Litigation solicitors fees

Discussion in 'Askaboutlaw' started by CKGRAL, 10 Jan 2019 at 8:35 AM.

  1. CKGRAL

    CKGRAL New Member

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    5
    Case settled for general damages €15,000.00 plus costs....

    Solicitors fees were €11,000.00 (dropped to €9,500.00 or there about after) professional fees AND then to add on the usual VAT & Outlay etc...

    Costs were paid by other side €5,500.00 plus the outlay (shortfall of about €300.00 left unpaid)

    €5,000.00 inc VAT was taken from settlement which left 10k....

    Does this sound right for such a small settlement?? Solicitors fees seem excessive...

    Also should S.68 letter go out at start of case?
     
  2. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

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    525
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2019 at 11:12 AM
    The final fee should reflect the complexity of the case and the amount of work that had to go in to it.
    Some cases of value €15,000 involve very little work whilst others may have a lot of work in them.

    By any chance was this a personal injuries case where you instructed a solicitor before submitting it to PIAB ?
    PIAB do not pay the solicitor's charges in respect of work done before they authorise a claimant to proceed to court.

    A S.68 letter should by definition issue before proceeding for the simple reason that it is supposed to set out what work is involved. Additionally, an intending client is always well advised to also specifically seek an estimate.
    Here is a link to the Law Society's advice to solicitors about S.68 https://www.lawsociety.ie/Solicitor...The-Dos-And-Donts-Of-Section-68/#.XDdjx3mzLcs

    You will note the point about taking monies from a settlement "Don’t make a unilateral deduction from the client’s award or settlement in a litigation or other contentious matter without the client’s written consent".

    In your position I would be asking for a detailed accounting of exactly what was paid by the defendants as well an effective final statement of account - you need to be clear about what you are being charged and why.

    Off the cuff, the amount charged to you by your solicitor seems quite high.
    You got €10,000 out of €15,000 so they got €5,000 as well as €5,500. That is €11,500 for a €15,000 case. Yoiks...

    P.S. Note this part of the Law Society's website about complaints. Note the heading about excessive fees. Link https://www.lawsociety.ie/Public/Complaints-against-solicitors/
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2019 at 11:12 AM
  3. CKGRAL

    CKGRAL New Member

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    5
    @DirectDevil .... Thank you for your reply...!! This case is a close family members case which has just been completed. - I work in a Law Firm and have spoke to some of the solicitors about this! .... They really think it is crazy and that i'm telling them some sort of story which is all lies! (they think its just unbelievable) ....

    The case was one sent to PIAB requesting an authorisation, it was not being assessed by PIAB... - the solicitor dealt with that also (fee of €2000.00) which was ok!! ...

    The solicitor in this case was very misleading in terms of what was going to happen about fees.... - I could not attend the settlement meeting on the day but stressed to the individual to make sure they got costs paid by the other side or else there would be a deduction from their settlement cheque.

    On the day of the settlement the solicitor informed their client that the best they would get was 15k .... - (liability was an issue in this case) and a top solicitors firm were representing the defendants!....

    The solicitor said that they would be taking 5k for their costs from that so it was made out that the other side was not paying costs and that the 5K was the costs.... - (this seemed fine as she said that "everyone has to be paid" so didnt question anything else)

    All was ok until she told me that she had received a letter, phoned me and asked me what Circuit Court Costs were..... - I explained that costs were either going to be discharged by the defendants or not.... she said the letter said PLUS Circuit Court Costs!!!!!! ...

    Sent an email to the solicitor who then informed us that €5.5k solicitors fees had been discharged by the other side along with all outlay!!..

    Sent letter back to solicitor stating unhappy about the position in relation to the fees... (in the solicitors email to us he stated "I carefully explained to you that you would receive 10k and you were happy with this and accepted the position") -....... YES but you didnt tell her that you were going to be getting ANOTHER 5.5k on top of this aswell!!!!!! - thats mainly what the disagreement is that she thought they were getting 5k and that was all...

    Sorry for the essay!! ... I am in assignment season at college and love typing!!
     
  4. DeeKie

    DeeKie Frequent Poster

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    She needs to prepare a written complaint
     
  5. DirectDevil

    DirectDevil Frequent Poster

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    I am a little clearer on background.

    Just to explain a brief point on costs. There are two species of costs namely party and party costs and solicitor and client costs.

    Party and party costs are those necessarily incurred in presenting your case. Typically these are what the defendant would pay the plaintiff in costs.

    Solicitor and client costs are those items that are not recoverable on a party and party basis.

    It would not be unusual for there to be some small solicitor and client elements even where settlement is on the basis of damages and costs. This is not to be confused with double charging which is the practice of collecting the same fees twice and is a massive exercise in the extraction of metaphorical urine from the client.

    +1 DeeKie's view.
     
  6. Feemar5

    Feemar5 Frequent Poster

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    A lot would depend on the amount of time spent on the case but €10,500 on a €15,000 award seems an awful lot. I think you should send a written request for full details of his costs to the solicitor and copy the Law Society. Did your friend receive an invoice ? I have read a few cases recently where solicitors deducted a lot of money from awards and the law society became involved.
     
  7. CKGRAL

    CKGRAL New Member

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    5
    Hi Guys.... Thank you for replying!!

    firstly in relation to written complaint - we have sent a letter to solr, i would not categorise it as a "complaint" but did outline that she was very unhappy in relation to the fees aspect of the matter. i will speak to her about a formal complaint but i dont think this will come about. i think she wants to see the back of the whole process.

    now, i have to hand the following: "Client Statement of Costs and Outlay" and "Party & Party Statement of Costs and Outlay" basically fee notes. The client one issued with letter the latter issued with initial email querying the "plus circuit court costs" (they did not send the party & party fee note to us) ...

    both fee notes are dated same date and one issued to defendants solicitor and other issued to client. The one issued to defendants solicitors stated the following "Professional Fees: Solicitors Charges €11,000.00, Miscellaneous Charges €300.00 + VAT €2599.00 TOTAL €13899.00" there was outlay of €3269.60 also listed on fee note.

    Now, where it stands the professional fee of 11k was not discharged by the other side, they agreed to pay 5.5k plus VAT and Outlay (minus a small proportion) as per email from solr confirming this.

    The fee note issued to client reads the following: "Professional Fees: Solicitors Charges to included, taking of instructions, providing advice, completing injuries board application, instruction of Counsel, issuing proceedings, receiving appearance by Def solicitor, receiving Notice of particulars, drafting replies to same, receiving defence, attendances, correspondence, negotiating with defending solicitor and liaising with experts and other third parties and attending settlement meeting"

    €4025.00 + VAT €925.75 + Injuries board fee €45 = €4995.75

    Now, in email from solicitor he wrote the following to me

    "our solicitors charges are €11000.00 and they have agreed to pay us €5500.00. You have paid us €4025.00 therefore there is a shortfall of €1475.00" AND THEN wrote at the end of letter the following:

    "we will absorb the shortfall in costs even though you are responsible for all costs incurred in the running of your claim"

    I was the person in contact with the solicitor in relation to the case, i work in a law firm i understand what it is like to receive them emails from clients every week or two saying "any progress on my case" ..... them sort of emails didnt happen. The solicitor would send emails and i would print and bring home and explain what they meant so there was no even "what does that mean" or "how will i fair out in the long run" there was no phone calls or any contact really unless he wanted something thats when he emailed.

    he emailed looking for an authority to release medical records: i drafted same and had it signed and returned to him
    he emailed looking for a statement of special damages and i drafted the whole lot using a precedent in the office.....

    i really dont know where the fee of 11k came from!!!

    PS: No VAT invoice received only Fee Notes and distribution account to show where the 15k went (5 to him and 10 to client)

    do you think the solr would give the 5k back or even a proportion of it??

    thanks for all your help!