Q: I have a couple of disputes going on; one with the Water Board and one concerning an online purchase. They are not massive disputes, but they are each worth a few thousand pounds. Is there anything I can do to keep my legal costs down?
A: You can save your solicitor time, and so save yourself money, by writing out the history of the dispute before seeing a solicitor. By listing and referring to all relevant documents or letters, you should have a clear and concise picture that will enable you to draft a suitable response to those with whom you are in dispute, then your solicitor can just check and finalise it.
Also, check whether you have legal expenses cover on your household or car insurance, credit card or bank account. If you do, you may be able to claim back solicitors’ fees. The insurers may ask you to use a firm of solicitors further away, but you have the right to ask for a local firm, particularly if you have a good argument for using them, such as they have always acted for your family, or you’re not good with IT or travelling.
When you do instruct solicitors, listen to their suggestions. They will concentrate on the key issues and keep things as simple as possible. Even if they challenge things you have said or done, remember they are on your side and just need to know the facts from every angle in order to help you and get the job done asap.
It may be possible to agree a fixed fee for specific pieces of legal work but remember that every time you send an email that your solicitor needs to read and respond to, it will cost you money. So being focused and concise results in the cheapest and best outcome.
This question has been answered by James Denton, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.
If you would like to speak to someone about this, a new enquiry, or for an appointment, visit GHP Legal or contact one of our offices: