How much does a solicitor cost?

How much you’ll pay for your solicitor depends on a number of different things. Fees vary across the type of legal service being provided, with the main ones being:

  • Conveyancing
  • Divorce
  • Wills and trusts
  • Lasting power of attorney
  • Business law
  • Personal injury claims / litigation

However, fees may also depend on the time it takes to do the work, the experience of the solicitor involved, and where in the UK you are. Conveyancing fees can also vary based on the value of the properties involved.

Here is a breakdown of the average fees you can expect to pay for different types of legal services from a solicitor.

Conveyancing fees

You need a conveyancing solicitor whenever you buy or sell a property. If you’re both buying and selling, you’ll be charged a separate fee for each. When buying a property, you’ll also be charged for local searches.

Conveyancing fees may be fixed, or may depend on the value of the property, so ask your solicitor how they calculate their fee. You might get better value from a fixed fee if your property is expensive, whereas tiered fees could work out cheaper for a low-cost property.

This shows typical conveyancing costs (including VAT) in the UK, based on a property worth £350,000.

 

Buying

Selling

Conveyancing fee

£1,100

£660

Local searches

£300

n/a

Total

£1,400

£660

Grand total (if buying and selling)

£2,060

Divorce costs

The cost of the divorce process itself will depend on whether you are the person seeking the divorce (the ‘petitioner’) or the other spouse (the ‘respondent’). Both of your will also pay less in legal fees if the divorce is uncontested – that is, you both agree to the divorce.

If you are the petitioner, remember that you’ll have to pay the divorce centre’s fee as well as your solicitor’s costs.

Here’s what you can expect to pay on average for an uncontested divorce.

 

Petitioner
(the one seeking the divorce)

Respondent
(the other spouse)

Solicitor’s fee

£450 to £950

£240 to £600

Divorce centre fee

£550

n/a

Total

£1,000 to £1,500

£240 to £600

Be aware that solicitor fees can rise considerably if a divorce is contested in court, as solicitors will then start to charge by the hour. See hourly rates below.

The financial settlement

Negotiating a financial settlement can add additional costs, depending on how much agreement there is and whether or not the case proceeds to court. This is roughly what you can expect to pay.

 

Typical solicitor’s fee

Simple settlement with early agreement between parties

£500 to £800

Case that requires mediation or additional negotiation

£1,500 to £2,800

Case that proceeds to court

£4,000 to £10,000+

Wills and trusts

Writing a will is relatively inexpensive, compared to the potential cost to your family if you don’t have one. Here’s what you can expect to pay.

Simple will

£150 to £200

More complex will (e.g. if you’re divorced or have children from different partners)

£150 to £300

Specialist will (e.g. including tax planning, overseas assets, trusts)

At least £500

A trust can be used for a number of purposes, but usually for leaving an inheritance. A solicitor’s fee for setting one up will usually range from about £500 for the simplest kind to around £800.

Lasting power of attorney

If you should become unable to manage your own financial affairs, lasting power of attorney (LPA) lets someone else (e.g. your spouse) do it for you. You need to set this up with the help of a solicitor while you are still capable of making decisions for yourself, so it’s a good idea to do so at any age.

A solicitor may charge anything from £400 to £1,000 to set up LPA, depending on the complexity of the arrangements.

Business law

If you run a business then you may frequently need the services of a solicitor who specialises in business law. Here are some typical services you might need and the average cost you can expect.

Service

Typical cost

Drawing up an employment contract

£350 - £520

Arranging a commercial lease

£600 - £900

Creating terms & conditions for consumers

£550 - £750

Arranging a shareholders’ agreement

£750 - £1,250

Application for a Tier 2 Visa
(needed if bringing in a skilled employee from overseas)

£2,700 - £3,800

Personal injury claims and general litigation

If you are seeking compensation for an injury where you believe another party was at fault, a solicitor can help you reach a settlement. Most personal injury claims are ‘no-win, no fee’, meaning you don’t have to pay anything if the case isn’t won.

If your case is successful, then usually you will pay a ‘success fee’ which is 25 per cent of any compensation.

Be aware that if the case is won but the defendant still does not pay compensation for any reason (e.g. insolvency) then some solicitors will still charge you for the work.

Hourly rates for a solicitor

If it’s not known how long a case will take (e.g. a complex divorce or some other kinds of litigation) you may be charged by the hour.

Solicitors’ hourly rates depend on both their level of experience and on the firm’s location. Location-wise, there are six different grades of solicitor fees: three at a national level and three covering London. Broadly speaking, areas with higher property prices mean more expensive solicitors, and vice versa. So you tend to find the most expensive solicitors in the City of London, and the cheapest in the smaller towns in the North of England and South Wales.

Here’s a rough guide to hourly rates by location and experience.

Solicitor experience level

UK average per hour

London average per hour

Junior

£111

£130

4+ years

£180

£235

8+ years

£210

£300

If a solicitor has to travel, he or she may also charge a travelling fee.

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