We are members of Resolution and subscribe to their code of conduct which requires us to adopt a constructive and non-confrontational approach to these matters. The best way to resolve any family law dispute is by discussion, compromise and agreement.
On 1 April 2013 the government introduced changes to the law that mean that legal aid is no longer available for most people and most types of family work. There are some exceptions and you may still be eligible for legal aid. Please contact us if you would like more information.
In light of the government’s changes to legal aid we have introduced three new levels of service to help those clients who do not qualify for legal aid access expert legal advice.
“First Advice at a Fixed Fee”
This is ideal for those clients who wish to know “where they stand” before deciding to proceed. This service includes a face to face interview gathering information about your circumstances and formulating advice tailored especially for you and confirmed in writing to you by email or post.
This service is available at a fixed cost of £195.00 (including VAT) if you would like an appointment with Paul Dodds or £144.00 (including VAT) if you would like an appointment with Julie Hodge or Helen Locke.
You can book your “First Advice” appointment over the phone (0191 2636200) or by calling in at Reception. Payment for “First Advice” appointments must be made in advance of the appointment itself.
Moving on from “First Advice” we provide advice and representation either by way of:-
“Full representation” where we take responsibility for looking after your case. You can pay for that in two ways:
You pay a retainer by way of deposit in the sum of £250 in cases concerning children or cases concerning financial issues or £500 in cases concerning children and financial issues. Each month we prepare an itemised bill of costs based on the time spent with you or working for you.
We charge an hourly rate of £195 plus VAT (Paul Dodds) or £150.00 plus VAT (Julie Hodge and Helen Locke). Letters, telephone calls and emails are charged at one tenth of the hourly rate.
Disbursements, which are payments that you authorise us to make on your behalf to third parties, such as court fees, are payable in addition to our fees.
At the end of each billing period we send an itemised bill which is payable by you when you receive it. The advantage of “Monthly Billing” is that you will pay for the time spent on your behalf detailed in an itemised bill of cost. The disadvantage is that at the beginning of any billing period neither of us will know what the monthly bill shall be in total until it is prepared and sent to you.
“Fixed Fees by Stage Payments” addresses that issue.
Our “Fixed Fees by Stage Payments” arrangement identifies in advance the potential stages of your case. Each potential stage is individually identified in advance. You pay for a “stage” and we undertake the work in that stage. If the time cost of the stage is more than the fixed fee you need not worry because your cost has been agreed in advance and fixed in the sum of the stage payment.
Whilst we will have identified all of the stages which may be incurred in your case it may not be necessary for you to pass through each stage before your case is concluded. You only pay for the stages you need.
Whichever payment option you choose you are guaranteed:
- All costs are agreed in advance
- Broken down between our fees, VAT and disbursements
- There are no nasty surprises or hidden charges
The benefits of both ‘Monthly Billing’ and ‘Fixed Fees by Stage Payments’ include:
- You can budget to meet your costs
- Pay as your case continues
- Remain actively involved in the cost management of your case.
For those clients who seek access to our services but cannot budget for full representation we offer a service called ‘Part Representation – Pay as You Go’.
“Part Representation – Pay as You Go”
You would be a self-representing client, acting in person, and taking responsibility for your own case but able to come to see us for face-to-face advice on a “pay as you go” basis. You can ask us to undertake a task in your case such as drafting a document or preparing a witness statement.
You can visit us for advice as often as you wish paying only for the interview time. Each visit will be charged at £195.00 plus VAT (Paul Dodds) or £150.00 plus VAT (Julie Hodge and Helen Locke).
You only pay for the time spent in the office with us because you would deal with any work that needed to be done in between those appointments.
If you elected one service and then wanted to change to a different service you can do so seamlessly and keep the same solicitor to help you.
We are responding to requests from clients to undertake pieces of work for fixed fees and are always ready to discuss this with you. This makes us significantly different from most other firms who are not yet ready to do this. Since their introduction these three levels of service have proved incredibly popular with clients.
For more information please call (0191) 2636200 or contact us for an appointment.
Our fees for the services that we offer are set out on our website but we are happy to meet with you free of charge to discuss any aspect of our charges that are is unclear to you.
We represent people facing serious life changing circumstances and charge fees for our services. All fees are agreed in advance. There are no hidden charges. We will treat you with kindness and respect and provide you with best advice.
Unless you qualify for legal aid we do not offer a free of charge advice service.
We can help with issues arising from:
- Division of Matrimonial Assets
- Pension Sharing
- Achieving finality between spouses in respect of financial issues
- Expert advice upon the Law relating to children upon their parents relationship breaking down
- Live with Orders (‘Residence’)
- Parental Responsibility
- Spend Time with Orders (‘Contact’)
We say what we do, we do what we say and we prove it. We believe in great service and value for money.
You must have trust and confidence in your Solicitor. Eight out of ten of our new clients are recommended by existing clients and are happy to retain us and instruct us to proceed on their behalf.
Very satisfied with service. Paul listens, doesn't create false or unachievable hopes – Paul advises on facts and his past experiences. Paul demonstrates a professional presence which is noted in Court surroundings. I feel this isn’t the case with all Solicitors whom often lack confidence and professionalism. I would recommend Paul to friends and family who find themselves in similar circumstances.Mrs K Carden