FAQs on Legal Costs


Our pricing is usually made up of two parts, the Legal Costs and Disbursements.

What are Legal Costs?

Legal costs are the fees we charge you for the legal work we carry out for you. Legal costs are subject to the addition of VAT.

What are Disbursements?

Disbursements are expenses we have to pay out on your behalf in connection with the case or transaction we are dealing with for you. Examples of typical disbursements are: ID checks, Court Fees, Land Registry Fees, Search Fees or Barrister Fees. Because disbursements are fees we have to pay out on your behalf we must always be paid these in advance of incurring them. Disbursements and expenses will in most cases also be subject to the addition of VAT

Lender Panel fees in Property

Many lenders (whether banks or building societies) belong to Lender Portals. In such cases the Lender Portals charge a fee for dealing with your transaction. In the event a Lender Portal fee is payable on your transaction, we will charge you a fee of £40 plus VAT. This Fee includes the payment to the Lender Portal and a very small portion of our administration time. This Lender Portal fee is in addition to any quotes, Orders or Proposals that we may have already provided to you.

How are Legal Costs calculated?

Each person at James Legal who carries out work for you is allocated an hourly charging rate. This can be different for each person and is usually based on the person’s experience. When we quote for work we estimate (based on what we know at that time) how many hours that piece of work may take. When we invoice you this will also be based on the time spent (but subject to agreed hourly limits and Scope of Work, see below). 

Do you keep a record of the time working on my matter, case or transaction?

When we carry out work for you we record all the time we spend. This enables us to keep track of the work done for you and is helpful on invoicing.   

When will I get an invoice?

We will invoice you for the work done based on the time spent / Scope of Work, either when the work is completed or at other specified stages.

What other factors affect pricing?

Other factors which can affect pricing are complexity, the speed at which the work needs to be done, value of the work and the risk associated with the work.

Are the legal costs fixed?

In many instances the work we carry out for you will be done for a fixed price. The fixed price we quote will be for the work we anticipate being needed based on certain assumptions and on the information we have at that time, this work is called the Scope of Work. It is important that you understand that we are quoting, in our fixed fee, for that Scope of Work only and no other work. The Scope of Work is always limited in hours just in case the actual work needed changes as your case, matter or transaction evolves.

At the outset, or part way through, we will usually write to you (usually in a Proposal, Letter or Order) setting out what work (in the form of a Scope of Work) we anticipate we will need to carry out on your behalf, this may involve dealing with the whole or part of the case, matter or transaction.

How do you set the Scope of Work? 

The Scope of Work is the list of work we anticipate carrying out based on the information we receive at the outset and based on certain assumptions about typical cases of this type. Because one can never predict exactly how a case or transaction may change and evolve, we set a maximum hourly limit to work to as part of that Scope of Work.

What happens if the work needed changes?

In some cases, matters or transactions things may occur which may cause us to carry out different or more work which was not anticipated at the outset (and therefore not in the Scope of Work). If the work done is slightly different, but yet within the hourly limit we set in the Scope of Work, then this will have no effect on the Legal Costs which had been set for that Scope of Work. If however additional work is needed, then we will raise this with you and set a further budget and / or a new Scope of Work.  

What can cause the Legal Work to change and what affect will this have on costs?

When we set out our estimate of costs this is based on the Scope of Work, a typical case of this type and a certain amount of time (the limit in hours). Legal matters are seldom the same, there are many moving parts and often many third parties involved (such as Courts, other side and so on) as such things can easily change, evolve or escalate. These changes affect the time spent working on your case, matter or transaction and in doing so the price and costs are also then affected.

Examples of this are where additional information comes to light which changes the amount or nature of the work or where another party to a transaction or case acts in a way which requires more work to be done.

In such cases we will notify you and let you know what effect additional work will have on legal costs.

When you say “work” what do you mean and what exactly am I paying for?

As lawyers we have spent many years training and many years at work developing our legal knowledge so we are best able to deal with your matter, case or transaction. As with most legal firms (so much the same as plumbers and other hourly charged services), we charge hourly rates, that are broken down into 6 minute units, when we do work for you we keep a record of the time spent. This time record is then used as the basis for our charges.

It is important to understand that any time spent on your case is charged, much like an iceberg, you can’t see it all, you will see some work such as emails/calls/meetings with us, but you won’t always see all work. A lot of work is often done on your case or transaction such as drafting of documents, calls, emails and letters to other parties and the like, which you may not have seen, but will be chargeable time spent helping you by progressing or otherwise working on your case or transaction.

When do I have to pay?

In most cases you will be required to pay when you ask us to carry out the work (i.e. on Order or otherwise agreeing a Scope of Work). In some cases where we may handle funds from something like the sale of a property, then legal costs can be deducted at the end from funds received.

How do I pay?

Payment can be made directly into our bank account (Handelsbanken Sort Code 40-51-62 Account Number 29129261) or by debit or credit card in person or over the telephone.

Please note that our bank account details will not change during your transaction and we will never notify you of any changes via email. Because of increased risk of online fraud, we highly recommend that you telephone us to confirm our bank details before transferring any monies. Should you receive an email with a change of bank details, please call the person dealing with your matter immediately and do not proceed to transfer any monies to the requested account. James Legal Limited will not accept responsibility for any monies transferred to an incorrect or fraudulent bank account.

Not Sure?

If you have any queries about your legal costs or payment terms we will be happy to explain these to you.