Fixed solicitor costs generally refer to a set fee that a solicitor will charge you for certain actions, the term is also used to mean fixed costs that are recoverable from the debtor.
As a creditor, you should pay particular attention to these costs vis-à-vis the cost that you are being charged by a solicitor as it is not unusual for a solicitor to charge you a fixed fee which is higher than the fee recoverable from the debtor. Whilst this is common practice as often solicitor’s time and costs exceed what is recoverable, it is something to be aware of when trying to achieve collection of all of your costs.
Most notably, fixed fees apply when issuing proceedings and requesting a county court judgment (CCJ) against a debtor. They are also relevant on some enforcement methods.
The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) sets out the sum of costs that are recoverable from the debtor when issuing proceedings. These costs are automatically added on to the claimed balance.
|Value of Claim||Recoverable Costs|
|£25.00 – £500.00||£50.00|
|£500.01 – £1,000.00||£70.00|
|£1,000.01 – £5,000.00||£80.00|
|£5,000.01 – £99,999.99||£100.00|
For example, a solicitor might charge you £200 to issue a claim up to the value of £1,000. However, only £70 of that is recoverable meaning that there is £130 unrecoverable. At Debt-Claims, for all small claims matters, we only charge you the same fixed fee that is recoverable – ensuring that your uncontested legal action remains cost-neutral. This is in addition to the Court Issue Fee which is always added on to the balance claimed.
|Value of Claim||Court Issue Fee||Recoverable Costs||Debt Claims’ Fee||Total Cost to Issue||Total Recoverable Costs|
|£25.00 – £300.00||£35.00||£50.00||£50.00||£85.00||£85.00|
|£300.01 – £500.00||£50.00||£50.00||£50.00||£100.00||£100.00|
|£500.01 – £1,000.00||£70.00||£70.00||£70.00||£140.00||£140.00|
|£1,000.01 – £1,500.00||£80.00||£80.00||£80.00||£160.00||£160.00|
|£1,500.01 – £3,000.00||£115.00||£80.00||£80.00||£195.00||£195.00|
|£3,000.01 – £5,000.00||£205.00||£80.00||£80.00||£285.00||£285.00|
|£5,000.01 – £10,000.00||£455.00||£100.00||£100.00||£555.00||£555.00|
In a similar way to the issuing proceedings, the CPR sets out the fixed solicitor costs that are recoverable from the debtor when requesting judgment, these are automatically included in the CCJ balance.
It is not uncommon for solicitors to charge more than the recoverable costs for requesting judgment, despite it being a straightforward process that should take no more than a few minutes. At Debt-Claims, irrespective of the value claimed we only charge you the same fixed costs that are recoverable from the debtor when requesting judgment.
|Value of Claim||Type of Judgment||Recoverable Costs||Debt-Claims’ Cost|
|£25.00 – £5,000.00||In default of an acknowledgement of service||£22.00||£22.00|
|£25.00 – £5,000.00||In default of a defence||£25.00||£25.00|
|£25.00 – £5,000.00||By admission (proposals accepted)||£40.00||£40.00|
|£25.00 – £5,000.00||By admission (proposals not accepted)||£55.00||£55.00|
|£5,000.01 – £99,999.99||In default of an acknowledgement of service||£30.00||£30.00|
|£5,000.01 – £99,999.99||In default of a defence||£35.00||£35.00|
|£5,000.01 – £99,999.99||By admission (proposals accepted)||£55.00||£55.00|
|£5,000.01 – £99,999.99||By admission (proposals not accepted)||£70.00||£70.00|
Whilst there are various methods of enforcement, this article will focus on enforcement via the Court Bailiff and High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) as the statutory provisions allow for your costs to be recovered from the debtor. Other enforcement methods – whilst some offer a small recoverable sum – do not have the same provisions to recover costs of enforcement in full.
With the Court Bailiff, there is an initial court fee of £83 which is added to the balance recoverable. For solicitors’ costs, only the sum of £2.25 is recoverable from the debtor. As you would imagine, most solicitors will charge a lot more than this meaning that there is going to be an unrecoverable element. At Debt-Claims, we are keen to maintain a cost-neutral recovery and we only charge the same fee of £2.25 that is recoverable, meaning that all your bailiff costs are recoverable.
With enforcement via the HCEO, the initial court fee is £71. Your solicitor is entitled to also recover £51.75 from the debtor for its costs in instructing the HCEO and making any relevant application. As you would expect from Debt-Claims Solicitors, we only charge you these recoverable costs without adding any extra (unrecoverable) amount. This means that once you have been paid in full, you will have recovered your HCEO costs too.