BATHGATE OFFICE: 01506 656 820
1 Bloomfield Place, Bathgate, West Lothian, EH48 1PB
Office open Monday - Friday: 09:00 - 17:00
Here at Bathgate Family Practice we are able to offer legal assistance on a Legal Aid basis for a wide range of matters.
PLEASE NOTE: If you and your spouse/partner have any money of property to divide, we are no longer able to accept your instructions on a Legal Aid basis. There are two reasons for this:
Firstly, the rate of remuneration offered by the Scottish government to solicitors who carry out Legal Aid work is insufficient to cover our overheads in cases where there is money or property to be divided.
Secondly, recent changes to the Legal Aid ‘clawback’ provisions make it increasingly unlikely that your final account will actually be paid by the Scottish Legal Aid Board.
The clawback provisions require some further explanation. One of the fundamental principles of the Legal Aid system is that if you are able to recover money or property as a result of the legal help which you receive, you are required to pay your legal expenses from the money or property which you recover.
Until April 2011 the first £5,338 of any negotiated settlement or court award was exempt from clawback. That exemption has now been removed so that if you were to recover any money or property, you would have to pay your legal expenses from that money or property. In other words, your legal expenses would only be paid by the Legal Aid Board in the unlikely event that you were to recover or preserve no money or property whatsoever.
As a private client, your legal expenses will be determined by the amount of time we have to spend on the case. To make things a little easier, we will allow you to pay your legal expenses in instalments. Before we carry out any work on your behalf, you will normally be asked to make an initial payment to account. You will then have to set up a standing order to pay us some money each month. The amounts to be paid will depend on your circumstances and the complexity of the case. Once a Separation Agreement has been signed, or the court action is concluded, or you stop instructing us, you will be sent a final account. Any balance due to us will then become immediately payable.
We can also offer fixed fees for undefended divorces and uncontested Separation Agreements. These fees can be discussed at your initial meeting.
Our minimum fee for meeting with you, taking your instructions, writing to your spouse/partner, and advising you of any response we receive is £100 plus VAT.
PLEASE NOTE: There are still a few solicitors who are prepared to carry out this kind of work on a Legal Aid basis. If you instruct a solicitor on a Legal Aid basis and go on to recover money or property, you will have to pay all of your legal expenses from that money or property, but these expenses may be less than the expenses you will incur by instructing us on a private basis. We will do our best to justify your decision to instruct us by providing you with a first class, efficient and friendly service.
If you would like more information on Legal Aid, call us today on: