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.
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 two or three 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.
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 never do extra chargeable work without your informed consent, and we will never change our estimate unless something truly unexpected occurs – and even then we will discuss this with you first.
At all times we keep your ability to pay and your need in mind, to ensure legal fees don’t become an unmanageable burden
The income assessment
For those seeking reduced fee rates, we will ask you to complete an income assessment.
This will ask questions about your income and your outgoings (such as rent or mortgage payments,, debt repayments and childcare) so we can work out how much you can afford to pay.
Based on this assessment, we will quote an hourly rate that is affordable to you.
Our rates range from £120 per hour to £240 per hour (including VAT) based on the outcome of your income assessment. We charge by the minute (rather than in six minute units like other firms) so you never pay for any time you don’t use.
Much straightforward legal work can be completed by our paralegals and trainees – these are lawyers who have completed their law degree and professional qualifications, but who have not yet completed their period of training to fully qualify as a solicitor. They work under the supervision of fully qualified, SRA-regulated solicitors and provide a high quality service.
For work done by paralegals we will never charge more than our lowest rate of £120 per hour (inclusive of VAT).
For those who have completed an income assessment, whatever hourly rate they are being charged, we will also cap the amount of hours we charge you for each month, to help spread the cost of work and ensure you’re never charged more than your income allows.