Legal Costs Updates

It is a requirement for all solicitors to give their clients an estimate of the costs of their case in the client retainer letter. But, providing a costs estimate in the client care letter is certainly not the end of the matter.

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Providing A Costs Update

How Often Should Your Solicitor Update Your Costs Estimate?

Providing a costs estimate in the client care letter is not the end of the matter. During the course of the case a solicitor should provide legal cost updates on an ongoing basis. It used to be that this had to be every 6 months. The requirement was then amended to when appropriate and as the matter progresses. The solicitors' profession generally took this as a relaxing of the rule, however the Legal Ombudsman view this is at least every 6 months.

At What Other Times Are Costs Updated?

There are certain times when solicitors are obliged to provide costs information and to send a copy to the client. These are usually when required to do so by the Court.

For all hearings likely to take a day or less there is a requirement to file a statement of costs with the Court at least 2 days before the hearing (24 hours for shorter hearings). The statement may cover the whole case or just the costs of the hearing, depending what the hearing is about. When filing the statement, a copy must be sent to the other side and the client. If you fail to file or serve the statement, the Court may not be able to assess the costs at the hearing, in which case a further hearing is usually necessary and the party in error usually has to pay for this.

What Should You Do If You Haven't Received A Costs Update?

If you are not receiving regular bills or costs updates, you should speak to your solicitor as soon as possible and ask them to give you an update. Hopefully it will be as expected, but if not you may need to challenge them.

What If Yours Costs Are Higher Than Estimated?

We would suggest speaking to us, before you do anything, the initial chat is free and we could save you a great deal of time in the future and point you in the right direction to sort out the situation without taking matters further. However if this does not work, we are here to help you challenge the costs and to ensure your solicitor only charges you as agreed in your client retainer. However, you only have one month to challenge the final bill, so don’t leave it too long to contact us.