Paterson Bell is regulated by the Law Society of Scotland. The Law Society has issued guidance on what is called “Price Transparency”. This relates to information which should be made available to clients and potential clients about fees, outlays and costs that may be incurred when instructing a solicitor. The guidance is in place for all firms in Scotland that offer legal services on a private client basis.
If you are not entitled to Legal Aid, our solicitors are available to help on a fixed fee basis so you know where you stand in terms of cost. We will maximise your chances of achieving the best result possible.
Private Paying Clients - Price Transparency
We aim to be transparent with all clients regarding the costs incurred for the services which we will provide. At the point of providing instructions, or indeed considering the provision of instructions to our office, a solicitor will endeavour to provide a clear indication of the likely costs to be incurred both initially - usually in the context of an “instruction fee” - and for the different stages of a case as it progresses. It is much easier to provide a real indication of costs in the context of a case itself rather than in the context of generalities. We can, however, give illustrations of the potential costs which can be incurred though it is important to always bear in mind that every legal case is individual in its requirements and complexities and, indeed, as regards the value of the matter to you, our client.
It is always important to remember that VAT has to be charged on top of fees. We appreciate that private clients are unlikely to be able to recover the VAT which is paid in addition to our fees. Please remember however, that the VAT element is not kept by the firm but is simply passed on to the Government. Additionally, it may be a reasonable anticipation that outlays will be incurred, for example, court costs, the costs for medical/expert reports. These costs are a necessary part of the work to be undertaken. We will do our best to identify them to you in early course and will notify you of any costs to be incurred before we incur liability for them on your behalf.
General Advice & Representation
Paterson Bell specialises in criminal court work and criminal appeals. We undertake cases in all courts throughout Scotland from the High Courts to the Justice of the Peace Courts. Our solicitors will usually be available to discuss matters briefly by telephone and to indicate whether or not any particular case is one with which we can assist, whether or not legal aid is likely to be available and at what cost private instructions would incur. It is, however, usually impossible to set a ceiling on the likely level of fees. Inevitably fees are driven by circumstances which may well be outside the control of you, our client. Our charge rate range depending upon the experience of our solicitors and solicitor advocates is £200 - 400 (excluding VAT) per hour with charging units of 15 minutes in length, with an additional charge for correspondence at 10% of the overall fee. We will always seek to ensure that fees are charged on a basis which is fair and reasonable and in certain cases we will agree with you an instruction fee or a disposal fee which will provide you with certainty as to the costs to be incurred either to a certain stage of your case or to overall. We reserve the right to review the level of the agreed fee should your case become protracted or in the event of unanticipated complications, but we will advise you of such changes in advance and agree them with you. We cannot undertake work without funding and generally payment will be required to allow work to commence and to progress on the basis of a reasonable estimate of the work to be done. Our files and/or computer systems keep track of the work done as a case progresses. Work may be undertaken by a Director or one of the other solicitors in our office. All work is the responsibility of a Director and will be the subject of their oversight and management.
Criminal Cases Including Motoring Offences
Criminal offences, including road traffic matters, can be complex and the facts of each case are unique. We need to understand the difficulties in which you find yourself and how you would have these answered. It may or may not be that you accept any fault at all. It may be possible to make representations to the prosecutor so as to prevent a case being reported for consideration of prosecution actually going to court. You may require us to bring all possible resources to bear in the hope that you will be acquitted of any criminal allegation or, in the alternative, it may be that we will require to manage the case to your best advantage and to seek for you the most preferential outcome.
Guilty Plea At The Outset
Even where it is apparent that you will have to plead guilty, it is often appropriate to carry out background enquiries and to speak with the prosecutor about the details of the case. Our experience indicates fees will be incurred to the level between £300 and £3000 (excluding VAT) to resolve the case at an early stage, always ensuring that a full explanation and mitigation of the events can be offered.
Not Guilty Plea
When a not guilty plea is intimated and the case is continued to trial, fees are likely to be incurred at a level of between £600 and £2500 (excluding VAT) for work up to and including the first Intermediate diet. This is the date before a trial when parties are required to attend court and confirm to the Sheriff whether or not the case is prepared. We will often agree an instruction fee or fixed fee in this case. Additional fees will be incurred following the first Intermediate diet, most likely in the range of £600 to £1500 (excluding VAT) assuming the matter is likely to proceed to a trial on a single day only. Further fees will be incurred for subsequent days of trial and any deferred sentence diets thereafter, most likely in the range of £200 to £500 (excluding VAT) per day for a solicitor as opposed to a director. The daily fee range for a director undertaking a trial is in the range £750 to £1900 (excluding VAT)
As required in any case, our fees would include taking instructions from you, providing advice, obtaining all necessary information from the police and the Procurator Fiscal, obtaining required documents and reviewing these, providing full advice on your options, possible court disposals, court representation and correspondence.
Please note that these are an indication of price ranges only. As we have already stated, all cases are individual and a tailored indication of fees will be provided at the point when we are accepting instructions.
Sheriff & Jury / High Court Prosecutions
These cases are likely to be far more serious in their nature and far more involved in their circumstances. We will generally give you an indication of costs based on our reasonable pre-estimate of the time required of any given case. We will most likely charge an instruction fee and will always seek to advise you in advance when further fees will be required and seek to agree these with you. Solicitor Advocate fees will be charged over and above our fees and depending on the complexities of each individual case, the daily Solicitor Advocate fee range would be between £1250 and £2500 (excluding VAT) per day. This firm has, however, been instructed in lengthy and complex matters where the work required has incurred fees extending to many tens of thousands of pounds. We will provide advice about the potential costs at the start of any case and provide a clear indication to you in writing if necessary.
Paterson Bell provides expert advice and representation for any appeals against a miscarriage of justice in the Sheriff Appeal Court and the Court of Criminal Appeal based in Edinburgh. Fees for appeals are likely to be incurred at a level from £100 (excluding VAT) and up to many thousands of pounds. Costs can escalate if advocates, QCs or solicitor advocates become involve. Our in house solicitor advocates can appear for you in all criminal courts and the range of fees for a solicitor advocate per day is £750 to £3500 (excluding VAT).
This law firm does not undertake Civil, Conveyancing or Executry work.