There are strict time limits which could be as little as 1 month from receipt of the bill so don’t sit on it!
Call Nick at Sentinels Solicitors Ltd 01925 759 510 and we will advise you further and protect your interests.
You may have been overcharged for your personal injury claim after 2013 and entitled to a refund.
The % the solicitor could charge you was set out in your “no win no fee agreement” (or CFA).
A 100% “success fee” in straight forward claims is likely to be too high. Don’t mix this % up with the 25% cap on success fees (see below**).
The court has the power to reduce the % to what is reasonable. A lower % means a lower charge to you and a refund.
The % success fee should be applied to the costs the solicitor incurred in acting for you in your claim (not the compensation itself – this only comes into play to cap the overall success fee).
The costs might be limited to the costs your solicitor received from the losing party in your claim. (Eg £600 in a simple road traffic accident). Lower costs mean a lower charge to you.
Even if costs are not limited to what was received from the losing party (a) the hourly rate applied may be too high; and/or (b) the amount of time spent may be too high.
Costs reduced by the court on an assessment means a lower success fee charge to you.
**If the success fee % of the costs exceeds 25% of your compensation then it is capped at 25%.
Challenge the costs:
The way to tackle the charges to you is to apply to the court for an assessment of the costs.
Your solicitor has to send you a bill before deducting anything, setting out their costs and how they have calculated the success fee.
Many haven’t done so, but are now waking up to the risk that former clients should have been sent one and sending them out now.
If you receive a bill give Nick a call on 01925 759 510 as soon as you can as you might be entitled to a refund of the success fee.
Apply to court within 1 month of receiving the bill and you are entitled to an assessment as of right.
If you don’t apply to court within 1 month from receipt you will have to show that “special circumstances” exist to justify an assessment.
What amounts to special circumstances will depend on the case so it is best to act within the 1 month period.