Martin, Johnston & Socha Ltd are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland. The Law Society has issued guidance in what is called “price transparency”. This relates to information which should be made available to clients and potential clients about fees, outlays and costs that may be incurred when instructing a solicitor. The guidance is in place for all firms in Scotland for legal services on a private client basis.
We aim to be open (transparent) with all clients regarding the cost incurred for the services which we will provide at the point of providing instructions, or indeed considering the provision of instructions to our office a solicitor will always endeavour to provide a clear indication of the likely cost to be incurred both initially – usually in the context of an instruction fee – and for the different stages of a case as it progresses. It is much easier to provide a real indication of cost in the context of a case itself rather than the context of generality. We can however, give illustration to the potential cost which can be incurred though it is important to always bear in mind that every legal case is individual in its requirements and difficulties and, indeed, as regards to the value of the matter to you, our client. It is always important to remember that VAT has to be charged on top of fees. We appreciate that private clients as against business clients are unlikely to be able to recover the VAT which is paid in addition to our fees. Please remember however, that the VAT element is not kept by the firm but is simply passed on to the government. Additionally, it may be a reasonable anticipation that outlays will be incurred, for example, court cost, the cost for doctors reports/expert reports. These costs are a necessary part of the work to be done. We will do our best to identify them to you in advance and will notify you of any cost to be incurred before we incur liability for them on your behalf.
General Advice And Representation
This firm undertakes a wide range of criminal court work including representation in the Justice of the Peace Court, Sheriff Court and High Court.
A solicitor from our office will usually be available to discuss matters briefly by telephone and to indicate whether or not any particular issue is one in which we can assist, whether or not legal aid funding (legal advice and assistance and legal aid) is likely to be available and at what cost private instructions would be accepted. It is, however, usually impossible to set a ceiling or top limit on the likely level of fees. Inevitably fees are driven by circumstances which may well be outside the control of you, our client. Our charge rate is £210.00 plus VAT (£252 per hour) with charging units of 6 minutes in length and equivalent units for correspondence. We will always seek to ensure that fees are charged on the basis which is fair and reasonable and in certain cases, we will agree with you an instruction fee or a disposal fee which will provide you with the certainty as to the cost to be incurred either to a certain stage of your cost or overall. We reserve the right to review the level of the agreed fee should your case become protracted or in the event unanticipated complications but we will advise you of such changes in advance and agree on them with you.
We cannot undertake work without funding and generally payment will be required to allow work to progress based on a reasonable estimate of the work to be done. It is likely that we will require payment from you as the case progresses. Our office systems keep track of the work done as the case progresses. Work may be undertaken by one of the Directors of the firm or one of the solicitors in the office. All work is the responsibility of the Directors and will be subject to their oversight and management.
Criminal Cases Including Motor Offences
Criminal offences including road traffic matters can be complex and the facts of each case are unique. We need to understand the difficulties in which you find yourself and how you would have these answered. It may or may not be that you accept any fault at all. It may be possible to make representations to the Prosecutor so as to stop a case reported by the police or other agency for consideration for prosecution actually going to court. You may require us to bring all possible resources to bear in the hope that you will be acquitted (found Not Guilty) of any criminal allegation or, in the alternative it may be that we will require to manage the case to your best advantage and to see for you the most preferential outcome – always appreciating that this is in the hands of others.
Guilty Plea At The Outset
Even where it is apparent that you will have to plead guilty, it is often appropriate to carry out background enquiry and to speak with the prosecutor about the detail of the case our experience indicates fees will be incurred to the level between £360.00 and £1200.00 including VAT to resolve the case at an early stage always ensuring that a full explanation for and mitigation of the events can be offered.
Not Guilty Plea
When a Not Guilty plea is intimated and the case is continued to Trial fees are likely to be incurred at a level of between £840.00 and £2500.00 including VAT for work up to and including the first Intermediate Diet. This is a date before a Trial when parties are required to attend court and confirm to the Sheriff whether or not the case is prepared. We will often agree on an instruction fee or fixed fee in this case. Additional fees will be incurred following the first Intermediate Diet most likely in the range of £720.00 to £1800.00 including VAT assuming the matter is likely to proceed to a trial on a single day only. As required in any case our fees would include taking instructions from you, providing advice, obtaining all necessary information from the police and the Procurator Fiscal, obtaining required documents and reviewing these, providing full advice on your options, possible court disposals, court representation and correspondence.
Please note that these are an indication of price ranges only as we have already stated all cases are individual and a tailored indication of fees will be provided at the point when we are accepting instructions.
Sheriff And Jury/ High Court Prosecution
These cases are likely to be far more serious in their nature and far more involved in their circumstances. We will generally give you an indication of costs based on our reasonable pre-estimate of the time required of any given case. We will most likely charge an instruction fee and will always seek to advise you in advance when further fees will be required. We will seek to agree on these with you. There is no typical case so far as prosecutions at the higher level in Scottish Courts are concerned. It may be that with our best endeavours the prosecution could be discontinued at an early stage in which case fees of approximately £1000.00 plus VAT can be anticipated. This firm has however been instructed in lengthy and complex matters the work required has incurred fees extending to many tens of thousands of pounds.
Instruction Of Inhouse Solicitor-advocates In High Court Criminal Cases
This firm is fortunate in that it has the ability to instruct its own inhouse Solicitor-Advocate to represent you should you wish that. Fees incurred for the instructions of Solicitor-Advocates would be in addition to any fee charged in relation to the preparation for the case. In relation to Solicitor-Advocates appearing in the High Court, the fee range can be anywhere between £1000.00 to £2500.00 plus VAT per day with additional fees likely to be charged for consultation in the range of £400.00 to £750.00 plus VAT per consultation and proportionate charges in relation to any other Diets not covered by the originally indicated daily fee.
We will of course seek to agree to the charges with you and give you an instruction fee or fixed fee to allow you to instruct one of our Solicitor-Advocates employed by the firm.