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How do I pay for legal services?

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Paying for legal services

It is your attorney’s duty to keep you conversant about the costs and expenditures, and to make available to you a clear bill, which validates the work done and the amount charged. It’s possible that you may be qualified to receive publicly sponsored assistance.

Getting free and unlimited assistance

Under certain legal aid schemes, you may be entitled to receive free help.

Your attorney’s bill

All invoices should reflect the dates between which the work was done. There should be enough information and evidence for you to decide whether the bill is practical and genuine or not. Your attorney may also present the invoice with the printout of a computer time record or work summary. If you need more statistics, you may request an invoice comprising detailed items within three months of being paid a summary bill.

Working out your attorney’s charges

The ways in which charges are worked out differ, depending on whether your legal work is contentious or non-contentious. In both cases, your attorney’s bill should contain enough facts and figures for you to see what work has been done and what you are being charged for so that you can decide whether you must get your bill checked.

Bills for contentious work

If the work involved a court case, your attorney can either send you a brief summary of the costs or a bill comprising detailed items. If you get a summary, you may ask for a bill enclosing detailed items within three months. However, you cannot ask for this if your attorney has already started to sue you for the money. If you ask for a bill comprising items in detail, it will swap the original summary and can reflect an amount that can be more or less than what was mentioned in the summary.

Bills for non-contentious work

Non-contentious work is that which does not involve courts, but may include some tribunals. Your attorney may be prepared to give you more details of the work that has been done that is, in case you ask for it.

Getting your bill checked

If your bill is for contentious or non-contentious work, you may get it checked by the court. This is called evaluation. There are rules regarding the time when you can use this procedure and the procedure to follow.

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