Our list of leasehold lawyers, whilst long, is not comprehensive; there are many good law firms in England and Wales who can advise you on Service Charge related issues which are not included in our Directory. The legal practices we have listed are the ones we are aware of as providing advice about Service Charge, and that we have a full set of contact details for.
1. That we have not carried out any investigations to ensure the quality of the services of any of the legal practices listed in our Directory. We suggest that leaseholders read the advice we give below and make their own enquiries before instructing a lawyer.
2. We do not charge legal practices to list on our Directory. We do charge for an ‘enhanced’ listing. An enhanced listing is one where the website address is given, and the legal practice has provided their own description of their services and the benefit of using them.
Legal Practices who would like to be listed on our Directory
Please get in touch with us through our contact form via this link.
Navigating Our Directory
Our Directory is organised to make it easy for our readers to find a law firm near them. For this reason we have split England and Wales into 8 geographic regions. Scotland and Northern Ireland are not included as a different set of laws apply.
The 8 regions we use are:
Within each of the regions we have listed law firms by historic counties. For London we have listed them by borough. Where we have missed out a county or London borough it is because we couldn’t find anyone to list.
Nine Tips to Choosing the Right Lawyer
There is no guaranteed way to make sure that you pick a solicitor or barrister who will do a good job for you at the right price. Some are definitely better than others. However, by following our ‘Nine Tips to Choosing the Right Lawyer’ you will significantly increase your chances of success:
1. Shop Around: Checking out a few law firms is better than choosing the first legal practice you come across. Some lawyers are very good sales people, and the first impression they create is not necessarily a good indicator of how competent they are.
2. Seek Recommendations: There may be a local group, like a Resident’s Association for your building or one nearby, which can suggest someone. An internet search will normally bring up contact details.
3. Check for Accreditation: Many of the better legal practices have accreditation from organisations such as the Law Society, these are a good indicator of competence.
4. Book a Free Initial Consultation: It is very common for legal practices to offer these. This gives you a chance to meet the lawyer and check out their offices. It should be fairly obvious whether it is a thriving legal practice or something less successful.
5. Ask about their Relevant Experience: Service Charge disputes are a specialist area of law and the law is constantly ‘evolving’. It is a very good idea to ask a lawyer about the service charge cases they have dealt with recently and what outcomes they achieved.
6. Establish how they will Charge you: Law firms do not all charge the same amount or charge in the same way. Some charge by the hour, others a fixed fee. Some charge for everything, others will do certain tasks for free. Always check how they charge and ask for an estimate of the total fee you will need to pay.
7. Ask what Resources they have: Not all lawyers can do everything. Very often lawyers need to (and should) use specialist consultants to assist them. Depending on what your problem is it may be worth asking a legal practice what relevant specialists they can call on.
8. Ask how they will keep you Informed: It is very important that lawyers keep you up to date with how they are progressing with your case. It is a good idea to ask them how, and how frequently, they will do this.
9. Ask how quickly they will start: It is important for you to know when a legal practice will start looking into your case, writing letters, etc., before you instruct them. You should ask them this specifically. It may not be helpful for you if a law firm is too busy to make an immediate start on your case.
Getting the best out of your Lawyer
Your relationship with your lawyer is a two-way process. If you want them to do a good job, and provide the best value for money, there are a number of things you should do especially before you instruct them:
Firstly, collect all the relevant documents to give to your lawyer at the outset: your lease, copies of any service charge bills or notices, and copies of any correspondence. Give them everything and let them decide whether or not it is relevant.
Secondly, make some attempt to communicate with your landlord and put your concerns to them directly before you instruct a lawyer. You will save your lawyer a lot of time (and yourself money) if your landlord has already made a written statement of their position in respect of the issue in question.
Thirdly, decide what it is you are concerned about before you visit your lawyer. A written list of your concerns in bullet point form to give to your lawyer at the outset will be enormously helpful to them.
What to do if you are not satisfied with the service your Lawyer provided or what they charge for it
The first step you should take is to make a complaint in writing through the legal practice’s Complaint’s Procedure. The legal practice should provide information about this and it is normally stated on their website. If you have problems with this you can contact the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority Contact Centre on 0370 606 2555 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are still not satisfied when you receive a response to your complaint, then you can complain to the Legal Ombudsman. For more details about the Legal Ombudsman scheme telephone them on 0300 555 0333 or visit their website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk