Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

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Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

Lorraine Moss
From The Metro

Cutthroat lawyers are milking vulnerable divorcing couples for tens of thousands of pounds, watchdogs are warning.

One firm charged a desperate wife £4,000 for photocopying and tried to bury the figure in a swathe of confusing paperwork.

When her bill came in at £15,000 over budget, the lawyers demanded she take out a loan to cover the costs.

In another acrimonious divorce, where neither partner would compromise, the wife was stung with £70,000 fees – more than double the initial amount agreed.

Dean Dunham, solicitor advocate and founder of YouandYourRights.com, said ‘It really is quite ruthless and wrong, especially because during a divorce people are vulnerable, and it should stop. It’s the sort of thing you expect to see on Cowboy Builders.’

The cases were highlighted by the Legal Ombudsman in its report, The Price of Separation. Chief legal ombudsman Adam Sampson said: ‘There will be big corporate cases where £4,000 of photocopying is entirely reasonable but, equally, there are cases when that figure does not represent what was done.

‘Divorce is often a lonely time, where someone is facing very real uncertainties and taking important decisions, yet in a state of deep emotion.

‘I think this report challenges lawyers to raise their game and make the divorce process less painful for consumers.’

The ombudsman says the average cost of a divorce is £1,300 a person but Mr Sampson warned: ‘Brutally put, cases which result in lengthy court hearings are often more profitable than cases which settle early.’

Legal fight photocopy bill was put at £4,000

When Miss A called in a team of lawyers to gain a financial settlement and access to her child, little did she know that she would be billed £4,000 just for photocopies.

Having borrowed money from friends for the agreed costs of the ‘reputable’ firm, the proceedings dragged on and Miss A asked the team to stop working for her as she could not afford it.

However, the firm continued acting on her behalf, eventually invoicing her for £15,000.

After a series of aggressive letters from the lawyers, Miss A was so distressed she took her case to the ombudsman, who discovered the extortionate photocopying charge and told the firm to waive the £15,000 bill.

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

Lorraine Moss
I think it is disgusting the way that people get ripped off like this.  This type of thing happens all of the time but we never usually hear anything about it.

It is about time that solicitors are held to account for the amount of money that they charge people.  I am glad to see that the Legal Ombudsman has waived this ridiculous bill.

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

Ho-Hum
In reply to this post by Lorraine Moss
Don't get divorced...better still, don't get married.  That was my attempt at humour.  I'm actually for marriage and family values.  (I would say that being a bachelor).

Look, everybody knows lawyers are the biggest crooks going.
Refugees do not have the right to demand but should accept the blessings bestowed upon them gracefully by nations extending the hand of friendship.
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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

GAZZER
In reply to this post by Lorraine Moss
Good grief that is absolutely disgusting......Frigg me I could have Matron bumped orft for 500 quid-who needs lawyers things must be done amicable otherwise a set fee should be introduced.
If you try to cure evil with evil-you will add more pain to your fate.
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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

Lorraine Moss
In reply to this post by Ho-Hum
Hi Ho Hum, I don't bother with solicitors anymore.  Go straight to a Direct Access Barrister and get excellent service, do the Donkey work yourself and save thousands.

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

Lorraine Moss
In reply to this post by GAZZER
There are sites on line where you can get all the papers done for a divorce at a fraction of the charges of solicitors.  The problem is that the two parties need to communicate with each other.  It seems that once solicitors get involved they make the situation much worse.
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

Percy.
In reply to this post by GAZZER
Yes and dont forget Legal aid for Divorce is to cease this year.The only winners in any legal battle is the lawyers.I was involved in a case that the legal advice was it would be quick and cost about £1300 but it eventually went to three courts finally ending in the London high court and although we won and the other party had to pay the costs.It still cost me over £10,000 and other costs to people in our claim.The total over £250,000 and after that it went to the Lords but he still lost and that was not our cost.
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”




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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

Lorraine Moss
Sorry to hear that Pericles, it would seem that even success is bitter sweet in the legal world.

We have had many bad experiences with solicitors and lost a lot of money in the process. I nearly lost my home due to one negligent solicitor.  However, we did eventually win a claim for Professional Negligence against him.  But you never recover all of your losses.

Using Direct Access Barristers is the way forward.  See below this is a guest blog I wrote on a chambers web site about the benefits of not using solicitors;

Direct Public Access – Why pay more when you can instruct the best for less?David Malone, 27 November 2012

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A consumer champion recently won her case with the assistance of a barrister she instructed via the Direct Public Access Scheme. We invited her to outline the benefits of Direct Public Access, instructing a barrister directly without the need to instruct a solicitor first. Her blog begs the question to consumers – why pay more when you can instruct the best for less? A clients view…
Unfortunately my partner and I are no strangers to litigation.  In the past seven years we have spent more money than we would ever dare to calculate on solicitors fees and like the old saying goes “If only we had known then what we know now”, we could have saved ourselves a lot of stress and expense.
 
 
Since 2004, the public have been allowed to instruct Barristers direct without having to go through a solicitor.  However, despite this fact we have witnessed very strange reactions in the past both from a Judge and Magistrate.  In fact the first time we ever instructed a Direct Access Barrister the Judge actually asked him in court if he had right of audience.  This was highly embarrassing as the Barrister concerned was actually head of a very well known chambers.  I think that this just proves that many people still are not aware of the Direct Access scheme and it’s benefits.
 
It is my opinion that no one can present your case and your concerns better than you personally.  It simply does not make sense to present all of your matter to a solicitor then have to pay them to read it only for them to pass it on to a Barrister.  Even if you have never been involved in litigation before, there are so many resources on the internet relating to the Direct Access scheme to advise you exactly how to present your case to a Barrister.  In fact all chambers that offer Direct Access have comprehensive information and you always can simply call their clerks if there is any issue that you are not quite sure about.
 
There will of course always be some cases that will need a solicitor but if this is the case then the Barrister’s clerks will advise you accordingly.
 
My partner and I have instructed Barristers via the Direct Access scheme on three separate occasions and each time we have had fantastic results and saved ourselves a substantial amount of money.  I think this is the way forward for members of the public to be able to access justice at a realistic price.  I cannot deny that you will have to spend some timecollating all of your evidence, but I would rather give up a few hours then pay over £200 per hour for a solicitor to do exactly the same thing !
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http://www.barristershub.co.uk/archives/practice-areas/2012/direct-public-access-why-pay-more-when-you-can-instruct-the-best-for-less
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--
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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

Percy.
Yes its a strange business if you needed a new roof you would find a few roofers get a quote see their work before deciding who would do it.Yet with a solicitor you go along to a local or some one who maybe did a will for you some time ago.
You dont know if he or she has any experience in the type of case you are presenting they wont give you access to any past cases or tell you if they won it.They wont give a definate price its all a mystery.We even had a Solicitor tried to double his hourly cost half way through then wanted paying before the case was finished without the award of costs. I suddenly had to find £50,000 .
Solicitors solicit for business that is all they do.If you are reasonably literate and organised you can do without them.
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”




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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

GAZZER
In reply to this post by Lorraine Moss
Hmmm very informative post Mossy-thank you!!
If you try to cure evil with evil-you will add more pain to your fate.
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Re: Woman charged £4,000 for photocopying as legal cost of divorce soars

Lorraine Moss
In reply to this post by Percy.
The same solicitor we sued for negligence we also raised a complaint with the Legal Complaints Service.  They have now been replaced by the Legal Ombudsman.  There were five findings of inadequate professional service found against him and it was in their extremely serious catagory with regards to compensation.  However, these findings are never made public and the same solicitor actually appears on the internet "Good Lawyers Guide".  It makes me feel very uncomfortable that people could instruct this man without knowledge of his previous conduct!
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”
― William Faulkner--