Pricing

Information on prices and services as required by Rule 1 of the SRA Transparency Rules 

In December 2018 the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published their new Transparency Rules, with the aim of making sure that consumers have the information they need to make an informed choice of legal service provider, including understanding what the costs may be.  The rules require all regulated law firms to publish information on the prices they charge in relation to certain services. 

The services and pricing information which Swinburne Maddison is required to provide under these new rules are set out below.

If you have any questions in relation to the information provided on this page, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0191 384 2441 and ask to speak with a member of the appropriate team.

 

Conveyancing 

Instant Quote

For an instant conveyancing quote today, please click here

 

Probate

A general note on legal fees relevant to estate administrations 

It is difficult to generalise costs information in relation to estate administrations, given that each estate is different.  The variables and “unknowns” can be numerous and do not exclusively relate to the estate’s value.  For example:

  • The standard of record-keeping of deceased parties is variable, which impacts on the process of collecting paperwork, tracing all assets, and the time incurred in this task. 
  • Each individual’s family circumstances are unique, and the number of beneficiaries with whom we are required to engage, their needs and requirements, and the risk that the estate will be contested by any disgruntled parties, are all factors which will have a bearing on our costs. 
  • The lifetime gifts which the deceased made will need to be investigated, and can range from straightforward to difficult, depending on the pattern of giving concerned and the availability of evidence. 
  • The extent of the deceased’s assets and liabilities and the identity and number of his/her chosen beneficiaries will always also vary from case to case. 
  • If inheritance tax and/or capital gains tax are due to be paid within the administration period then this will almost always lead to higher charges. The arrangements for payments of these duties can also be time consuming in estates in estates in which there are few liquid cash assets. 
  • The subsequent sale of assets may prove complicated if, for instance, the deceased had many personal possessions, investments, and/or properties.

As a result of the above, it is very difficult for us to provide an accurate indication of how much time will be required to deal with a “typical” probate instruction. 

 

Pricing 

We can however confirm that in all cases, our charges are raised on the basis of two elements, as follows:

  1. Time incurred at the hourly rate of the individual who will be involved in dealing with the matter. Applicable hourly rates (exclusive of VAT) are currently as follows:

               Partner - £250

               Managing Associate - £225  

               Solicitor - £195

               Legal Executive - £185

               Trainee Solicitor - £130 

  1. Law Society approved ‘Value Element’ added mark-up.

An added value element (plus VAT) will be charged, as approved by the Law Society, to reflect the type and value of the assets comprising the estate and the complexity of administering it.  The Law Society Value Element (exclusive of VAT) that usually applies, as modified in this instance, are set out below.

Solicitor not an Executor

            Gross estate less residence     1%

            Residence                              0.5%

Solicitor sole Executor or joint Executor with any other person

            Gross estate less residence     1.5%

            Residence                              0.75%

Ordinarily, estate administrations in which no Inheritance Tax is payable incur between 4 and 60 hours of time, with usual charges for time incurred therefore falling between £780 and £15,000 (exclusive of VAT).

An example at the lower end of the scale would be an extremely straightforward estate, where an individual had died leaving everything to his/her spouse, there were only 2-3 assets to administer, and very simple estate accounts to prepare.

An example at the higher end of the scale may involve an estate in which the deceased retained few records, had numerous personal possessions, assets were unknown and require thorough investigation at the outset of the matter, and/or the estate was required to be varied.  There may also be a large number of beneficiaries.

Estate administrations which require a full Inheritance Tax return (and payment) to be made to HMRC will usually require between 20 and 120 hours of time, with charges therefore totalling between £3,900 and £30,000 (exclusive of VAT).

An example at the lower end of this scale would likely involve an estate in which the assets were not numerous, could be ascertained and valued in a straightforward manner, with no corrective accounts being required following payment of the inheritance tax bill.  It would also likely involve only one or two beneficiaries. 

An example at the higher end of the scale may involve an estate in which the deceased made extensive lifetime gifts, had not settled his/her tax affairs to the date of death, had numerous properties which required maintenance and/or realised capital gains on sale, and involved multiple beneficiaries or a variation to the terms of the Will.

 

Assumptions on which the above information is provided

 The fee ranges we have set out above are based on several assumptions, as follows:

  1. There is either a valid Will held by the Deceased, or all relatives to inherit the estate via the intestacy rules are known and traceable. Evidence of their eligibility and relation to the deceased is readily available. 
  1. It is agreed between all relevant parties at the outset who will act as our client and obtain the Grant, with no disputes or challenges to this arising in the course of the matter.  
  1. If the estate is to be varied, then the terms of the variation is agreed by all relevant parties in a reasonable time. 
  1. There are no disputes between beneficiaries as to the division of the deceased’s assets, or any claims made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. 
  1. There are no foreign or intangible assets which we are required to administer.

 

Disbursements 

We have also outlined some of the disbursements (fees payable to third parties) that are likely to apply during the course of any administration, though again some of disbursements are specific to individual cases which are not listed.  It will sometimes be necessary, for example, to engage third parties like valuers, house clearance firms, auctioneers, genealogists, estate agents etc, the fees of which cannot be quoted at present and would be sought on an individual basis.

We however believe that the following disbursements will be incurred routinely in almost all matters:

Land Registry Fees

If property is comprised within the estate, we will be required to check the title, at a fee of £3 per property.

Oath Fee

This is generally £7 per Executor or £5 per Administrator.

Probate Registry fee

The fee is £155 and there is also a charge of 50p for each additional Office Copy Grant of Probate.

Share Valuation fee

This is tends to be £25 + VAT but may vary depending upon the value of the shares.

Property valuation fee

This can be in the region of £150 plus VAT.

Statutory Notices

If required, these may be in the region of £200.

Bankruptcy Search

This search will need to be effected against all beneficiaries of a legacy or share in the residuary estate to ensure that the recipient is not an undischarged bankrupt. There is a charge of £2 per search.

Telegraphic Transfer (or Foreign Transfer) Fee

This is the fee for a same-day transfer of funds and applies at the rate of £36 (per transfer), if required by the beneficiary.

 

How long will my matter take?

The timescale in dealing with estate administrations also varies between cases.

In a straightforward estate in which there is no Inheritance Tax to pay, it will ordinarily take between 4-10 weeks from instruction to apply for the Grant of Probate.

Settling liabilities, any legacies, preparing estate accounts and distributions thereafter tends to take between 2-7 months.  It is necessary to ensure that funds are held for at least six months following production of the Grant of Probate where there is any risk whatsoever that a claim may be brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

In an estate where there is Inheritance Tax to pay, the deadline for payment of tax is six months following the end of the month of death. The Grant of Probate will thereafter generally be obtained within one month.  Collecting and distributing the estate may however take much longer than in a lower-value case, particularly if corrective accounts are required to be submitted to HMRC on sale of the estate’s assets, for instance.  Ordinarily however estates can be finalised within 4-12 months from production of the Grant.

 

Grant-only applications 

If the Executors/Administrators of an estate only require assistance obtaining the Grant of Probate/Grant of Letters of Administration, then we are able to help.  Our fees for a ‘Grant Only’ instruction are subject to you being able to provide us with all date of death values – those being for each asset that the deceased owned, and also for each liability that the deceased had.

In a Grant only instruction, it is typically the case that you wish to deal with the whole of the administration of the estate following the issue of the Grant, and enlist our professional assistance purely in completing the HMRC Inheritance Tax form, the Oath and the Estate Accounts to the date of death, before then applying for the Grant.

In such cases, we are able to provide a fixed fee of £650 plus VAT, however this is subject to there being no requirement for our involvement in obtaining the date of death asset/liability values.

In the event that the estate requires the more complicated Inheritance Tax form ‘IHT 400’ and its accompanying Schedules to be completed, then the above quote will not apply and the instruction will need to be based on the hourly charging rate of the Solicitor involved due to the additional time consumption and complexity involved.

 

Employment Tribunals 

Pricing

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims in the Employment Tribunal is as follows:

  • Simple case: £5,000 to £10,000 (excluding VAT) 
  • Medium complexity case: £10,000 to £25,000 (excluding VAT) 
  • High complexity case: £25,000 to £60,000 (excluding VAT)

 Factors that could make a case more complex include the following:

  • 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) 
  • The number of witnesses and documents 
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed in connection with the transfer of a business 
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal 
  • Allegations of whistle blowing 
  • The number of causes of action and types of claim

 

Disbursements 

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Counsel's fees are estimated between £1,000 to £5,000 plus VAT per day (depending on experience of the advocate) for representing you at a final Tribunal Hearing (including preparation.) Fees for representing you at a preliminary hearing are estimated between £350 to £1,500 plus VAT per day.

 

Key stages

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change) 
  • Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached 
  • Preparing claim or response 
  • Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party 
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process including drafting a Settlement Agreement 
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss 
  • Preparing for (and attending or representing you at) a Preliminary Hearing 
  • Reviewing and exchanging documents with the other party 
  • Considering documents disclosed by the other party 
  • Agreeing a bundle of documents and drafting an index 
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses 
  • Preparing final bundle of documents for use at the hearing 
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements 
  • Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list 
  • Arranging and attending a conference with Counsel 
  • Preparation and attendance or representation at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel 
  • Advice on appeal

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages above are not required, the fee may be reduced.  You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages.  This can also be arranged on your individual needs.

 

How long will my matter take? 

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take up to 6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take between 26 and 78 weeks. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

 

Debt Recovery

Pricing

These costs apply only where your claim is in relation to an unpaid invoice which is not disputed and enforcement action is not needed, and therefore includes work up to and including the obtaining of a County Court Judgment in default.  If the other party disputes your claim at any point, we will discuss any further work required and provide you with revised advice about costs if necessary, which could be on a fixed fee (e.g. if a one off letter is required), or an hourly rate if more extensive work is needed.

 

Debt value

Court fee

Our fee (incl. VAT)

Total

Up to £5,000

£35-£205

£600

£635-805

£5,001 - £10,000

£455

£900

£1,355

£10,001 - £100,000

5% value of the claim

£1,200

Depending on value of claim

 

Anyone wishing to proceed with a claim should note that:

  • The VAT element of our fee cannot be reclaimed from your debtor (assuming you are VAT registered). 
  • Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost. 
  • The costs quoted above are not for matters where enforcement action, such as the instruction of County Court Bailiffs or High Court Enforcement Officers, is needed to collect your debt.

 

Key stages

Our fee includes:

  • Taking your instructions and reviewing documentation 
  • Undertaking appropriate searches 
  • Sending a letter before action 
  • Receiving payment and sending onto you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing claim 
  • Where no Acknowledgment of Service or Defence is received, applying to the court to enter Judgment in default 
  • When Judgment in default in received, write to the other side to request payment 
  • If payment is not received within 7 days, providing you with advice on next steps and likely costs 

 

How long will my matter take?

Matters usually take 6-12 weeks from receipt of instructions from you to receipt of payment from the other side, depending on whether or not it is necessary to issue a claim.  This is on the basis that the other side pays promptly on receipt of Judgment in default.  If enforcement action is needed, or if the debt is disputed and/or the claim defended, the matter will take longer to resolve.

 

Licensing Applications in relation to Businesses 

Applications to vary an existing premises licence 

Pricing

Our pricing for making an application to vary an existing premises licence is as follows:

  • Simple complexity application: £450 to £1,000 (excluding VAT) 
  • Medium complexity application case: £1,000 to £3,000 (excluding VAT) 
  • High complexity application case: £3,000 to £5,000 (excluding VAT)

A simple application is an application to vary the Designated Premises Supervisor (“DPS”) where the incoming DPS has an existing personal licence.

 

Factors that could make an application more complex:

  • The application is to vary days or timings (including seasonal variations) 
  • The application is to vary days/times to non-standard timing changes to licensable activities 
  • Objections are received form either the public, the police or the licensing authority itself 
  • Attendance at a licensing hearing is required 
  • Whether the premises is situated in a residential area 
  • The size and capacity of the premises 
  • The nature of the current licensable activities and whether the changes proposed involve additional licensable activities and whether these are likely to be controversial 
  • The premises in question is a golf club 

 

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Application fees are payable to the relevant licensing authority immediately upon making an application for a new premises licence or when making an application to vary a premises licence.

Fees payable to the licensing authority when making a simple application to vary the designated premises supervisor (DPS) are £23.

 

Key stages

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of an application:

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and obtaining required information 
  • Advising on how to promote licensing objections (save in respect of a simple application to vary a DPS) 
  • Advising on types of plans needed (save in respect of a simple application to vary a DPS) 
  • Preparing and submitting the application form 
  • Disclosing the application to the responsible authorities 
  • Making necessary arrangements for advertising the application

The fees set out above also include the following however in these circumstances it may take fees into a higher fee band than originally envisaged:

  • Advising on any objections received to the application 
  • Attendance at a licensing hearing

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages above are not required, the fee may be reduced. You may wish to handle the application yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs.

 

How long will my matter take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the nature of the application being made and whether or not any objections are received. A simple application for a variation to a DPS would usually take around 2 to 3 weeks to complete, although the licensing authority itself may take longer to actually issue the varied premises licence itself. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

 

Applications to make an application for a new premises licence 

Pricing

Our pricing for making an application for a new premises licence is as follows:

  • Simple complexity application: £450 to £1,000 (excluding VAT) 
  • Medium complexity application case: £1,000 to £3,000 (excluding VAT) 
  • High complexity application case: £3,000 to £5,000 (excluding VAT)

 

Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • Objections are received form either the public, the police or the licensing authority itself 
  • Attendance is required at a licensing hearing 
  • The size and capacity of the premises 
  • Whether the premises is situated in a residential area 
  • The nature of the proposed licensable activities and whether these are likely to be controversial 
  • The premises in question is a golf club

 

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Application fees are payable to the relevant licensing authority immediately upon making an application for a new premises licence or when making an application for a premises licence. These fees are based upon the rateable value of the premises and range from £100 to £1,905 depending upon the fee band of the venue concerned.

Fees will be payable for advertising at the premises and in local newspapers and are likely to be between £200 and £500.

 

Key stages

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of an application:

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and obtaining required information 
  • Advising on how to promote licensing objections 
  • Advising on types of plans needed 
  • Preparing and submitting the application form 
  • Disclosing the application to the responsible authorities 
  • Making necessary arrangements for advertising the application 

The fees set out above also include the following however in these circumstances it may take fees into a higher fee band than originally envisaged:

  • Advising on any objections received to the application 
  • Attendance at a licensing hearing

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages above are not required, the fee may be reduced. You may wish to handle the application yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs.

 

How long will my matter take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the nature of the application being made and whether or not any objections are received. An application for a premises licence would usually take around 4 to 8 weeks from instruction to submission. The length of time it is likely to take for a decision to be made will vary depending upon whether there are objections and/or hearings, however, if there are no objections your licence should be granted 4 weeks after submission of the application. The licensing authority itself may take longer to actually issue the premises licence once this has been granted. These timescales are just an estimate however we will be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.