We embrace the new rules relating to transparency and are happy to provide the following information for your guidance
Contacting Us & Our Pricing
You can contact us via the webform at the top of this page or at our address which is Bridgewater Legal Limited, 5 Bleasefell Chase, Worsley, Manchester, M28 1UZ if you wish to obtain a quotation for legal services. However, for convenience and transparency, we tend to use fixed fees rather than an hourly rate for most services. We would only tend to use an hourly rate model where you have not agreed a fixed fee with us despite us trying to agree that fee with you but work then needs to be done (e.g. it is required by the court and/or pursuant to our code of conduct and/or duty to you) and our agreement with you permits us to undertake the work at an hourly rate.
Our focus via this website is on the provision of services relating to road traffic offences. In terms of timescales, we will prioritise workload based on deadlines and need. So one of the most common matters on which we are instructed is to attend a hearing (as you might expect for a barrister!). The timing and preparation needed for a hearing will determine both the fee and the time needed to prepare. However, usually, we can accommodate hearings at quite late notice. In terms of written work (drafting and advice) we have a turnaround of about 1 week but this may change depending on the kind of case. In some cases, we may be dependent upon you to provide information or other pre-requisites in order to complete the work. In other cases, timescales may be determined by the steps that need to be taken in a case. For instance, if the case is going to trial, a court may give directions which will then set the timescales to which we would need to comply. In such cases, we can only help you to comply with those time limits if we have all of the information and documentation that we have requested from you. The milestones and overall timescales of a motoring offence case will therefore be determined by when the hearing(s) are listed by the court.
It is impossible in motoring cases to say how long 'the average' case will last. However, many of our cases are dealt with in just one hearing meaning that once you have your hearing date, that could well mark the final date of your case. In other cases, the initial hearing will be the start of your journey towards a final trial, in which case you may need to plan for a 6 to 9 month wait until the final hearing.
Nearly all road traffic offence cases start in the Magistrates' Court and if you are unhappy with the result in that court you may appeal to the Crown Court. You have 21 days from the Magistrates' decision in which to lodge your appeal to the Crown Court and then it may take 2-3 months before your hearing at the Crown Court.
We provide services directly to the public, including companies and other entities and unincorporated associations. Guidance on public access for members of the public can be found here but you can also contact us for further information in this regard.
Pricing model/indications of price
We are currently not VAT registered and so no VAT is to be added to our fees. Our fees are, as stated above, largely fixed and whilst not on an hourly rate, will obviously reflect the amount of work involved. The following indicative fees apply:
* Totting Up/12 Points Hearing: £597
* General Mitigation in Drink Driving Case: £650
* Appeal to Crown Court in relation to sentence: £970
* No Insurance Hearing: £570
* Special Reasons Argument in Drink Driving Case: £750
* Motoring Trial, Not Guilty Plea (Listed 1/2 Day): £970
* Motoring Trial, Not Guilty Plea (Full Day): £1500
* Advice on the merits of claim: between £370 and £1000, depending on the amount of time involved
However, these are liable to vary depending on the individual circumstances. They are indicative only and obviously do not include any fine, prosecution and/or court costs imposed by the court as part of any sentence - those would always be bourne by the Defendant. Additional costs not detailed above might include (but not be limited to) those such as an unforeseen adjournment and/or your decision to appeal to the Crown Court.
If you defend a charge against you by pleading not guilty and you are subsequently successful, you may be able to recover some of your legal costs from 'central funds'. However, you would be very unlikely to recover the whole amount from central funds because there are rules which limit how much you can recover even when you are successful. In most cases, our fees payable by you (as with many other law firms in this particular sector) would be recovered only in part from central funds. You will not be able to recover any costs where you have pleaded guilty but you have succeeded in a totting up and/or special reasons argument or an appeal in respect of the same.
If you ever have any concerns about the service you are receiving from our entity or any person within it the best way to resolve it early is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you within 48 hours with some assistance and, hopefully, a resolution.
Initially we hope that any concerns raised can be dealt with directly by us through open and direct communication.
Although we hope our clients never have cause to use it, we also have a very simple and thorough complaints procedure in place to ensure that any concerns get dealt with quickly, proportionately and appropriately. The procedure is as follows:
1. If a quick email won’t help you resolve your concerns then it is likely that you have what we call “a substantive complaint”. Any substantive complaint received by the entity should be directed to the Managing Director together with all supporting documentation.
2. A substantive complaint is one which is about a matter which covers negligence, incompetence or a significant shortfall in the level of service our clients are entitled to expect. It may be in writing, by email, by fax or by telephone.
The address for complaints is:
Bridgewater Legal Limited
5 Bleasefell Chase
Or they can be emailed to the managing director at email@example.com.
3. All complaints will be acknowledged, preferably in writing, within 72 hours of receipt.
4. You will also be advised when a full reply will follow, which should usually be within 28 days.
5. In order to investigate complaints, this entity may disclose your personal data to relevant third parties, including witnesses and your instructing solicitors and employees of your instructing solicitors or any unregulated or regulated intermediary. Where you object to any data being disclosed to any particular person or class of person as part of the complaints investigation you are asked to identify that person at the very beginning of this process.
6. In resolving each complaint, the matter will be reviewed to assess the need for:-
* Appropriate redress: as a goodwill measure for the client
* Remedial Action: where the problem is not completely beyond correcting
* Improvement Action: to look at the root cause of the problem and implement changes to prevent the problem from recurring.
7. So as to assist in our ability to investigate any complaint, we ask that complaints be made within 12 months of the incident from which the complaint arises. This is necessary because barristers do not necessarily retain the papers on a case, returning them to the instructing solicitor on completion of the case. Investigating complaints without the relevant files is a difficult (and can be an impossible) process. If a complaint is being made outside of this timescale complainants are asked to explain why there has been such delay. We reserve the right to refuse complaints that are more than 12 months old without any explanation or justification for that delay.
8. The existence of this procedure does not prohibit this entity from summarily setting aside unjustified complaints.
9. If a complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint following investigation, or if their complaint has not been dealt with thin eight weeks, they have a right to refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Such a complaint must be made within 6 months of the end of our complaints process. The Ombudsman will only consider complaints that have already been referred to Chambers and that have received a or outcome from us that is unsatisfactory to you. The office of the Ombudsman can be contacted on 0300 555 0333 or you can write to: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ. Visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk for further information. Clients who have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman are individuals, small businesses and charities.
If you have any questions about this process please feel free to contact your local chambers or to email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to give you impartial advice on accessing this process.