I thank you for your enquiry and your patience.
1. I am unable to speak to what a Solicitor may charge is their fees, all Solicitors differ, so it would not be prudent of me to give you a fee. That being said however, bringing a claim in the smalls claims court is something you could do yourself. This would alleviate any solicitor's cost. The only cost that would eb incurred by you, would be the cost for bringing the claim, which is, £308.
If you are successful in bringing the claim, you may ask for this money to be returned to you.
I recommend instituting the claim online by following the below link:
2. you are required to send a letter before instituting proceedings. This letter is called a letter before action. In the letter you must state clearly that you intend to being a claim, your reasons for doing so, and the amount you intend to claim for. You are also required to give them 14 days to respond prior to commencing legal proceedings.
3. If the court finds your landlord has not protected your deposit, it can order them to repay it to you. The court may also order the landlord to pay you up to 3 times the deposit within 14 days of making the order.
It ma very much be worthwhile instituting the proceeding and ask for the landlord to be penalised for not having protected the deposit.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.