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Have you yet challenged the bill in any way please?
I have sent an email expressing my concern that it was raised.
You have a number of options:
1) Ask for a detailed work printout. This will show what work has taken place and time spent
You can then see what has been done and dispute the certain areas
2) Complain to the Managing Partner in the firm tasked to deal with complaints
There will always be one and they may be able to look at this and deal with any other matters
3) Finally you have a right under the Solicitors Act to ask a Judge to assess the costs incurred.
The position is complicated in that the first solicitor dealing with the matter left the company and was replaced on the case by the partner. I agreed to pay the bills outstanding then in return for a deduction, but my understanding was that no further bills would be raised, although I am not sure if the written correspondence completely supports that.
This will be line by line and whether or not the time spent was justified and necessary - this is called detailed assessment.
The Judge can then decide what is payable and how much.
But if the Judge considers the bill to be fair then you would be liable for the costs of that detailed assessment.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
I suppose I have two issues and not completely clear how either would be dealt with under, say, the judge's review:
1. The quality of the advice
2. Whether some of the time spent was wasteful and unnecessary
That is why you need the detailed printout - all firms have these
In fact I have the detailed print-outs, but the line detail is pretty limited. And this won't uncover, say, time wasted on multiple offer attempts that were never going to be accepted. I think they blurred the line between giving me advice (which as I said was poor) and actually running the negotiation process (badly)
Or you can complain to the Ombudsman
You have choices:
1) managing parnet
Also, will the judge take into account poor advice? Specifically this was a bank charge case, jointly with my wife, and we were told that she (for various reasons) had a good chance of having the charge set aside. However it was never made clear that the charge would then revert back to me in total under the 'equitable charge' concept. This was only mentioned about £3,000 into the process. And by then the partner was now saying that even my wife would only have a 50:50 chance in court.
Yes. The Judge would.
Regarding the court assessment:
1. Can you estimate the costs?
I cant - it really depends on how much work goes into it and that is assuming it goes against you
2. What would be the cost position if the judge ruled the bill '75% fair'?
They would get 75% of their costs
So even if the judge rules their bill is incorrect, I still pay court costs?
I am just concerned because every time I have tried something so far in this saga it has cost me lots of heartache and extra money.
More more incorrect the more you do not have to pay their costs.
So if their bill was 75% correct, you would pay 75% of their costs.
If their bill was 20% right you would only pay 20% of those costs
Sorry, but to be clear, if the judge rules their bill was 80% wrong and so I am obviously correct to dispute it, the judge would still then require me to pay the court costs of disputing that bill?
Some costs, but not all
It seems fundamentally wrong. If they had billed 20% in the first place then I wouldn't have had to take the court action and incur any extra costs at all!
Yes but costs are discretionary - they may get none at all
OK, I see. Do you think I am best to dispute the whole bill, of which I have paid nearly 50% or to dispute just the latest invoices?
I would dispute everything and see where you get.
Court is the last result so try the Ombudsman first
Or should I at least go through the motions with the reviewing or managing partner of the firm - indicating my intention to take it further?
Yes I would do that first as it is more cost effective
OK, many thanks Alex.
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