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joannem1965
joannem1965, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 264
Experience:  I am a solicitor
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I recently engaged a top law firm in a dispute resolution.

Customer Question

I recently engaged a top law firm in a dispute resolution. They quoted me at the outset then their overall bill ended up more than double the top figure they quoted at the outset. What recourse do I have?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 4 years ago.
Hello and welcome did they at any point inform you that you had exceeded their original estimate?
Expert:  joannem1965 replied 4 years ago.
Hi there as the Law society says: It is a solicitor's responsibility to keep you informed of costs and to give you a clear bill which shows the work done and the amount charged. They then go on to say: If you are unhappy with your solicitor's bill you can complain to the solicitor who will consider the complaint via their complaints handling procedure. If you have a complaint about a bill for non-contentious work which is linked to poor service and this complaint has not been resolved by the solicitor you can make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.(they can be contacted here: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/consumer/index.html. If your complaint about the bill for non-contentious work is not related to poor service you can apply to the court to have your bill checked, this is known as assessment. If your solicitor's bill is for contentious work then only the court can asses your bill. Good luck
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I think that is an objective synopsis of the position, however, when an indiviudual is considering whether or not to take out a petition against an opponent in a civil action then this is often a commercial decsion. The advice given regarding costs at this stage needs to be accurate if it is way out then there should be recourse. Your answer addresses this purely in terms of accuracy of charging and information flow regarding reassessment of costs as the case unfolds. if the solicitior is plainly wrong in the fee level estimated where is the accountability for this? Afterall who is the expert?

Expert:  joannem1965 replied 4 years ago.
that'll depend - did they keep you updated on their costs at the outset, what it's likely to cost, what their rates were and did they tell you when the original estimate was exceeded?
Expert:  joannem1965 replied 4 years ago.
The solicitor should've given you an appropriate estimate to start with. If that estimate was exceeded, especially if the amount by which it went over was substantial, then they should've advised you of that as the case progressed - they should've stopped the work and seek clarification from you if you wanted them to continue. They shouldn't have just continued silently without communicating with you over the fees especially as these fees werent agreed to start with