Service Standards & Fees

TREATING CLIENTS FAIRLY POLICY

Policy statement

At People Legal Ltd we are fully committed to providing the highest standards of advice and service to our clients by working in partnership with them.

Our clients are our most valuable asset and our aim is to ensure that we deliver a client-friendly, robust, reliable and cost-effective legal service to them.

People Legal Ltd strives to build long-standing, trusted relationships with all of our clients. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and our Treating Clients Fairly Policy is designed to ensure that we consistently deliver fair outcomes to our clients; in line with the SRA’s Codes of Conduct.

We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees.

Our services

In delivering our commitment to Treat Clients Fairly, People Legal Ltd makes every effort to ensure that our clients are totally satisfied with the legal service they receive and we endeavour to:

  • make any and all possible accommodations for clients with individual needs so as that they are not at any disadvantage.
  • ensure that clients are able to read any documents sent to them that require their understanding. We facilitate this by proactively providing large type documents for our clients with visual impairment.
  • communicate with our clients in a way that they will understand, by using ‘plain’ and not ‘legalese’ language.
  • update our clients regularly on the progress of their matter, especially with updates as to costs, ensuring they understand any potential outlays or fees that may arise.
  • provide our clients with a high quality legal service by offering highly experienced lawyers who are experts in their particular area of work.
  • work with our clients in an empathetic and personable way, particularly when the matter is emotionally delicate.
  • operate our Complaints Handling Procedure in an open and fair way, whereby clients are aware of their right to complain to either the firm or Legal Ombudsmen.
  • ensure that a client or prospective client is treated in a non-discriminatory way that respects diversity.
  • be flexible in our approach, explore options and be open to new ideas.
  • inspire and empower our clients for whom we act.
  • provide practical solutions explained in straightforward language and ‘jargon free’,
  • be passionate about what we do and the clients that we serve.
  • work continually on how we can enhance and improve our services.
  • ensure timely responses and communication.
  • understand the importance of the client’s matter to them.
  • respect clients’ wishes and beliefs.

Our approach

Our priority is to provide our clients with an excellent service underpinned by the quality of our advice. We are committed to ensuring that our clients want to use our services, stay with us and recommend us to their families, friends and colleagues.

Our service is shaped by listening to our clients’ needs and understanding what is important to them. We take responsibility for meeting the needs of our clients and always look for way to improve the quality of our service. We operate a rigorous file review system as part of our internal audit procedures as well as regularly conducting client surveys to ensure that we consistently enhance the service levels for the client.

We recognise that our employees are critical to delivering a positive client experience and ensuring our clients are treated fairly. All of our employees are fully trained in dealing with our clients and in treating them fairly.

CONCERNS AND COMPLAINTS

We seek to provide you with the higher standard of service, however if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided, then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.

In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact Chris McAvoy-Newns to discuss your concerns and he will do his best to resolve any issues at this stage. If, however, you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure policy. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves through our own complaint process. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint

and

  • No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
  • No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint

The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:

Visit: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am and 5pm

Email: [email protected]

Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ

The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about any aspect of our professional behaviours, which could include discriminating against you because of your age, disability or other characteristic or not accounting to you for monies provided to us for the conduct of your matter. You can find out more about the Solicitors Regulation Authority including their contact details and professional conduct rules on their website: www.sra.org.uk.

FEES

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal will be within the following ranges, regardless of whether any of our Solicitors (Chris, Jessica or Helen) represent you. Although Chris is more experienced than Jessica and Helen, he prefers to charge the same, to help ensure client’s costs are kept as low as possible. Where VAT is referred to below please note that this will be charged at the applicable rate, which is currently 20%.

  • Simple complexity case: £1,500-£4,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements). With VAT included, these costs are likely to be between £1,800-£4,800.
  • Medium complexity case: £3,000-£10,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)With VAT included, these costs are likely to be between £3,60012,000.
  • High complexity case: £10,000-£50,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)With VAT included, these costs are likely to be between £12,000-£60,000.

These ranges are designed to assist you with knowing the likely total cost of your litigation excluding disbursements. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to other people, such as fees for a barrister’s opinion or help at Court. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

However, we adopt a flexible approach to funding cases. For example, if you would prefer to agree fixed fees per task, we can do this. Fixed fees for e.g. preparing a claim, or a response to a claim, are likely to be in the region of £500-1,500 (excluding VAT and any disbursements) depending upon the complexity of your case. If you would prefer to work on an hourly rate basis, we can do this. The hourly rates of Chris, Jessica or Helen are all £150 plus VAT.  We may also be happy to work with you on a “no win no fee” basis (also known as a “damages based” or a “conditional fee” basis) and further information regarding that is set out below.

Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties) or whether the claimant is an “employee”
  • The number of witnesses and documents
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of £1,000-1,500 per day (excluding VAT). Generally, on average, we would allow 2-3 days depending on the complexity of your case. For complex claims of whistleblowing or discrimination, involving multiple witnesses, the hearing could last several weeks. This will be discussed with you at the outset. If you decide to instruct a Barrister to represent you at the hearing, these costs (which would amount to “disbursements”) would be greater, depending on the level of experience of the Barrister. From our experience, these fees can range between £750-£5,000 per day, depending on the level of experience of the Barrister.  We can provide quotes and a recommendation for you.

It would not normally be necessary to undertake other work or incur other costs other than those described below. However, we would be very happy to provide you with a more tailored quote for all stages of your particular case once we know about your specific circumstances.

If you decide to instruct us to work with you on a “damages based” basis (also known as a “no win no fee” or “conditional fee” basis), you should note that if you win (which includes receiving a financial settlement), you will agree to pay us a 25% share of any money, award or settlement received. This includes VAT but does not include the expenses that you are responsible for in accordance with the terms of any such agreement entered into between us which may include, for example, Barrister’s fees or fees to obtain a medical report. Also, although we do not expect this will happen, if we have to end the “no win no fee” agreement because you have not behaved reasonably, you will then be liable to pay our costs and the expenses incurred up to the date of termination. Failing to accept our advice on your prospects of success and/or whether any offer of settlement should be accepted and/or whether any offer of settlement should be made (and, if so, on what terms) and that failing to take reasonable steps to find alternative employment and keep a record of those steps are examples of situations that may commonly amount to unreasonable behaviour.

Opponent’s costs

Normally you do not have to pay your opponent’s costs in an employment claim but we will guide you further if we feel that you are at risk of this at any stage.

Examples of our charges

The below is a typical example (for illustration only) of the legal costs of bringing an employment Tribunal claim by an employee which is relatively simple and settles within 6 weeks:

  • Our legal fees of £1,500 plus VAT (therefore, £1,800 including VAT) for starting the ACAS early conciliation process, drafting and filing the claim, engaging in settlement discussions and advising you about and finalising a settlement agreement
  • Counsel’s fees are unlikely to be incurred
    TOTAL: £1,500 plus VAT (therefore, £1,800 including VAT and disbursements)

Whereas the table below is a typical example (again, for illustration only) of the legal costs of bringing an employment Tribunal claim by an employee in a medium complexity case which results in a 3 day hearing before conclusion:

  • Our legal fees of £10,000 plus VAT (therefore, £12,000 including VAT) which will largely be for drafting and filing the claim, attending a case management hearing, preparing your schedule of loss, undertaking disclosure, preparing your witness statement and undertaking final preparations for the final hearing
  • Counsel’s Fees of around £4-7,500 (excluding VAT) for what is known as the ‘brief fee’ (which encompasses the Barrister’s preparation and the first day of the hearing) and two days at a daily rate. The level of brief and daily rate fees will depend on the experience of the Barrister chosen which we can discuss further with you. Including VAT the costs are likely to be around £4,800-£9,000.
    TOTAL: Up to £21,000 including VAT and disbursements depending on the experience of the Barrister chosen which we can discuss further with you.

KEY STAGES OF YOUR CLAIM

The examples of typical costs above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of an unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal case:

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on your prospects of success in the claim and the likely compensation, although this is likely to be revisited throughout the case and subject to change.
  • Entering into pre-claim conciliation with ACAS where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached.
  • Preparing your claim or response.
  • Reviewing and advising on the claim or response from the other party.
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating a settlement throughout the process.
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss.
  • Preparing for and attending a Preliminary Hearing.
  • Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents.
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses.
  • Preparing bundles of documents for the final hearing.
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements.
  • Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list.
  • Preparation and instructions to the barrister (if this is not being done in-house by us) for the final hearing.

The stages set out above are an indication only and if some of the stages are not required, the fee may be reduced. Some clients may wish to attempt to handle some parts of a very straight-forward matter themselves and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also reduce the cost if your case is one where we’re comfortable that this is a sensible approach to take.

It would not normally be necessary to undertake other work or incur other costs other than those described above. However, we would be very happy to provide you with a more tailored quote for all stages of your particular case once we know about your specific circumstances.

HOW LONG WILL MY CASE TAKE?

The time it takes from your initial instructions to the end of your case depends largely on the stage at which it is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim discussions, your case is likely to take 3 – 4 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a final hearing, your case could take in excess of a year, particularly at the moment. Some more complex cases, such as claims for discrimination or detriment, are taking several years to complete. This is just an illustration and we will be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information from you and as the case progresses.

WHO WILL BE DEALING WITH MY CASE?

Your case will be handled by a trusted member of our experienced team who are, generally speaking, qualified as a solicitor, with the assistance of a Trainee Solicitor or Paralegal.  Once we know who will be handling your case for you we will introduce you to them and provide you with full details of their background and qualifications. Full details of the experience and qualifications of our team are available on our website  including the types of work normally undertaken.

People Legal is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and its registration number is: 654830