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Costs of making a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

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How much will it cost?

The costs associated with each claim under the Act vary depending on the circumstances of each case. However, it is important to appreciate that bringing a claim can be expensive, both financially and emotionally.

As we will consider later in this series, lots of claims made under the Act never make it to the Courtroom. Often the people involved in the claim will come to an agreement between themselves, with the assistance of their solicitor, which means that the costs associated with attending a Court hearing can be avoided. However, if a contested Court hearing is necessary, the costs for each party to the claim can be tens of thousands of pounds. It can also cost several thousands of pounds to get to a stage where the people involved in the claim are able to reach an agreement between themselves. These sums are often made up of a combination of professional fees, including those of solicitors, the Court, barristers, mediators and expert witnesses.

If the claim cannot be settled ahead of a contested Court hearing taking place, the Court will decide who bears the costs associated with the hearing and the claim generally. The usual rule is that the losing party pays the winning party's costs but the Court has the discretion to depart from this rule. The Court has discretion to decide who pays the costs of the claim, how much they will be required to pay and when they need to pay. When making this decision the Court will consider all of the circumstances of the claim including:

How can I fund a claim?

There are several ways to fund a claim under the Act. In the long run it is often more cost effective to pay the fees associated with a claim yourself directly to your solicitor as the claim progresses. However, given that costs can run into tens of thousands of pounds, it is not always possible to do this.

There are several alternative arrangements that can be put in place to fund these claims including:

Some solicitors and barristers are able to enter into a CFA (commonly known as 'no win no fee' arrangements) with you. These agreements often stipulate that you will not have to pay your solicitor and/or barrister until the claim is resolved, at which point, if you have been unsuccessful, you will not have to pay your solicitor and/or barrister's fees. It is important to be aware that you still may have to pay the winning party's fees, even if you have a CFA arrangement with your solicitor. If you are successful and the Court makes the usual order referred to above, your solicitor and/or barrister's fees (or a proportion of them) would be paid by the losing party. The only fees that you would pay in those circumstances would be a 'success fee' to your solicitor and/or barrister, which will be a percentage of their overall fees, for assisting you with the claim and something which cannot be recovered from the losing party together with any proportion of your fees that you were unable to recover from the losing party.

Alternatively, or in combination with a CFA, you can also obtain an insurance policy which can be used in the event that you are unsuccessful at a contested Court hearing and are required to pay the winning party's costs. There are also providers who can loan you the funds required to finance a claim.

This document sets out the general principles relating to costs and funding. If you are considering bringing a claim under the Act, it is important to seek advice from a specialist. Clarion's Contentious Private Client Team are experts in dealing with claims under the Act and are happy to have an initial chat about the points detailed above. Please feel free to contact us on 0113 336 3427 and one of the team will be able to assist.

If you haven’t yet read the previous blogs in this series considering who can bring a claim under the Act and when any such claim needs to be brought and how long they can take, make sure you take a look at them. Our next blog in the series will cover the different types of dispute resolution open to those involved in a claim under the Act. It will be published in the next week or so, so make sure you don’t miss it!

Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.