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Waughs Solicitors

serving east grinstead since 1968

Waughs Solicitors Company Law

Costs and legal fees

Understandably, clients wish to know what the likely legal costs and disbursements will be and on the pages in respect of Wills / Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate; as well as issues in respect of Residential Conveyancing, an indication is given on those pages what we normally quote for such work. 

We would only go beyond that quote if there is unexpected or additional work which we have to allow for.  If that is the case, we will advise you in good time beforehand that additional costs may be incurred.

We are registered for VAT and, therefore, any work we carry out would be subject to VAT at the current rate of 20%. See further below. See also the paragraph below regarding disbursements. Some disbursements are subject to VAT, others are not. It is often the case, therefore, that statutory fees such as Land Registry fees, fees for the issue of Court applications, and the fee that is paid for registering Lasting Powers of Attorney are not subject to VAT. Other disbursements such as, for example, expert advice from a doctor, travel expenses and the like, are subject to VAT. If the VAT rate changes, VAT at the current rate of 20% will still be charged up to the date that the change is specified to take place and any work thereafter will be charged at the "new" rate.

There are areas of work where we charge on a “time” basis and, whilst we give a fixed indication where possible for aspects of that work, the present charging rates are as follows:

1. Martin Groat - £250 per hour plus VAT – this is relevant to matters of Dispute Resolution, Family, Partnership and Company Law and Employment Law. Costs incurred in these types of matters are regulated by the Court, whilst these types of cases continue through the Court process, and we are expected, as part of what we do, to give cost estimates including disbursements where necessary, so that the Court can "case manage" the costs that are likely to be incurred. The purpose of this is not only to keep the Court advised as to the level of costs being incurred by the parties, but also is a useful guide for you as to how the costs are increasing, and what it is that we are charging for. This process means that your opponent will also know the likely cost levels. The estimates include not only our profit costs, ie, what we charge for our services but also disbursements. See "disbursements" below.

2. Edward Roos, Clare Lumley and Ian Morgan ordinarily work upon a "quote" basis, but where they are expected to carry out work above and beyond that quote, they would charge at the rate of £250 per hour plus VAT. See our Conveyancing, Probate and Wills and Powers of Attorney pages.

3. In respect of Family Law work, Martin Groat and Pam Dorrington, whilst giving indications of likely fixed costs for routine work (such as drafting a Divorce Petition which will be at £600 plus VAT), charge at rates of £250 per hour plus VAT in respect of Martin Groat and £225 per hour plus VAT in respect of Pam Dorrington. In Family Law and during the conduct of various aspects of Family Law, we are expected to also give indications of costs to the Court as matters progress. In any event, we are expected to keep you advised as to costs and, at various stages of these matters, given an indication of what the future costs will be. You will always have a copy of the documentation forwarded to Court so you can see the progress of the costs within the case we are dealing with on your behalf. See the Family Law page.. See the Family Law page.


Disbursements are charges or fees repaid to third parties as part of handling your matter. Some disbursements are free of VAT, others subject to VAT, usually at the normal rate of 20%. These are sums that, during the course of the matter, we have to pay upon your behalf in order to achieve the outcome you require. You will see comments made on each of our individual pages in relation to the types of work we carry out and how much we believe those disbursements may be – at the start of a matter they can be predicted. For example, in conveyancing matters, we normally seek an initial payment from you of £400 (no VAT) which is to meet the costs of the initial search fees we have to carry out as part of your purchase. In matters that are conducted within the Court system, there are disbursements to be paid in order to issue proceedings or to take further steps as the case progresses. There are also occasions where we will require the assistance of additional experts such as accountants, specific taxation advice, medical reports and the like and we will advise you on your particular transactions what we think those disbursements will be. This cannot always be predicted at the start of a matter – particularly in respect of complex financial matters, as in divorce. Usually the disbursement "price" is fixed; it is not something that we can negotiate and a number of the disbursements are "statutory fees". Ordinarily VAT would not be charged upon statutory fees. When we give an estimate or quote for work we will carry out on your behalf, we included estimated disbursements.

To assist you, we should explain that there is a clear distinction between the fees we charge for giving our advice and handling the matter (subject to VAT as set out above) and the additional moneys that we incur, which are known as disbursements. These are sums that we have to pay in order to obtain further information, additional applications in Court and other such matters. These are sums that do not form part of our fees and therefore, are not reasonably expected to be included in the fees we charge, but are extra costs that we will incur whilst the matter is proceeding.

Taking a simple example, if we agree to charge £1,000 plus VAT for the purchase of a property, that sum would not include the disbursements we pay to, say, the local authority for obtaining local searches, or to a managing agent for details of additional work that is carried out upon a residential block of flats. We draw clear distinctions between the fees we charge for advice, and the service we carry out, as opposed to the additional sums we have to pay, which are known as disbursements, which are incurred to run the matter that we are handling for you.

For more information telephone us on 01342 323545 or email us at enquiries@waughs-solicitors.co.uk