Transparency In Price And Service

 

Timescales and critical dates

 

It is difficult to be precise about time scales due to the number of variables involved.  However, based on past experience, typically claimant personal injury cases can take anywhere between six months to more than two years to conclude.

 

In particular, the early stages of claims are often governed by a pre-action protocol, during which the defendant’s representatives carry out investigations, with no action required on our part. Subsequently, much may depend upon recovery from the injury and the medical evidence, especially if an expert recommends that we defer settlement, should there be an uncertain initial prognosis, or the need for rehabilitation treatment.

 

If liability is denied, the claims handler will need to discuss the further conduct of a claim with the client in more detail at that stage, because this is likely to have a direct bearing upon how long the case takes to conclude, and the outcome of the claim generally.

 

The primary limitation date is the most important initial date of which you should be aware, under which, in the majority of personal injury claims, Court Proceedings must be brought within three years from the date of the accident, failing which the claim will become statute barred and the claimant will no longer be entitled to compensation.

 

Costs, Funding & Other Financial Matters

 

We wish to provide clients, at the outset, with important information about costs and funding. This includes information about how costs are incurred, how those costs may be funded, any liability that might arise to pay the costs of an opponent and measures that might be taken to obtain protection against those costs.

 

Unless we are able to identify an alternative source of funding (i.e. under a Trade Union membership, or other organisation which might provide legal assistance), we will usually offer to act under the terms of any existing ‘before the event’ (BTE) legal expenses policy, or under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), supported by an ‘after the event’ (ATE) legal expenses policy.

 

ATE cover:

 

If a client does not have existing BTE cover, we can obtain an ATE policy to protect from costs liability against the defendants. This may be necessary if, for example, a defendant makes a formal offer (Part 36 Offer) to settle a claim, and the client rejects the offer or the offer expires. If then the matter progresses to trial and the Judge determines that the client should have accepted the offer (or that a lower amount should be awarded), the client will be responsible for payment of the defendant’s costs from the expiry / rejection of the formal offer. However, if the client has secured a valid ATE policy which provides protection from adverse costs, you may not have to pay anything to the defendant in the event that a costs order is made against you.

 

If an ATE policy is required, the client will ultimately be responsible for payment of this premium, but will only have to pay the premium if the claim is successful.

 

The amount of relevant premiums are linked to specific potential steps in the claim, with a typical usual structure outlined below. This will vary on a case by case basis and with time, and so the example below is purely for demonstration purposes.

 

If insurance is taken out before or within three days of the CNF (Claims Notification Form) being submitted on the portal, 'Early' staged premiums are as set out below.   

 

 

 

Early

 

Portal

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Indemnity

 

£10,000

£25,000

£25,000

£25,000

Premium

 

£35 + IPT

£90 + IPT

£190 + IPT

£620 + IPT

 

 

The indemnity and premiums are not cumulative – the figure for each stage replaces the one before it:
                                                                  

Portal: Cases which settle wholly within the Portal Process.  

    

Stage 1: Cases which settle outside the Portal Process, but without court proceedings being issued.


Stage 2: Cases which settle after the issue of court proceedings, but earlier than 28 days before the first scheduled trial date.


Stage 3: Cases which settle within 28 days of the first scheduled trial date, or which go to trial.

 

IPT is payable when the claim settles, and so this rate is potentially subject to future change.

 

If the insurance policy is not taken out at the ‘early’ stage, then the following rates apply:

 

Late premiums – 3 days or more since date on CNF

 

Early                                      £90 + IPT

Stage 1                                 £210 + IPT

Stage 2                                 £420 + IPT

Stage 3                                 £1,270 + IPT

 

Three of the most important and practical reasons why this insurance is recommended are given below:

 

Broadgate Legal finances every claim, and the insurance provides protection against what can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of disbursements. It is generally thought preferable by claimants to lose a small percentage of their damages if the claim is successful, as opposed to running the risk of having to pay a significant sum in disbursements, if the claim is not successful.

 

The insurance provides protection against the adverse consequences of failing to beat a Part 36 Offer, and without that protection, in particular against a potential defendant's costs order, a claimant can feel unfairly pressured into accepting an inadequate offer.

 

Although statute provides significant protection against adverse defendant’s costs orders in personal injury claims, there are a number of situations where costs can be awarded against claimants, even in relation to specified successful applications. These will be the client’s responsibility to pay, and it is prudent and advisable to take out insurance against that risk.

 

Pre-existing BTE cover:

 

If we are asked to act for a client we will need to see all documentation relating to any insurance the client, or his / her spouse/partner or anyone else in the household may have. This is because such cover might be provided not only by specific insurance to cover legal expenses, but as an ‘add on’ to a home contents policy, car insurance, or other policies, or even as part of a credit card agreement.

 

A CFA and ATE insurance can usually be cancelled without charge, if we are able to identify and obtain indemnity through a BTE insurer at a later date.

 

In certain circumstances we will continue under a CFA, even if BTE Insurance is in place, because this will ensure that any funding available under the BTE policy will be applied to protect a client against defendant’s costs.

 

However, this will probably not be in your best interests when it will be the client’s responsibility to pay a success fee under a CFA, and when a client will only become responsible for a defendant’s costs in certain defined circumstances (most usually if the client rejects a defendant’s ‘Part 36’ Offer and then fails to improve on that offer).

 

Recovery of costs

 

We must have a contract with a client in order to be able to charge for costs, and in practice we will claim for all of our costs incurred on your instructions, whether or not recoverable from a defendant, subject to costs payable by a client under a success fee, being capped at no more than 25% of damages, for past financial losses and the injury, inclusive of VAT.

 

A CFA success fee is set at 100% of our basic charges but is then capped at no more than 25% of compensation, as defined below:

 

The maximum limit is 25% of the total amount of any:

 

general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, and

 

damages for pecuniary loss, other than future pecuniary loss.

 

These costs will only be charged if the claim is successful.

 

An element of these capped costs may not be recoverable from the defendant under the terms of our model Law Society Conditional Fee Agreement, and if this shortfall should arise we reserve our entitlement to charge the balance to a client on a private client basis.

 

However, and as said above, this percentage cap will usually be limited to no more than 25% of an award of damages, and will only be payable on a successful settlement of the claim, subject to some very limited exceptions, which essentially include fraud, fundamental dishonesty (in relation to any part of the claim) and early termination.

 

In certain cases we do charge a figure of more than 25% of damages on a private client basis, for example when we assess the risk as much higher than usual, or can envisage having to commit significant and exceptional resources to the case before we can form a view on the true prospects of success.

 

However on our assessment of your case we have agreed to charge no more than the above 25% cap on damages.

 

With road traffic accident claims in particular, some cases can settle quickly, while others can continue for years, with a contribution of only fixed fees from the insurers.

 

It is impossible to assess at the outset an eventual definitive outcome or even the duration of the claim, and so we apply a non-negotiable 25% success fee to all road traffic accident cases, which otherwise can be uneconomic to take on.

 

We set out below some general advice on costs, as provided for under the relevant legislation.

 

If the claim should fail, you will receive no compensation and I will write off my costs, or in certain circumstances recover these from your legal expense insurer, or other indemnity provider, which will also be responsible for any costs due to the opponent, for successfully defending the claim.

 

It is because of this costs structure, supported by legal expenses cover, that we are able to work on your behalf under a conditional fee (or ‘no win-no fee’) agreement in relation to what are likely to be the majority of our costs.

 

A client does need to bear in mind that under a CFA the practice is effectively sharing the risks of the case with the client, which does give a say in how the claim should be run, to the extent that the case will be reviewed at regular stages and the risk re-assessed as appropriate. If it is considered that a client is not likely to win the claim, or improve on a compromise offer, then the practice may decide to end the agreement. A legal expense insurer might take a similar decision on indemnity at that stage, if there appear to be no reasonable prospects of success and the insurer is exposed to an unacceptable risk of having to pay the opponent’s legal costs.

 

On a private basis, where you alone are running the risk, such decisions would be largely yours alone. If you consider it is important to retain full control of the case, rather than sharing this and the risks with the practice, then you do need to take that into account when assessing the best funding option.

 

Subject to any arrangement relating to a success fee, I do not intend to make any claim for costs against a client personally, unless the client ignores legal advice, provides incorrect, misleading or dishonest information (or fail to disclose information), or if in some other way the client breaches the terms of a legal expenses policy; and then only if irrecoverable costs arise as a result of any such conduct.

 

We will inform clients in advance should we be asked to act on a claim in any way which conflicts with our ability to recover costs, and/or which might give rise to a personal liability on costs which would otherwise be protected under this agreement.

 

The same will apply if a client instructs us to carry out work which may be completely unrelated to the claim / matter in which we have been initially instructed..

 

It is important to keep in mind, whatever method of funding is appropriate, that the likely benefits of the proposed legal work should justify the likely cost of carrying out that work.

 

This is particularly the case where fixed fees apply, because these significantly limit the time costs which the government allows us to recover from your opponent.

 

Road Traffic Accidents

 

Road Traffic Accident (RTA) claims which settle for less than £10,000 are subject to set charges, or ‘fixed recoverable costs’.

 

These charges are calculated according to the process under which the claim is conducted, which can be by one of two potential methods:

 

Submitting and managing the claim electronically through an online Portal, applying a ‘ pre-action conduct’ Practice Direction. This is known as the RTA PI Claims Process, or the Rapid Claims Process (‘the Process’), which applies to accidents which occur on or after 30th April 2010.

 

Managing the claim under a pre-action personal injury protocol (‘the Protocol’), as set out in the Civil Procedure Rules. The protocol will apply if the claim exits the RTA PI Process or is an excluded category from the outset. The most usual reason for a claim leaving the Process will be if the defendant insurer does not admit liability, or otherwise fails to comply with steps in the pre-action conduct, within specified time limits.

 

Fixed costs usually apply in RTA Claims:

 

Fixed costs under the RTA PI Process are calculated as follows:

 

£200 is paid following an admission of liability.

£300 is paid after settlement, in cases where quantum has been agreed.

Where quantum is not agreed, this will be assessed by a court. £250 is paid for the preparation of a successful assessment without attendance. £500 is paid when a successful oral hearing takes place.

If you live or work in London, a further amount equal to 12.5% of the above costs is allowable.

 

Fixed costs under the Pre-Action PI Protocol are calculated as follows:

 

£800, plus a sum equivalent to 20% of the damages agreed up to £5,000 and a sum equivalent to 15% of the damages agreed between £5,000 and £10,000.

The same London uplift applies.

 

These costs are fixed by the Civil Procedure Rules.

 

Fixed costs will not apply in certain cases, for example where a claim is litigated or where a party improves upon a Part 36 offer. In such circumstances, our fee is based on the time we spend on the client’s behalf, subject to the principle of ‘proportionality’, under which we will only recover costs which are reasonable and proportionate to the issues.

 

Please bear this restriction in mind when providing your instructions as the claim proceeds.

 

For ease of reference the following table repeats the information given above for RTA Claims handled under the RTA PI Claims Process, and also provides details of how fixed costs are calculated for RTA claims of between £10,000 and £25,000 in value.

 

Fixed costs in relation to the RTA Protocol

Where the value of the claim for damages is not more than £10,000

Where the value of the claim for damages is more than £10,000, but not more than £25,000

Stage 1 fixed costs

£200

Stage 1 fixed costs

£200

Stage 2 fixed costs

£300

Stage 2 fixed costs

£600

Stage 3
- Type A fixed costs

£250

Stage 3
- Type A fixed costs

£250

Stage 3
- Type B fixed costs

£250

Stage 3
- Type B fixed costs

£250

Stage 3
- Type C fixed costs

£150

Stage 3
- Type C fixed costs

£150

 

 

 

Fixed costs where a claim no longer continues under the RTA Protocol

A. If Parties reach a settlement prior to the claimant issuing proceedings under Part 7

Agreed damages

At least £1,000, but not more than £5,000

More than £5,000, but not more than £10,000

More than £10,000, but not more than £25,000

 

Fixed costs

The greater of—
(a) £550; or
(b) the total of—
(i) £100; and
(ii) 20% of the damages

The total of—
(a) £1,100; and
(b) 15% of damages over £5,000

The total of—
(a) £1,930; and
(b) 10% of damages over £10,000

 

B. If proceedings are issued under Part 7, but the case settles before trial

Stage at which case is settled

On or after the date of issue, but prior to the date of allocation under Part 26

On or after the date of allocation under Part 26, but prior to the date of listing

On or after the date of listing but prior the date  of trial

 

Fixed costs

The total of—
(a) £1,160; and
(b) 20% of the damages

The total of—
(a) £1,880; and
(b) 20% of the damages

The total of—
(a) £2,655; and
(b) 20% of the damages

 

C. If the claim is disposed of at trial

Fixed costs

The total of—
(a) £2,655; and
(b) 20% of the damages agreed or awarded; and
(c) the relevant trial advocacy fee

 

 

 

 

Legal costs are subject to periodic governmental and/or regulatory review, usually every eighteen months or so. Clients will be informed should there be any relevant changes in the way in which costs are calculated, or should we otherwise need to discuss this in more detail.

 

Currently, charging rates are calculated as follows:

 

There are four grades of practitioner.

 

A - Solicitors, over 8 years qualified experience.

B - Solicitors or Legal Executives, over 4 years qualified experience.

C - Other qualified Solicitors or Legal Executives.

D - Trainee solicitors, paralegals or equivalent.

 

There are guideline rates of costs recovery set by the courts which were originally intended only to be used in a procedure known as “summary assessment” of costs but have come to be referred to in other cases subject to “detailed assessment” of costs.

 

These rates vary, depending upon where a party lives or works, but it is important to appreciate that these guideline rates apply only to recovery of a client’s fees from the unsuccessful other party (if applicable) and are nothing more than a starting point for assessment.

 

They have also not been updated for several years, and so an update is already well overdue and there have been recommendations that they be increased.

 

We set these out here for information but please note that we will recover our hourly rates as agreed or allowed by the Court on assessment according to the individual circumstances of each case but this will have no/limited impact on the position of a client with the benefit of a CFA, who will pay no more than a capped amount of 25% of damages if successful (unless a special arrangement in your case has been made as per above).  

 

Hourly Rates:

 

 

Grade A

Grade B

Grade C

Grade D

London 1:

EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4

 

£409.00

£296.00

£226.00

£138.00

London 2:

W1, WC1, WC2, SW1

 

£317.00

£242.00

£196.00

£126.00

London 3:

All other London postcodes - W, NW, N, E, SE, SW and Bromley, Croydon, Dartford, Gravesend and Uxbridge)

£226.00 - £267.00

£172.00 - £229.00

£165.00

£121.00

 

National 1:

 

 

 

 

Aldershot, Farnham, Bournemouth (including Poole), Birmingham Inner, Bristol, Cambridge City, Harlow, Canterbury, Maidstone, Medway & Tunbridge Wells, Cardiff (Inner), Chelmsford South, Essex & East Suffolk, Chester, Fareham (Winchester), Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Isle of Wight, Kingston, Guildford, Reigate, Epsom, Leeds Inner (within 2 km radius of the City Art Gallery), Lewes, Liverpool, Birkenhead, Manchester Central, Newcastle - City Centre (within a 2 mile radius of St Nicholas Cathedral), Norwich City, Nottingham City, Oxford, Thames Valley, Southampton, Portsmouth, Swindon, Basingstoke, Watford

 

£217.00

£192.00

£161.00

£118.00

National 2:

Bath, Cheltenham and Gloucester, Taunton, Yeovil, Bury, Chelmsford North, Cambridge County, Peterborough, Bury St E, Norfolk, Lowestoft, Cheshire & North Wales, Coventry, Rugby, Nuneaton, Stratford and Warwick, Exeter, Plymouth, Hull (City), Leeds Outer, Wakefield & Pontefract, Leigh, Lincoln, Luton, Bedford, St Albans, Hitchin, Hertford, Manchester Outer, Oldham, Bolton, Tameside, Newcastle (other than City Centre), Nottingham & Derbyshire, Sheffield, Doncaster and South Yorkshire, Southport, St Helens, Stockport, Altrincham, Salford, Swansea, Newport, Cardiff (Outer), Wigan, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley & Stourbridge, York, Harrogate

 

£201.00

£177.00

£146.00

£111.00

 

 

When acting under a CFA an additional percentage ‘success fee’ is allowable, based upon the terms of the CFA and risk assessments.

 

A client may be able to instruct a lawyer at a cheaper hourly rate. The Court will consider all the relevant circumstances at the time of costs assessment (if applicable) in relation to whether a client’s decision to instruct a particular lawyer in a particular location was “reasonable” and will make an award of costs accordingly. Again, in any event, the client’s own personal liability is 100% of our costs calculated at an hourly rate and which is then capped at 25% of damages.

 

If we are instructed to act, further information will be provided in our client care retainer and supporting documentation and advice.

 

Finally, clients are entitled to ask for regular updates on costs, but we would not expect to recover from an opponent the cost of the time this would involve.

 

The rule exists primarily to protect the interests of clients who will be paying their own solicitor’s costs.

 

In a typical case we will endeavour to run the claim in the most cost effective way possible, and (as said above, apart from a client’s responsibility for the success fee, and subject to fundamental changes in a working relationship – for example instructions on a different matter, or on a head of claim which we advise does not have reasonable prospects of success, or in the case of dishonesty) we generally agree to either write off any shortfall in additional solicitor/own client time costs, and/or recover a client’s costs from the other party, rather than from the client.

 

As a result, and exceptionally, we do reserve the right to bill a client personally for any irrecoverable time engaged in providing updates on costs, or for example a statute bill, if requested by the client.

 

On our part we will agree to prepare bills, schedules and/or other breakdowns of costs, on our own initiative, only in circumstances where the cost involved is recoverable from the other party, or where they are otherwise prepared without charge to the client.

 

You should be made aware that we are permitted to act under a Damages Based Agreement (a DBA), where in place of a CFA with a success fee we can contract to retain up to 25% of a client’s compensation for general damages and past loss, net of CRU recoupment, after giving credit for our recovered costs. However this is an untried funding mechanism based on recent legislation and it is our firm’s policy not to offer or consider DBAs as a funding option, other than in exceptional circumstances.

 

A client is entitled to meet legal fees privately and avoid having to pay a success fee; but from experience claimants tend to prefer not to finance their claims in person, with no guarantee of success or recovery, when the offer of a conditional fee agreement is available.

 

Finally, under the principle of Qualified One-way Costs Shifting (QOCS), orders for costs may be enforced against a claimant without the permission of the court, but only to the extent of the amount of damages and interest due. So, as a general rule, a claimant will not be left financially worse off as a result of bringing a claim, than was the case before bringing the claim.

 

Some liability for costs can attach to a client, even if the case is won; in particular if the client fails to beat a defendant’s Part 36 Offer. The client can take out legal expense insurance to protect against that risk, but whether you will want to take out that insurance will depend upon your attitude to risk and the price of the (irrecoverable) premium (as discussed above under the heading “ATE Cover”).

 

Exceptions to the general rule (that a client does not pay costs) will be set out in the CFA, if that is the selected agreement on funding the claim.

 

Essentially this applies to claims which should not have been brought because they are unreasonable, an abuse of process, obstructive or fundamentally dishonest, or with a significant element of dishonesty.

 

Exceptions also apply where you are required to bring a claim for the benefit of someone else, whom the court decides can afford to pay, and should pay costs if unsuccessful, such as a credit hire company, or an insurer.

 

However, to recap, the general rule is that the successful claimant recovers his / her costs from the defendant, and the unsuccessful claimant is not liable for any costs in excess of his / her recovered compensation.

 

Disbursements

 

We will incur expenses, or disbursements, as the claim proceeds, for example by way of fees for recovering medical records and/or obtaining medico-legal evidence.

 

Outlays of several hundred pounds can easily be incurred in this type of case, although they will be recouped at the conclusion of the case, either from your opponent if the claim is successful, or under your legal expenses insurance policy, if not.

 

Strictly these are payable by the client as they are incurred. However, we do not want our clients to have to finance these outlays, even though they will eventually be recovered one way or the other, and so we confirm that we will take responsibility for disbursements, in most circumstances, in particular if the need for a specific disbursement is in question, until the claim concludes.

 

Whatever method of funding is appropriate, the practice may make use of arrangements with agencies who specialise in obtaining expert medical reports.

 

If the practice uses such an agency, then payment of the fee for the report is usually deferred for a fixed period or until the end of the case.

 

You are free to choose an alternative medical provider, but this may involve an irrecoverable charge.

 

 

Communication, Service Standards, and Client Care

 

 

 

We have processes in place for reviewing files regularly so please rest assured that your matter will be progressed efficiently.  However, due to other parties’ involvement, we do not always have full control over how swiftly matters proceed. 

 

 

 

In your case I will diary to review your claim every calendar month, but I will not normally contact you unless there is actual progress on which to report, or specific action required. For example, you should not expect updates if we are waiting for a medical report due for delivery on a set date.

 

 

 

I will keep you informed of any change in the law that affects your claim and advise of any circumstances and/or risks of which I become aware or consider to be reasonably foreseeable and which could affect the outcome of your case.

 

 

 

I will be happy to receive queries by telephone, e-mail, fax, or letter, but please ensure that you quote your reference number. Please note that any emails that are sent will not be encrypted.

 

 

 

If I am unavailable to take a call, I will attempt to return it the same day but if that is not possible, then within 1 working day. 

 

 

 

Written correspondence (which includes letters, e-mails, and faxes) will generally be replied to within 3 working days unless further investigation and/or inability to contact others prevents this. 

 

 

 

If your correspondence is marked urgent or a specific reply date is requested, I will of course take note of this and prioritise it accordingly.  Unless you have indicated to the contrary, I may contact you by letter, e-mail, fax, or telephone.

 

 

 

Our normal office hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm, although occasionally appointments may be made outside those hours, as circumstances dictate.

 

 

 

I regret that it is generally not possible to see people arriving without appointments so please contact me beforehand, should you wish to see me in person. An appointment can then be made at a date and time convenient to you.

 

 

 

Effective complaints handling is essential to client care, and the firm has a written complaints procedure, a copy of which is available on request, and also referred to elsewhere on this website.

 

 

 

This practice is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included as an ‘exempt professional firm’ on the Register maintained by the Financial Services Authority, under DPB reference number LS 524077 so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts.

 

 

 

This part of  our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by The Law Society. The Register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at .www.fsa.gov.uk/register

 

 

 

Sometimes personal injury work involves investments. If, during this transaction, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Services Authority, as we are not. However, as the practice is regulated by The Law Society, we may be able to provide certain limited investment services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.

 

 

 

Under the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 I am required, on request, to provide you with information on the professional rules which apply to the practice, and how to access them. These rules are contained in the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007, which can be accessed at .www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/code-of-conduct

 

 

 

Payment of Interest

 

 

 

Any money received on your behalf will be held in our client account. Interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate set by Lloyds TSB Bank. That of course may change. The period for which interest will be paid normally runs from t he date(s) when funds are received by us, until the date on the cheque(s) issued to you. The payment of interest is subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules 1998

Broadgate Legal Solicitors

Get in touch

with your query or requirements

Request a call

from one of our advisors