim is to agree terms with the Landlord to ensure that terms are agreed well in advance of any work that is required to be undertaken for a hearing and should the work be required, to keep that work to a minimum. Where the Tenants are responsible for a Landlord’s fees, we ensure that those fees claimed are reasonable.

Proceedings before a Property Chamber

When advising both Landlords and Tenants in claims where the parties cannot agree terms and they must be determined the Property Chamber, we aim to reach terms favourable to our client. In most cases, clients are billed less than £4,000 plus VAT. In a very few number of cases, where it is appropriate to instruct a Barrister, these fees are generally £3,000 to £5,000 plus VAT depending on seniority.

Proceedings before a Court

It is very rare for leasehold enfranchisement claims to be considered by a Court. Such cases tend to relate to claims of entitlement or where a Landlord has failed to respond to a Tenant’s claim. Our aim in these cases is to negotiate a settlement to avoid any hearing. In most cases where a hearing is necessary, most clients are billed less than £10,000 plus VAT. It is likely that where a hearing is required, a Barrister will be instructed and their fees usually range between £5,000 to £7,000 plus VAT, depending on seniority.

3. Employment work in general

All employment work is supervised by Daniel Isaac, a partner, with over 23 years’ post-qualification experience. His profile can be seen here.

Daniel is assisted by Rebecca Butler, a senior associate with over ten years’ post-qualification experience. Her profile can be seen here.

Where appropriate, Daniel and Rebecca are supported by paralegals and trainee solicitors or barristers.

Working for employees in general

When advising employees on the termination of their employment, our ambition is to add value, either by persuading the employer to pay our legal fees in full or by improving the compensation to cover our legal fees. Only a tiny minority of the cases we take on reach a hearing, with the vast majority of cases settling on favourable terms. Most of our employee clients are billed less than £10,000.

Wrongful dismissal claims for employees in the employment tribunal

Wrongful dismissal is the term to describe a contractual claim by an employee that he or she has been dismissed without the notice to which he or she is entitled. Wrongful dismissal claims may be brought in the High Court or in the employment tribunal but, in the latter case, the maximum compensation that can be awarded in £25,000.

We tend to advise on wrongful dismissal claims in the High Court which are not covered by the SRA Transparency Rules. High Court claims require that both parties draw up and exchange a budget for legal fees at an early stage in the proceedings.

Because of the cap of £25,000, we tend not to advise on wrongful dismissal claims in the Employment tribunal, except as an adjunct to another, more valuable claim.

Unfair dismissal claims for employees in the employment tribunal

If an employee can show that they have been unfairly dismissed, they may receive a basic award, depending on age and length of service, between £508 and £15,240 together with a compensatory award, depending on financial loss. Compensatory awards are capped at the lower of a year’s pay or £83,682. We tend to work only on claims where the maximum award is available.

A fully contested unfair dismissal claim may cost between £30,000 and £70,000 plus VAT, inclusive of barrister’s fees.

Defending claims of unfair and wrongful dismissal

As when we are acting for employees, in the vast majority of wrongful and unfair dismissal claims in which we are instructed to represent the employer, the matter does not reach a hearing. In some cases, the employee is persuaded to withdraw, in others the claim is struck out, while others settle on modest terms.

Defending a fully contested wrongful or unfair dismissal claim may cost between £30,000 and £70,000 plus VAT, inclusive of barrister’s fees.

Complaints Information

Here is a link to the firm’s complaints handling procedure which includes details about how and when a complaint can be made to the Legal Ombudsman and to the SRA.