Getting our Clients off to a good start; Initial Meetings

Initial Meetings

Having listened to clients, we have simplified our arrangements for initial meetings.

It is  very important that those with family law problems have information to enable them to make good and informed decisions. Wrong decisions early on can cause more cost and stress later.

Legal Aid

When we meet a new client, we will first undertake an assessment for eligibility for Legal Aid if there is a reasonable possibility that the client will be eligible.

If the you are eligible for Legal Aid (for Legal Advice or for Family Mediation), then after the Legal Aid Form has been signed, and there is correct evidence of means (and in some cases risk of harm), we will then be able to proceed with a meeting under the terms of the Legal Aid Scheme. In most cases this means that our time is FREE to you, as we will be paid by the Legal Aid Agency.

Fixed Fee Meetings

In all other cases there will be a small FIXED FEE charge for an initial meeting for up to 1 hour.

The FEE is £80 per hour + VAT. (£96).

For this Value Fixed Fee you will receive;

A Legal Advice Meeting

A meeting of up to 1 hour with a specialist expert Family Law Solicitor including Legal Advice.

We will give an idea of what the case costs could be.

We will send a short follow up letter which confirms the key points of advice.

Or

A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM)

This is a meeting of up to 1 hour with an expert Family Mediator.

We will discuss with you what mediation is and whether it could assist you to resolve difficulties. We will undertake safety screening.

If after the meeting, or after we have met the other person, mediation is does not proceed, we will supply the Court Form FM1 for an additional £20 + VAT.

Or

An Options Meeting.

If you are not sure whether they wish to instruct us as a mediation service or as a Solicitors Practice, then we can have an options meeting instead. We will discuss the different options;

But we will not give Legal Advice. 

If at any point in the meeting you wish to convert the meeting into a Legal Advice Meeting, or a MIAM then we can do so.

Identity checks and evidence of financial means

You will need to bring with you evidence of your identity and address.

If you wish to apply for Legal Aid, let us know when making the appointment, and we will let you know what you need to bring with you.

Why we have made these changes

We have now been in existence for approaching a year, and properly trading for over 6months. Within that time, we have successfully passed independent Quality Audits and gained the Legal Aid Agency’s Quality Mark and the Mediation Quality Mark.

We have also successfully completed some of our first cases, both as a Legal Practice and as a Mediation Service.

We have talked to clients about what has worked well and what has not.

We have always been clear that we have not been able to give Legal Advice in a half hour meeting both for insurance reasons and because, generally there is not enough time to gather enough information.  By listening to clients, we have made our charges simpler and comparable to other services. Whenever we meet someone there is also certain paperwork that we need to complete, so having a modest fee seems to be a fair way of achieving everything that is needed out of these meetings.

A number of clients have asked for a letter to confirm the key points of advice.

But of course what you get with us is the many years of experience that Ian has both as a Solicitor and a Mediator.

We aim to meet all new clients within 48 hours of their enquiry.

In addition we are easily accessible with free parking at our Honiton office.

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