The services we offer are based on privately funded agreed fee payments that include specific stages and expenses expected to be incurred in your case. Unlike traditional hourly rate billing, this affords our clients with a degree of certainty in an otherwise very uncertain situation.
We will agree a fee with you at the outset of your case dependent on the numerous factors relevant to the likely cost of our involvement. Eg, the need for forensic expert evidence, barrister input and whether your case is likely to be heard in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court.
You should be aware that in certain circumstances, you might be eligible for legal aid to either cover or contribute to part of the costs of your case. Broadly, it may be available in cases where the defendant is likely to lose their liberty, livelihood or reputation, where the witness evidence meets certain specific criteria, where the defendant will not be able to understand the proceedings or where there is a substantial question of law involved.
Whilst we recognise the commercial considerations you may wish to factor in to the way you proceed from here, please note that we cannot apply for legal aid on your behalf.
Legal Expenses Insurance
JS Miller Solicitors work on a privately paid basis. However, we recognise the cost of representation can be significant and that you may be able to draw upon a contribution available through an existing insurance policy in place.
There is a possibility that you could be entitled to the benefit of Legal Expenses Insurance (“LEI”) which you could use to fund or subsidise the fees in your case. Any such policy must have been in existence at the time of the alleged offence. You will not be able to benefit from a policy that postdates the incident.
Most common forms of LEI insurance
LEI is usually offered by insurers as an additional level of cover on your car insurance or home insurance. This is often described as a “bolt on” which can be tagged onto the policy for an additional fee.
We can investigate the existence and suitability of possible insurance cover at the outset of your instructions to us but please note there are often obstacles and exclusions involved making the possible cover unsuitable.
To enable us to explore your eligibility and suitability for legal expenses cover, we ask that you forward any pre-existing insurance policies to us within the next seven days. We will then review any relevant policy documents and, if you are entitled to LEI we will contact the insurers directly and enquire as to extent of the cover. We will need to have details of the following to advise you of the suitability of the insurance cover in place:
- Whether the policy covers you for criminal prosecutions and any exceptions to this (Cases with alcohol and drug allegations are often excluded from a policy);
- The limit of indemnity;
- The extent and any conditions of cover;
- The hourly rates that the insurers will apply to the solicitors’ fees;
- Whether you have the freedom to instruct a solicitor of your own choosing;
- Whether you have complied with any conditions of the policy (there is usually a requirement to have reported the matter to the policy provider within 270 days); and
- Any merits threshold (prospects of success) and/or reporting requirements to the insurers.
It is possible that your policy (assuming it does provide LEI cover) will be silent on the rate that will be indemnified. If so, we would be required to communicate directly with the policy provider to reach an agreement in regards to the level of cover. This is usually assessed on a case-by-case basis. If we are able to agree terms with the insurer we would have to enter into a separate contract directly with the policy provider. This could result in your insurer providing full cover or a subsidy towards your legal fees. In our experience, this would most likely be a partial contribution, however it is possible that it could cover your legal costs in their entirety.