Ian Walker

Ian Walker – Founder/ Director/ Solicitor/ Mediator/ Arbitrator

Funding Options

Funding options for your case

Before exploring funding options, it is important to think about what you are wanting to achieve and how it is best to go about achieving that.

When clients instruct us, they are not saying that they want to have the most complicated divorce ever or they want to argue every point in court. Client’s instruct us because they have a difficult situation, and they want to find a solution.

Negotiated solutions usually come with less financial cost than court decided solutions.

Negotiated solutions normally require a degree of compromise. The best solutions are about finding solutions which provide win/wins – where the overall outcome for each is better than the sum of its parts.

But sometimes the other party is not able to negotiate sensibly or there is a matter of principle that can only be decided by a Judge.

At the outset of a case it is therefore very important  is to scope out the piece of work as well as possible so that there is a realistic cost estimate. Often a good cost estimate cannot be given until contact has been made with the other party and their lawyer and it has been established what the issues really are – and what the realistic routes to achieving an outcome are.

Case management/representation options

We offer the following alternatives:

  • We can act for you/represent you in the normal Solicitor/client full-service way. Within this model there is also scope to work on a fixed fee basis – with the fixed fee being agreed once it is clear what needs to be done. Legal Aid is also available through us to assist clients on this basis (subject to the terms and conditions of the legal aid scheme)
  • We could assist you on a pay-as-you-go basis. This means that you would conduct the case yourself but come back to us for advice from time to time.
  • We can also assist clients with their own negotiations as a neutral mediation service
  • In addition we offer and arbitration service in children cases where are arbitrator is able to make a binding decision.

But the starting point is to work out what you want to achieve.

Clients should also think carefully about what access they have to funds – either from their own assets or through family and, if they need to borrow money, then what they can realistically afford to borrow (and over what timescale).

If it is going to be completely unaffordable to argue every point, then it is no point being in the mindset where you are unable to compromise or agree anything. Over the years we have seen cases where litigants have run out of money to fund their lawyers part way through a case. Better to be realistic from the outset and manage your funds accordingly.

Funding options

Own Resources

Most will pay their legal fees from their own resources – whether that is from savings or income. We bill on a monthly basis – which is something that most clients prefer. This way we can both keep an eye on costs.

Family or friends

Sometimes a family member or friend will lend money to assist with legal fees.

If this is how you are going to find your case it is helpful for us to know that this is the case. You will need to consider how deep the pockets of your friend or family member actually are. Will they want to be provided with information about how your case is progressing – so that they can decide to continue to provide funding? What are you willing to tell them.

If the money is loaned – then it is advisable for there to be documentary evidence of the loan. This is sensible both on a practical basis – so that everyone knows where they stand. It is also important from an evidential basis. In divorce finance cases, this is probably evidence that you will want to include in your calculations of what your financial settlement should be.

Commercial loan

Some clients will take out a loan from a bank or building society or by credit cards. We are not licensed to provide financial advice. If you are considering taking on borrowing – it is always sensible to take some financial advice from an independent financial adviser or financial planner – so that you are clear that you can afford what you are committing to.

Specialised lenders

There are a number of organisations which provide litigation loans for family law work.

Essentially the lender will want to establish that you are going to be receiving money as part of a financial settlement which will enable them to be repaid.

Many such lenders will ask the borrower to take their own independent legal advice before committing to the loan agreement. If this is something that you want to consider then we can give you some names of providers. But we are not licensed to provide any financial advice – and it will still be sensible to take some independent financial advice.

Legal aid

We have a contract with the legal aid agency and can assist clients through the legal aid scheme. The rules about eligibility for legal aid are complicated. There are different schemes for different types of work, and with different restrictions. A starting point is our legal aid homepage.

The other party pays your costs

Sometimes, and especially where access to assets/income is very uneven, one of the couple will agree to pay the costs of the other.

If this is an option then we will need to discuss this with you. Obviously, it is better to have a lump sum upfront for costs – rather than the cost being paid in installments. But remember that where savings are used – these are savings which might have otherwise formed part of your financial settlement.

Court order

In some circumstances, the court will order that the other party will pay your legal costs.

The court would prefer not to be bothered by such disputes and would rather the party with the money be reasonable and realistic. They would also want to see that you have explored other options to fund your case but these have proved to be dead ends. The cost of obtaining interim financial provision will also form part of your overall costs (even if you obtain a costs order – that doesn’t mean that you will recover all of the costs that you are committed to yourself).

It is always better to talk

we always strive to be straightforward, open and realistic.

Monthly billing is normally better for both of us.

If funding is a problem or is likely to be a problem then as with everything else in life, it is normally best to discuss problems when they are small problems rather than when they are big problems.

If you think you are going to be in difficulty or are worried about costs – let’s talk about it at the beginning and as often is necessary so that we can be as helpful as possible.

More on this topic

Our Legal Aid Homepage
Our Legal Aid Homepage

Find out more about legal aid here including a link to the eligibility calculators.

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Find out more about how we charge.

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Costs Estimates/Pricing Journey
Costs Estimates/Pricing Journey

In these pages we talk about how we work out cost estimates and fixed fees.

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Meet some of our award-winning team of family law experts.

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