The newspapers and social media have been a twitter over the last week or so over the £10million legal costs paid out in the case of the Viking Cruises founder Tirstein Hagen and his estranged wife Ellen-Karine Hagen.
The case involved billions of pounds of assets and complex business structures – the costs undoubtedly will have included not only the fees paid to lawyers (and VAT) but also fees paid to other experts including business valuers, accountants, pension actuaries, property valuers and the like.
The costs reported undoubtedly would put many people off ever litigating, but also sadly bolster the view many have that solicitors are an expensive luxury rather than a necessity.
Solicitors have an unjustified reputation for not being clear about costs and headlines such as we have seen this week do not allay that widely held and unfair view.
In every enquiry I receive I am asked – ‘and how much is that going to cost me?’
The people I speak to are visibly relieved when I am able to give them clear and transparent information about hourly rates, timescales and likely overall costs. That much is no different to any other experienced family solicitor. All solicitors are required to provide transparent costs information at the outset of the case. The costs incurred in the Hagen case, whilst shocking to the average Daily Mail reader, should have been no surprise to the parties.
At Greens we go one step further than most solicitors – as well as providing transparent information at the outset we also provide bespoke fixed fees. We provide an estimate of the likely costs which will be incurred in a case and then fix a fee for each stage of the proceedings or in respect of the discrete tasks which are required.
We are able to quote a fixed fee for your case whether the assets are £100 thousand or £100 million – and that is because our fees are calculated by reference to your particular case and circumstances. Many firms shy away from fixed fees at this high level of litigation because of the uncertainties. Our fee structures enable us to factor in the uncertainties by breaking the fees down into clear stages.
If you are currently considering divorce proceedings and are worried about costs why not give us a call and put your mind at rest with the certainty of a fixed fee.