Our Approach to Fees

At Central Law, we know how intimidating the cost of legal help can be for people on ordinary incomes. We’ve created a charging structure that takes into account your ability to pay, ensuring that you never pay more than you can afford.

For those who can afford to pay a bit more, Central Law is still for you! The quality and service we provide matches and exceeds that of any High Street law firm.

The difference with Central Law is that we’re not in it for the money. We do what we do because we believe in service to the public, and you get the benefit of knowing that any profit we make on your case goes not into someone’s pocket, but goes to work helping the community.

We charge fees so we can be self-sustaining. That we can provide the services our clients need, not the ones our funders tell us to provide. We want to be create an organisation that will be around forever, and not fall victim to funding cuts.

We will not take chargeable work if we believe a client may be entitled to Legal Aid for that work – we will ask clients to first contact a legal aid firm or the Civil Legal Aid helpline to ensure they access available Legal Aid rather than instructing us. 

Advice and support

At Central Law, we believe advice should always be free. Like a trip to the GP, you should be able to go and talk your problem through with a trusted professional, get a diagnosis, and understand what your options are, all without worrying about cost.

Whether you approach us for advice via a Facebook clinic, over the telephone or via e-mail, we will not charge you.

However, we do have to ensure that everyone has access and that our services are not monopolised or taken advantage of. This may mean that after one or two advice sessions on a single issue, we may have to decline to provide further free advice, depending on our capacity. In this situation we will always try to give you as much guidance as we can on what you should do next and other sources of help.

See our “Free Advice” page for more information.

Never a blank cheque

If you do instruct us to do work on your behalf, our flexible approach means you never have to write us a blank cheque. We will give you a reliable estimate for each piece of work and each stage of work you instruct us to complete, and will always do our absolute best to ensure we keep to that estimate.

There is no obligation to instruct us from start-to-finish – if the next stage is too expensive for you, we will give you the best advice and support we can to help you represent yourself.

We will not do extra chargeable work without your informed consent, unless your legal position is at imminent risk.

At all times we keep your ability to pay and your need in mind, to ensure legal fees don’t become an unmanageable burden

Hourly rates

We offer competitive hourly rates that are lower than those offered by High Street firms. We operate on a not-for-profit basis and entirely remotely, and so can offer lower costs than standard law firms, and where possible we will set rates at an affordable level based on individual circumstances.

Unbundled services

We believe that everyone should have access to affordable legal services. That is why we offer unbundled services which are discrete acts of legal assistance under a limited retainer, rather than a traditional full retainer where a solicitor typically deals with all matters anticipated from initial instructions until the case is concluded.

Unbundled services are client led which gives you the best of both worlds; a lawyer to support you with your case and control over your wallet.

Our unbundled services include the following:

  • providing advice about a specific step in a case or on a specific issue
  • checking or drafting documents
  • advocacy

“No-win, no fee”

In appropriate civil and employment cases we may be able to offer a contingency fee arrangement (commonly known as acting on a no-win, no-fee basis), where clients are in financial need and a case with a good likelihood of success. This will be in the form of a “Damages-Based Agreement (DBA)” or “Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA)”, whichever is most appropriate for a particular matter.