In accordance with the Solicitors’ Regulatory Transparency Rules we are required to ensure that members of the public have accurate and relevant information about a solicitor or firm when they are considering purchasing certain legal services.
The services specified in the regulations which are applicable to the areas of law practised by this firm relate to the provision of advice and representation at the Magistrates Court in relation to summary only road traffic offences dealt with at a single hearing. A summary only offence is an offence which can only be dealt with at a Magistrates Court.
The most common examples of offence are:-
- Driving without insurance
- Careless Driving
- Failing to provide a specimen
- Failing to stop after an accident
- Driving a vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit for alcohol
- Driving otherwise in accordance with a licence.
For further information on whether any other specific offences are summary only offences please refer to Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, which can be accessed via this link – https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/53/schedule/2.
Fixed Fees Vs. Hourly Rate
We should also say that the level of cost involved will be dependent on whether you choose to instruct a solicitor to represent you in this matter on the basis that time is charged at an hourly rate or whether we are able to agree that a fixed fee will be applicable.
If you instruct us on the basis of an hourly rate (plus VAT at the rate of 20%) then the rates at which you will be charged will depend on the particular fee earners who are allocated to undertake work on your case. We will notify you specifically in respect of each individual who we believe will be carrying out any significant proportion of the work on your file. In as far as we are able to set guideline rates based on either specific qualifications and experience, the rates are based on the following:-
- Fee Earner Level A – Partners, Senior Solicitors, CILEx Advocates and Barristers and other equivalent fee earners with at least 7 years of relevant experience – £300 per hour
- Fee Earner Level B – Solicitors, CILEx, Barristers and other equivalent fee earners with at least 3 years of relevant experience – £250 per hour
- Fee Earner Level C – Solicitors, CILEx, Barristers, Trainee Solicitors and other equivalent fee earners with less than 3 years of relevant experience – £200 per hour
For more information as to the status of a solicitor for the purpose of this guidance please refer to the individual profiles that can be found on this website.
We can offer a fixed fee of £1,000 plus VAT (at the rate of 20%) in the following circumstances:-
- Where you have been summonsed or charged at the police station with one of the offences listed above.
- There is not an excessive amount of “advanced information” of evidence relating to your case – ie; not more than 100 pages
- Where the Court at which you are due to appear is located within a 20 mile radius of the office at which the solicitor that you choose to instruct is based.
We will agree a fixed fee to cover the following:-
- Consider the advanced information
- Meet with you to discuss the hearing including
- Take your instructions in respect of mitigation if you intend to enter a guilty plea; and
- Advise you on the potential sentence you might receive; or
- Take your instructions with regards any not guilty plea and the next steps in your case; and
- Advise you as to court process leading to your trial and the next steps that will need to be undertaken.
- Attend with you at Court at a single hearing to provide representation for you
You will also be liable to meet the cost of any disbursements incurred by that solicitor travelling to Court to represent you, and any other disbursements reasonably incurred, and agreed with you in advance, in preparing your case for that hearing.
Our costs of mileage to attend Court to represent you will be £0.45 per mile. Parking fees and/or the costs of public transport will also be charged as appropriate. For the most part the combined costs of mileage, parking and/or public transport costs will usually not exceed £30. These disbursements do generally attract VAT at the rate of 20%.
Costs of Counsel
The other most common type of disbursement that might be incurred for attendances at the Magistrates’ Court are the costs of Counsel. If we are not able to send one of our own specialist advocates to Court – or if you specifically require representation by Counsel. The costs of Counsel attending a hearing vary considerably based on relevant seniority and experience. We will need to discuss the choice of advocate with you on a case by case basis. Counsel’s fees generally attract VAT at the rate of 20%.
These fee estimates are not applicable to those cases where “exceptional hardship” is advanced.
Where a person accumulates 12 or more penalty points on his licence, the Court is obliged to disqualify that person from driving for a minimum period of 6 months. The only instance where the Court has a discretion not to do so, is where it finds that “exceptional hardship” would result if that person were to be disqualified from driving. In those circumstances, the Court can exercise its discretion to disqualify for a shorter period or not to disqualify at all.
The test as to what amounts to “exceptional hardship” is extremely high. The hardship that is suffered is not limited to the impact upon the person convicted; rather it can be hardship that can be described as “exceptional” and which will be suffered by others.
It is not possible to give an exhaustive list as to the type of “hardship” that might be considered sufficient to meet this test.
Where we are able to identify that there is a risk of disqualification under the “totting up” provisions then it will usually be necessary to conduct a substantial amount of work in advance of the Court hearing. This is due to the fact that the onus is upon the person who is liable to be disqualified under the “totting up” provisions to demonstrate that “exceptional hardship” will result.
Typically that person will be required to give live evidence at the hearing at which the argument is advanced. Supporting evidence will almost always be necessary to properly advance the argument. This might include taking statements from other witnesses and calling them to give evidence, obtaining detailed financial information and medical evidence.
A typical case of this nature would involve between 4 and 8 hours work in advance of the hearing itself.
The hearing at which the argument is advanced before the Court can typically last between 30 minutes and 2 hours, exclusive of waiting time.
The cost of you instructing a solicitor to prepare your case properly for an argument at which “exceptional hardship” might need to be advanced, and representing you at a single hearing of the case at Court, is likely to amount to between £1500 and £4000 (plus VAT at the rate of 20%).