Disputes and Claims Covid-19 arrangements – Remote Consultations

We are all facing challenging times at the moment as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. However, life does not just grind to a halt.

During this period of uncertainty, we want to ensure that legal assistance is still available to new and existing clients and we have taken steps to ensure that our services are still accessible. In accordance with government guidelines, we are now limiting face to face contact with clients to ensure that we are not exposing anyone to unnecessary risk.

At present, we are offering a remote consultation scheme for anyone with a new civil litigation enquiry (including disputes and claims). This involves a fifteen-minute telephone consultation to give you the opportunity to discuss the nature of your dispute with one of our solicitors, free of charge. Following the telephone consultation, if appropriate, we will ask you to supply any relevant documents by way of email in order for the solicitor dealing with the matter to provide you with a fee estimate for carrying out any necessary work.

If you choose to instruct the firm, for most purposes we will be able to proceed by way of email correspondence and telephone call, limiting the need for you to attend our office.
For all existing clients, we will ensure that we are available for telephone appointments and will continue to correspond by way of email and post.

If you have a dispute and require advice, please contact us on 01227 813400 to discuss your query.

Meet The Team

Richard Giles

Position: Partner
Work Area: Litigation
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Frequently Asked Questions

How do we get started?

The first stage will be for us to take your instructions. We would normally propose a meeting at which we can obtain your instructions and advise you on your case and on how to proceed. We would then write to you setting out our understanding of your instructions and our advice so that we are all clear on our understanding of the events in your case. If we advise you to pursue the case, we could then prepare a letter to send to the other side and enter into correspondence with them to try to resolve the claim. Once we know what their take on the case is, we are normally in a better position to advise further on how to proceed. If necessary we can pursue formal litigation and seek the court’s intervention in order to get Judgment for your claim.

How Long Does it Take?

The average timescale for a transaction is around 4-8 weeks. This can be shorter or longer depending on several factors such as whether there is a chain i.e. is the property you are buying empty or do the owners need to find somewhere to live, whether you or your buyer need a mortgage, whether there are any management companies involved if the property is on a development or leasehold. The time of year also has an impact on timescales with school holidays and Christmas being the busiest periods which can also add to delays. Your solicitor will keep you advised of progress as it is made and discuss any requirements you may have for completion dates when appropriate.

Can I get my costs back if we win?

The normal position with litigation is that if you succeed at trial you should receive an Order that the other party pays your costs. You would normally receive between 60-80% of your costs. There are types of offer that you can make before trial which if are not accepted by the other party, can increase your level of costs recovery to 80-90% if you then win at trial. The Court has a discretion as to whether to award costs to the successful party. If a party’s conduct is poor during the case, it could decide to award no costs to the successful party or even to award costs to the unsuccessful party. In practice this is very rare. The court will take into account the parties efforts to negotiate or mediate a settlement throughout the case, as well as offers made before trial when determining a suitable costs award.

Will I have to go to court?

You may well not have to go to court. The emphasis these days is very much on trying to resolve issues without having to issue proceedings. Even when proceedings are issued, most cases settle without going to a final hearing. However, there are always situations where it is simply not possible to reach agreement or where your opponent will simply not engage in discussions without the pressure of court proceedings. The experienced litigation team at Gardner Croft LLP will promote your interests rigorously throughout the process whether during the initial correspondence, any subsequent negotiations or mediation or in court proceedings.

How much will it cost?

The amount that your case will cost will depend on how the case is funded. There are various ways to fund litigation. You may 1. pay privately, 2. enter into a contingency fee agreement (also known as a “no win no fee agreement”) or 3. your insurers may cover your claim. With all of these funding arrangements you are incurring costs, but the way that those costs are paid differs. There are other options such as legal aid which we do not presently offer and which has been significantly reduced in terms of its availability. If you pay privately we will provide you with an estimate of the likely costs of the case and ask you to pay money on account of our fees throughout the case. You may be able to recover some or all of those costs as dealt with in the question below. You could enter into a contingency fee agreement (also known as a no win no fee agreement) with the firm. This type of arrangement involves you making no payment for our fees during the case. If you win the case then we would be paid our fees from the damages, and an agreed success fee. The success fee would be agreed before hand and would represent the risk to our firm of taking on the case on the basis that if we don’t win you don’t have to pay. There are variations of CFA agreements where it is partly private paying and partly no win no fee which we can discuss with you. The level of costs that you will incur depends on the complexity of the case and whether the case proceeds to a trial or whether it settles beforehand. Some disputes settle after an initial letter or telephone call, whereas others proceed to trial. It is preferable to resolve your dispute as soon as possible and at as little cost to you as possible. We would charge an hourly rate and would provide you with an estimate for the amount of time which we consider will be spent on your case. Each case differs and we would need to consider your specific case before providing you with an estimate of costs.

Have a question or need advice?

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