Clear Pricing

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Our pricing sets us apart from many of our competitors and other law firms.

There is no escaping the fact that there are costs to be paid whenever people get involved with the law. But we do everything we can to make those costs manageable so that we can work together to achieve your aim without worrying unduly about the expense.

Why choose us?

We’ve done our research and it’s clear to us that our clients want:

  • More pricing and payment options
  • Greater pricing transparency
  • Greater pricing certainty and budgetary predictability – ‘no surprises’
  • Greater correlation between price on the one hand and the perceived value of the results achieved on the other hand
  • Real efforts to reduce production costs


Rest assured where pricing is concerned we’ll work with you to explore the options available to you that best suit your individual circumstances. We’ve designed our pricing to fit what’s important to you. Whether you’re looking for certainty, a price linked to a result, sharing the pricing risk or options for payment we’ll work hard to get you to where you want to be.

We’ll ensure you are kept fully informed and updated before, during and at the end of our service to you, not just providing a quote and then sending an invoice.  We’ll provide you with absolute pricing transparency.

Pricing options

We offer a range of pricing options where we work with our clients to really understand their requirements, reflecting a collaborative approach with our clients’ needs at the heart of the process. These pricing options provide a range of choices designed to match each particular situation and to offer real value and include:

  • Hourly-rate options
  • Fixed-fees for the entire case and/or stages of your matter
  • No win-no fee funding where appropriate

Once we’ve identified the pricing option best suited to you, we’ll fully document the arrangement ensuring you are certain you know exactly what you’re paying for and what is excluded from the price we quote. We’ll lay this out in a clear, easy to understand format for your records.

Our roles explained

You might not be familiar with what each of the various solicitor roles and titles mean, for example a Director or Associate, so we’ve provided a handy guide explaining our various roles which you can access by clicking on the link below.

Our roles explained

Pricing options explained

We can offer a variety of pricing options to you, depending on your individual circumstances.  We provide a full scope of work detailing what is included in the price you’ll pay and our assumptions based on the information you have provided and what isn’t included in the price.  As your matter progresses we’ll keep you fully updated on costs.

Hourly rates

With this pricing methodology the cost is entirely dependent on the time spent on your matter and therefore we have no way of knowing what the final, total cost will be.  We will give you an estimate of cost based on our experience of dealing with other similar matters.

Choosing an hourly rate pricing method does include assumptions made at the outset, which may change over time and have a knock-on effect on the total cost. The hourly rate may be higher than those quoted below where for example the matter is of a very high value or extremely complicated.

Our hourly rates and further information relating to them can be found by clicking on the link below.
Our hourly rates

Fixed fee # 1

This pricing option gives you a measure of predictability and certainty within the instructions taken at the outset of the matter taking into account the assumptions and exclusions discussed with you.  We share the risk although if there is a cost overrun, but it relates to one of the items covered in the scope and assumptions, then we will absorb this cost and we will not pass it on to you.

This option does not completely remove all of the risk for you.  If there is departure from the scope of work or assumptions made at the outset it is highly likely that our fee will need to be adjusted to cover the additional time incurred.  However, this will be discussed with you as soon as we become aware of the possibility.

Fixed fee # 2

You have complete budgetary predictability and certainty.  There will never be any pricing surprises. Almost all of the cost risk sits with us.

Legal Expenses Funding

You may already have legal expenses funding in place known as Before the Event (BTE) legal expenses cover. We will investigate this and advise you on your funding options. We can liaise with your legal expenses insurers with a view to obtaining their agreement to our acting under the terms of your legal expenses policy.
In addition where appropriate we can assist you in applying for After the Event legal expenses insurance (ATE) and/or loan funding for your legal costs.

No win – no fee funding

This is applicable to serious and catastrophic injury.

Hourly rates

With this pricing methodology the cost is entirely dependent on the time spent on your matter and therefore we have no way of knowing what the final, total cost will be.  We will give you an estimate of cost based on our experience of dealing with matters similar to yours.

Choosing an hourly rate pricing method does include assumptions made at the outset, which may change over time and have a knock-on effect on the total cost. The hourly rate may be higher than those quoted below where for example the matter is of a very high value or extremely complicated.

Our current hourly rates are set depending on who is responsible for your matter, their role in the firm and their level of experience.  All of our hourly rates exclude VAT.
To see our current hourly rates, please click on the link below.
Our hourly rates
Our roles explained

You might not be familiar with what each of the various solicitor roles and titles mean, for example a Director or Associate, so we’ve provided a handy guide explaining our different roles which you can access by clicking on the link below.
Our roles explained

Serious and Catastrophic Injury

We provide a free telephone consultation where we can discuss your case and provide initial advice as to the possibility of making a claim. We will also discuss funding options available – including the possibility of a no win, no fee arrangement.

Family Law

Please contact our Family law team on 01228 516666 and we will be happy to discuss your case and give an accurate estimate of what your costs might be – and we’re happy to receive payment in stages by direct debit to suit your circumstances.

Residential Conveyancing

Buying or selling a property is often one of the biggest moments of your life. Our team of residential conveyancers are highly skilled and competent legal professionals who will carry out the legal work necessary to ensure we help you achieve your objectives.

Our team of residential conveyancers have many years of experience between them.  Team members in each office are supervised by solicitors with the appropriate level of experience and qualification to ensure we provide the highest level of service to you.

Why choose us?

We’ll hold our hands up and say we’re not the cheapest around, but we’re not the most expensive either.  What you’ll get from us is excellent service from people who know their stuff and absolute transparency with cost.  There are no hidden fees or surprises from us; we will provide a full scope of works, complete with detailed prices and a description of what you are actually paying for, along with what is excluded from the cost.

It’s important that you are fully informed of all costs relating to the sale or purchase of your property before, during and at the end of your matter.
We provide full details of our costs based on the value of your property and the work required by us as your conveyancer to ensure we achieve your aim.  We are up front about costs; nothing is hidden from you.

Our fees cover all of the work required to complete the purchase of your new home or the sale of remortgage of your property, including dealing with registration at the Land Registry and payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty) on a purchase if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (Land Tax) if the property you wish to buy is in Wales.

• No hidden costs – we are up front about our fees; nothing is hidden from you
• Consistent, excellent levels of service
• Full details of what you’re actually paying for, and what is excluded
• A Service Level Guarantee (more information below)
• Abort/success fee option
• Clear and effective communication
Service Level Guarantee

Unlike many other law firms, we can offer what we call our Service Level Guarantee. This is available on certain transactions. We agree at the outset our service levels and if we fail to meet those service levels to you at any time during the course of your matter, we will discount your bill by the amount agreed, no quibbles.  All that we ask is that you tell us why we didn’t meet our agreed level of service to you.
Abort/success fee

Some transactions due to circumstances outside of your control, can fail part way through. It is frustrating for clients who then have to pay for time incurred to the point the transaction became abortive even though the sale or purchase doesn’t proceed.

To offer you some protection in case a sale or purchase falls through, we offer an ‘Abort/ Success Fee’ option at the beginning of the transaction. If you decide to take this option, we will reduce the fee we charge based on the time incurred by 50% should the sale or purchase fall through. That would cover our time to date but not disbursements or payments to third parties already incurred by us.

In return if you take this option at the start of the transaction and the transaction was successful and reached exchange of contracts or mortgage funds are released on a re-mortgage, we would add 20% of the total fixed fee to the price as our success fee. For example, if we agreed a fixed fee of £500 (excluding disbursements and VAT) with you and the transaction falls through when costs of £300 were incurred, we would reduce our fee to £150 (plus VAT and disbursements). However, if the transaction reached exchange of contracts and therefore proceeded, we would charge an extra £100 for our services (being 20% of £500) (plus VAT and disbursements).

Stages of the process and our fees

Click on the links below for full information on our fees and the stages of the process for the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold residential property, and for the re-mortgage of residential property.

Purchase or sale of a freehold or leasehold residential property information on costs
Remortgage of residential property information on costs

Worked examples

Click on the link below to see worked examples of costs for typical scenarios.

Sale or purchase of residential property costs examples
Remortgage of residential property costs examples
Further information on our residential conveyancing service and team
Visit our dedicated residential conveyancing team page.  Here you can see the details of our team members, including contact information.

Wills & Powers of Attorney

We offer very competitive prices for our Wills and Power of Attorney services to help you plan for your future; with life-time planning it’s vital that we are able to understand and assess your needs in order to provide you with the legal advice that best fits your circumstances.

Please contact us at any one of our 6 offices to speak to one of our qualified solicitors who will discuss your needs with you and provide you with full details of costs and the options available.  Alternatively, feel free to complete the form available on our pages and we will contact you.


A deceased person’s estate

Probate generally refers to obtaining the ‘Grant of Representation’ required by law when someone dies where they owned property or land or when a bank or financial institution requires a ‘Grant’ to release any funds.

A ‘Grant of Probate’ must be obtained before an Executor (if there is a Will) or a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’ by an Administrator (generally where there is no Will) can start to gather in and distribute the assets associated with the estate of the deceased.

Why choose us?

Having to deal with the death of someone close to you can be a difficult and very personal experience.
We have an extensive team of highly competent solicitors and specialists based across each of our locations equipped to provide solutions and help you achieve your aims and desired outcomes.   We will work with you to apply for the correct Grant and can help with the formalities of the administration of the estate following receipt of the Grant on your behalf.

We can tailor our quote to your requirements.  If you undertake some of the tasks our involvement can be reduced whilst still having access to our expertise.
Every member of the team aims to provide:

• Consistent, excellent levels of service
• Agile pricing options offering value and flexibility with absolute transparency
• Accurate and useful advice on time, every time.
• Clear and effective communication

Click to find out more about our Wills and Probate team.  We always ensure the appropriate level of supervision and have solicitors in supervisory roles in each of our locations who have the appropriate level of skills and experience to ensure a quality service to you.

You’ll see that one of our aims is to offer you ‘agile pricing options, offering value and flexibility with absolute transparency’; we are able to provide you with real choice with various pricing options available to you depending on your circumstances.

The pricing options explained

We invite clients to select a pricing option based on whichever best meets your needs.  You can find out detailed information about our choices of pricing options in the section above called ‘Pricing options explained.’


These are expenses related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees.  Usually these are paid on your behalf to ensure the process runs smoothly.  Typical disbursements are:

• Probate Court fee of £273
• Additional (Office copies) of the Grant of Probate £1.50 each usually one per asset
• Commissioners Fees £5 plus £2 for each additional documents e.g. Will or Codicil (per Executor)

In some estates these disbursements may also be appropriate:

• Advertisement in The London Gazette £70.00 +VAT (to protect against unexpected claims on the estate).  We use an agent which is a little more but cuts down on our costs as there’s only one form to complete.
• Advertisement in the local paper £20 – £100 (typical cost but dependent on the publisher’s prices e.g. Cumberland and Westmorland Herald £102.05 +VAT)
• Unclaimed Assets search – £25 including VAT

There may be additional costs and disbursements if your matter is particularly complicated or involves dealing with foreign assets.  If this is the case we will advise of these costs at the outset or as soon as we are aware of them.


Please be aware that Inheritance Tax, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax may be payable from estate funds.


This will depend on how quickly the necessary information becomes available.  As an example, in scenario 1, a realistic estimate to obtain the Grant of Probate might be 6-8 weeks from the initial meeting.  The second stage of the process can take longer, especially if Executors wish to protect themselves against claims on the estate.  If Executors do not think potential claims are likely the estate could be wound up within 8-12 weeks from receiving the Grant of Probate.

Typical scenarios and pricing choices

The link below provides some examples of common scenarios and pricing choices available for Probate work in relation to uncontested cases where all the assets are based in the UK.
Probate common scenarios and pricing choices
Services included in obtaining a Grant of Representation

• Initial interview to advise on the deceased’s Will/intestacy provisions
• Discuss role of Executors/Administrators
• Discuss method of collating information regarding assets and liabilities of the deceased
• Consideration of the availability of the Transferable Nil rate band Residence Nil rate Band and Transferable Nil rate band and the documentation need to claim if appropriate • • Calculate whether Inheritance Tax is payable
• Identify whether there any reliefs/allowances available to reduce Inheritance Tax and the information the Revenue will require to consider the claim for the relief/allowance
• Prepare Inheritance Tax forms
• Prepare probate application for Executors/Administrators and meet with you to go through these
• Submit application for a Grant of Representation to the Court

Services included in dealing with formalities after receiving the Grant of Representation

• Collect in the assets due to the estate
• Pay liabilities and administration expenses of the estate
• Ascertain the deceased’s Income Tax position
• Deal with any correspondence from the Revenue regarding information reported in the Inheritance Tax form.
• Planning payment of any Inheritance Tax due
• Correspond with beneficiaries regarding distributions from the estate and pay legacies and interim distributions as instructed
• Prepare estate accounts
• Bankruptcy checks
• Pay final balance to beneficiaries

Services NOT included in obtaining a Grant of Representation and work carried out subsequently

• Property sales
• Tracing beneficiaries
• Work in connection with related trusts
• Deeds of Variation
• Business or farming advice
• Advice in relation to assets/liabilities out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales
• Trusts set up under the deceased’s Will
• Financial advice regarding the disposal of assets in the future
• Issues relating to long term care or care packages of the deceased
• Challenges to the validity of a Will
• Claims against the estate
• Issues relating to the domiciled status of the deceased
• Anything else not specifically agreed

Business debt recovery of unpaid invoices

Cash-flow is important to all businesses.  A large proportion of that cash-flow comes from getting paid properly and in a timely fashion from individual consumers/customers or businesses who have received a service from you.

Cartmell Shepherd offers a transparent solution for recovery of debts from unpaid invoices.  Our debt recovery specialist, Carly Davies, works within our specialist Dispute Resolution team and is your main point of contact. Carly has over 15 years’ experience in this area of law and handles all of our debt recovery cases, including business-to-business debts and debts owed by individuals. She offers a full litigation service including advising on enforcement procedures, insolvency and bankruptcy.  Carly is supervised on a daily basis by Mark Aspin, the head of our Dispute Resolution department.

Recovering debts from unpaid invoices can follow a straightforward process.  Please note that this process only applies to the recovery of unpaid invoices where no dispute has previously been raised.  If a claim is defended on substantive grounds, or you have some other contractual basis for a claim, please contact us and we will provide you with an estimate of what work may be required and what the likely estimated costs will be.

Please click on the link below for an explanation of each stage of the process and our fixed-fee costs.
Business debt recovery of unpaid invoices stages of the process and our costs

We’ve also prepared a flow-chart of the whole process that you can access by clicking here.
Business debt recovery of unpaid invoices process flowchart

Business Start-Ups

Starting your own business is exciting – but it can be a stressful and time-consuming affair, especially in the early days, and it’s all too easy to let the legal aspects slip. The structure of your company, dealing with premises, handling employees, all these and more can bring you problems in the future if not properly thought through and implemented.

We can help you to deal with every legal aspect of your new business, leaving you free to develop and grow it. Our initial consultation is free, during which we’ll discuss your requirements and advise on the best way to implement them. We’ll also talk in detail about any costs you may incur so you can budget accurately right from the start.

Employment Tribunals

The Employment and HR team at Cartmell Shepherd is made up of 4 solicitors and two trainee solicitors.

The team is headed by Joanne Stronach  who works alongside Mark Aspin and Rebecca Armstrong.

All the members of the team are experienced employment solicitors and your matter would be assigned to one of the team.  Joanne and Mark are qualified to supervise the other members of our team and do so on a one to one basis.

Hourly fee rates for our employment law team range from £130 to £255 (excluding VAT).  You can find our more about our hourly rates on this page.

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal (excluding the cost of actual attendance at any Tribunal hearing).

Simple case (1 day hearing): £4,500 to £5,500 (excluding VAT)
Medium complexity case (2 to 4 day hearing): £5,500 to £8,800 (excluding VAT)
High complexity case (5 to 8 day hearing): £8,800 to £12,000 (excluding VAT)
The costs of a claim with an estimated hearing length of more than 8 days would require further assessment and discussion.

Factors that could make a case more complex:

If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
Making or defending a costs application
Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
The number of witnesses and documents
If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of £780 to £900 per day (excluding VAT).This does not include any barrister’s fees or travel expenses.


Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

A barrister (also known as counsel) will usually represent you at a Tribunal hearing.  Hearings are traditionally charged on the basis of a ‘brief fee’ plus daily ‘refreshers’. The brief fee covers the barrister’s preparation for the hearing (in other words the work they will need to do to familiarise themselves with the papers, research the law, prepare cross examination etc) and includes a fee for the first day of the hearing.  A refresher is the fee charged for each subsequent day of the hearing.

Brief fees depend on the seniority of the barrister and on the complexity of the matter and can start from between £1,000 and £4,500 (excluding VAT) for a one day hearing.
For hearings of 2 days or more a brief fee is likely to be higher. Daily refreshers range from £800 to £2,500 (excluding VAT).   We would discuss and agree any barrister’s fees with you before incurring them.
Key stages

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:
Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached
Preparing claim or response
Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party
Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
Preparing or considering a schedule of loss
Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents
Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
Preparing bundle of documents
Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged to suit your individual needs.

How long will my matter take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 1 to 4 weeks.

If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 26 to 52 weeks depending on the likely length of the hearing. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

Our legal experts

You can find information on our teams and individuals by visiting the ‘Our People’ page on our website including details of their area of expertise and specialisms, their experience and of course, contact details.

You can contact any one of our 6 offices located across the region and can find our full contact information on our offices page or feel free to fill out the enquiry form on our website and we will contact you at a time and date that’s convenient for you.


We can take payment by cash, cheque, debit card, direct payment via internet banking and Direct Debit.

Complaints about our costs

If you’re unhappy with the service we have provided to you, including in relation to our costs, our complaints procedure provides you with the information on how to make a complaint, complete with details of our point of contact and that of the Legal Ombudsman.

Our complaints procedure can be accessed at the link below.
Complaints procedure

Contact us to find out more

If you’d like to speak to a member of our teams to find out more about our pricing options, please contact us at any one of our 6 offices.
Alternatively, complete one of the forms available on our pages and we’ll contact you at a time that’s convenient for you.

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