What are Guideline Rates and how do they affect me?

Advice  |   14 July 2023

Written by
Anahita Zandi, Solicitor

Manek & Ors v 360 one WAM Ltd & Ors (Re consequential) [2023]

Revised Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR) took effect from 1 October 2021 for solicitors in England and Wales. The GHR is used to calculate solicitors’ costs based on how many hours they spend on your case. If a more junior solicitor has conduct of your matter, then their hourly rate will be affected based on their experience, and how many years they have been qualified i.e., their Post Qualification Years. Therefore, when you instruct a junior solicitor, expect a lower GHR.

The Hourly rates charged are also based on the firm’s location, as you can imagine, central London hourly rates are higher than those more regional or on the high street owing to the higher costs of operating from Central London offices.

Therefore, in essence, when you instruct a solicitor (whether junior or more senior) you should ensure to ask their hourly rates (if not already informed), and the timeframe they expect to spend on your matter, so that both you and your solicitor are fully informed and comfortable paying those fees.

A little interesting history, guideline solicitors’ fees were introduced in 1990, prior to that it had become custom that the fees would be calculated by measuring the depth of the file with a ruler or weighing it on scales.

The Court of Appeal has exemplified in numerous cases that if a solicitor’s rate is in excess of the GHR a ‘clear and compelling justification must be provided’ to depart from it as was argued Samsung Electronics Co Ltd v LG Display Co Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 466.

In this case, the Defendant objected to the hourly rates claimed and Simon Rainey KC (sitting as a Judge of the High Court) reaffirmed the earlier cases ‘I therefore summarily assess the Claimants’ costs on the basis claimed, save for the application of the Guideline Rates for Grades A, C and D’.

This shows the importance of the GHR, even in the most complex and heavy cases and how the courts will rarely depart from them.

At Thackray Williams we are always transparent with our hourly rates and are happy to explain how our fees work. Therefore, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 020 8209 0440.

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