Posted on Tue 28th November 2017 1.30PM Notarial

The Legal Servics Consumer Panel is a government quango which has as its role in life the finding of as many faults with the deliverer of legal services as they possibly can, irrespective of consumer surveys which show  high level of satisfaction with legal services amongst consumers, by which I mean clients.

Their latest crusade is to make lawyers publish their charges on-line. Yo may notice that my web site, in common with many others, does not quote fees. The reason for this is simple: it would be highly misleading and either create false expectations or terrify clients. Because one car dealer quotes £25,000 for the price of a mini, this is little guide to the price of a Ferrari at a garage down the road.

With notary work there are so many variables that it is very difficult to quote meaningful figures. Often, it is not just the work done when the client is present that  is chargeable, but other work both before and after a visit. To take one example, a power of attorney for Spain may need amending before signing and thoseamendments will have to be agreed with the lawyer in Spain. The document's translation may need verifying; the capacity of the people signing may be an issue and the document have to be changed to reflect that. Or, as in one case which came across my desk recently, the client had never intended to grant the powers to her ex husband's lawyer which were in the document!

If I say that such work may cost £300, that is going to mislead the next client with a similar document without the complications. Conversely if I quote a figure perhaps 50% lower, the client with the additional issues may resent being charged more.

All my clients receive a fixed fee quote, but only after I know what is involved and before work starts. That is the sensible way of dealing with such things. You would not expect Tesco to advertise the price of a weekly shop without knowing what is to be in it!


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