Pricing Information for Prospective Clients (Updated February 2023)
At Hollingsworths, for most litigation and commercial matters, it is not possible to give an exact estimate of the likely costs. It is therefore our normal policy to charge on an hourly basis for our work. We explain below how this usually works but feel free to ask for more information if we can help explain how our pricing works. We aim to be transparent with our charges and pricing.
We charge for advising you, attending meetings, telephone calls, attending Court hearings, traveling and waiting, considering documents, dealing with correspondence, drafting and all other work involved in your case. Short letters that we write and receive, emails that we write and receive, and short telephone calls that we make and receive will be charged as units of one tenth of an hour. Longer letters and calls will be charged in accordance with actual time spent.
Where possible, we will provide cost estimates of the matter or project that you ask us to work upon, although this may be on a stage by stage basis since some matters can last longer than others.
Our standard hourly rates are set out below and we will advise you upon instructing us who the person is who will be looking after you and their hourly rate. These rates will be “plus VAT” at the providing rate, currently 20% (as at 1 January 2021).
Director: £235.00 to £295.00
Trainee Solicitor/Legal Assistant: £120.00 to £150.00
In respect of any out of pocket expenses that we may incur on your behalf (these are called disbursements), these will be charged separately. We endeavour to make you aware of any disbursements in advance of them being incurred and it may be necessary to ask you for payment on account of disbursements. Some disbursements are subject to VAT.
At some stage, we may need to instruct Counsel on your behalf to draft some of the formal documents, to advise or to appear at a Court hearing. Counsel may also be required to advise on specialist areas. Also, we may need to engage an expert witness to act for you. Counsel’s fees and the fees of any expert witness will be at your additional expense. We will discuss with you the appointment of Counsel or expert witnesses before engaging them.
Debt Recovery Work
For some of our work, we may be able to agree a fixed fee with you. For example, for our debt recovery work, we usually charge a standard fee for writing to the debtor which will also include a conditional or damaged based fee element that is dependent upon success. Our standard charge for a debt letter (including reporting to you) is £150 plus VAT. If the debt pays straight away, our charge would be limited to these fees (save where we recover the fees from the debtor which may be possible in business to business matters). If we are required to apply for Judgment, this is charge at £50 plus VAT. This does not include to the cost of enforcing the Judgment, although it does include writing to the debtor to ask for payment.
If we need to issue proceedings, we charge a fixed fee of £295 plus VAT (for an invoice based claim). This may vary for large or complex claims that requires a more detailed explanation of your claim. This fixed fee is for a simple invoice based claim.
You are required to pay a court fee to start a claim - this is based on the court's scale, and is not subject to VAT. We usually request the court fee on account.
The time between sending the first letter and starting the claim may be between 2-6 weeks depending on the type of claim.
For ongoing work, this would be charged by reference to time, and disbursements are charged as they arise (and these may be subject to VAT in some cases). We do not provide this service on a conditional basis - what is often called "no win no fee". How long the court process takes, and how much it costs, will depend on the size of the claim, and which court track it is allocated to. Some cases may settle at an early stage, whilst other may need a trial to resolve them. A trial will increase costs considerably, and there may be fees for a barrister, further court fees and in some cases, experts. These are factors that increase costs.
For a debt below £10,000, allocated to the Small Claims Track, costs may be in the region on average of £2,500 to £4,000 plus VAT and court fees. This could take around 9 months to reach court. For fast track and multi track cases, it will be longer (probably at least 12 months) and involve more costs. For a fast track claim which goes to trial, the costs may on average be around £12,000 to £20,000 plus VAT, and for multi track cases, the average would be more - for example it would not be unusual to have costs of in excess of £30,000 plus VAT.
With the knock on effects of the pandemic, some court dates and turn around times have increased.
However, cases are all different, so we are best reviewing your circumstances to provide a better estimate to help you make an informed decision about your case.
Please remember, even if you obtain a Judgment, this does not mean that a debtor will pay voluntarily. This may require you to enforce the Judgment - this can include instructing a baliff or a High Court Enforcement Officer, or applying for a Charging Order. Each of these steps come at an additional costs and usually involve disbursements such as court fees.
We are content to provide to our clients fee estimates before you instruct us to undertake any work so that you are aware of the charges that you will incur at the earliest stage.
Anyone wishing to proceed with a claim should note that:
- The VAT element of our fee cannot be reclaimed from your debtor.
- Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost.
- The costs quoted above are not for matters where enforcement action, such as the bailiff, is needed to collect your debt. Please remember, getting a Judgment does not guarantee recovery of the debt, and many Judgments have to be enforced in order to try to force the debt to pay. This involves more expense for a client.
All legal services are provided strictly subject to our Terms of Business which are available upon request.
Before instructing us, please check if you have Legal Expense Insurance or any other method of third party funding.