FAQs

Search FAQs

Filter by Category

What is the Court of Protection?

The Court of Protection appoints a Deputy or Deputies to act for someone who cannot manage their affairs due to mental incapacity and who has not previously made an Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney. 

The Court of Protection also resolves disputes about whether a person should act as an Attorney or Deputy.  The Court has the power to remove Attorneys and Deputies and appoint a new Deputy as a replacement. 

The Court can also authorise gifts and the creation of a will if the person does not have a will, or if an existing will needs to be altered.  There are also powers of the Court to make orders about an incapacitated person’s health & welfare.

In order to obtain a Deputyship Order, there are fixed legal fees of £1,020 (£850 + VAT) to prepare the application. These fees can increase where there is complexity, for example:

  • Additional orders (e.g. appointment of trustee for sale of co-owned property)
  • Additional deputies
  • Need to investigate and report on assets where unknown at time of application
  • Objections raised by others (where there is an objection there will be delays to the appointment, statements to be drafted and preparation for hearings, so costs can quickly escalate in these circumstances)

  • Plus:
  • Court application fee of £400
    (N.B. If capital is less than £16,000 for over 60s, or £3,000 for under 60s  - exemption [means-tested benefits] or remission [100% for income under £12k, then sliding scale to where no remission] is available for those on low incomes). 
  • There may be further expenses such as for a doctor’s report (normally £150 - £250).

The time scale is 4 - 6 months.

The department has considerable experience with this kind of work and we currently look after the affairs of more than 100 clients on a continuing basis. Useful additional information is available from the following website: http://www.justice.gov.uk/about/opg

A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made if a person has capacity.  The mother or father’s capacity will need to be assessed. If they lack the capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney an application will need to be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed.

A will can be contested on the basis that it is invalid for one of a number of formal reasons or where an individual may feel they have not been sufficiently provided for (if at all) and are therefore thinking about making a claim for financial provision.

Most commonly claims begin with correspondence between competing parties and their lawyers. This first stage is often key to success. Setting out a claim carefully and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the other party’s claim and early disclosure can often help resolve disputes.

In all cases we would advocate mediation as an alternative to going to Court.  If the dispute can be achieved by agreement the claim will be settled more quickly, more cheaply and often in circumstances that enable the parties to obtain closure and possibly reconciliation. The vast majority of the cases are settled before trial, usually within 12-18 months.

It is generally the case that each party will be responsible for his/her own costs during the course of any litigation. At the end of the case a Judge will decide which party should pay the cost of the litigation. The usual rule is that the losing party will pay the costs of both parties (subject to some exceptions) although on many occasions costs will be paid from the estate.

The potential liability for costs and various funding options is something that is discussed with Claimants or personal representative at the outset so that they can decide how they wish to proceed in pursuing or defending a claim.

Only certain categories of person are eligible to make a claim against an estate and this is a matter that is discussed at the outset of the first enquiry. Any claim is subject to strict time limits and must be made within six months of the issue of the Grant of Probate.

The services which we cover in our family department are:-

  • Children issues; Parental Responsibility, Child Arrangements Orders (which parent the children live with and when they will see the other parent), Change of Name, removal from jurisdiction
  • Divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships
  • Domestic violence
  • Property and financial settlements including pensions and maintenance
  • Property disputes between unmarried couples
  • Family agreements including Cohabitation Agreements, Prenuptial and Pre-civil Partnership Agreements and Separation Agreements 

The initial consultation will cost £220 plus VAT if they see our senior solicitor or £160 plus VAT if they see our family paralegal.

When you make your initial enquiry, you will be provided with guidance as to the most appropriate person to see. This fee will cover the cost of the initial consultation (which normally takes between an hour and an hour and a half) and we also write to you to confirm our advice and provide you with other helpful information.

You will need to bring two forms of ID. If you are sure that you wish to issue divorce proceedings, you will need to bring your marriage certificate. We will not ask you to provide copies of any other documents at the initial consultation. However, we will ask questions regarding you financial circumstances. Therefore, if you need to refer to documents to provide us with information regarding your income, assets or liabilities, you should bring those documents with you to the consultation.

Step 1 - New Referral

It helps us to deal with new referrals more efficiently if one of our Mediation Referral Forms has been completed either by the client or their solicitor. The form is available on our website. Alternatively, we are able to e-mail a copy to you upon request.

Step 2 - Mediation Packs

As soon as we receive a completed Mediation Referral Form we send a mediation pack by post to both partners. (The pack can be sent by e-mail in cases of an urgent referral). The initial pack contains Resolution’s “Separating together” and “Mediation” leaflets, our Family Mediation leaflet, a Mediation Information Form for completion by the client and a covering letter.

Step 3 - Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings

As soon as we receive a completed Mediation Information Form from each of the partners, we contact them to arrange an appointment for a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting. We always see clients separately for this meeting. One of the main purposes of this meeting is to screen for domestic violence and child protection issues and it is not possible to do this effectively if both parties are present.

It is very often the case that one person is keener to try mediation than the other. If the second partner hasn’t contacted us after we have had a MIAM with the first partner, we then renew our efforts to contact the second partner and usually make a more direct approach this time either by telephone call, e-mail or text. Joanna is often able to engage the second party in the process once she has assured them of her impartiality and allayed any fears they may have regarding the process.

Following the first partner’s MIAM, we will usually wait a maximum of 14 days for the second partner to contact us before providing a C100 or Form A MIAM Certificate to the first partner. We are usually able to resolve issues concerning how the fees for the mediation sessions are to be shared between the partners, at the MIAMs. We also establish whether it will be necessary to use separate waiting areas or shuttle mediation.

Step 4 - Commencement of Mediation  

If both parties confirm that they wish to give mediation a try and Joanna has assessed the case to be suitable for mediation, we will then fix a time for the first joint session. 

We charge £100 plus VAT (total £120) for each Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting.

The cost of each joint session of up to 1 and ½ hours is £275 plus VAT (total £330). This charge is per couple rather than per person. Most couples choose to pay half each but there are some cases in which one person will pay the whole amount (e.g. if one person is working and the other is not) or the couple may share the cost between them in any proportion they agree. 

Your ex-partner will receive exactly the same information pack as you. If they do not respond immediately, we will try to contact them again by telephone or text or e-mail following the MIAM with you. It is often possible for us to engage people in mediation once we have had an opportunity to speak to them and allay their fears. 

We are unable to answer this until we know more about the claim.  In all cases we are willing to speak to a client free of charge to assess their claim on a No Win No Fee basis. These initial enquiries are undertaken by experienced case workers who have day to day dealings with the victims of accidents. They are experienced legal practitioners and not merely administrators.

We would generally expect to spend anything between half an hour and an hour with the client which is unlike many firms who proceed on the basis of a questionnaire. This personal engagement provides a mechanism to address the client’s concern whilst at the same time giving us all the information to move the claim forward as swiftly as possible.

Each client is given a designated case worker who will be involved at all stages in a case from start to finish. This level of personal engagement generally provides a better outcome and better experience for you, our client. We do not adopt a factory approach with multiple people working on matters.

An undisputed straight forward injury claim may be resolved in as little as a few months. More complicated claims may take longer as time has to pass for the injuries to stabilise. The factors which can affect the timescale are:

  •  A dispute as to what has happened. The question of blame or whether the amount of your claim is reasonable may be argued by the other party.
  • Insurance Companies may be slow in dealing with claims and particularly with answering correspondence.
  • Medical evidence is generally required before an assessment of compensation can be made. Medical experts are very busy and from time to time there may be delays in receiving appointments or written reports.
  • A small majority of cases go to Court and the Court process can be slow.

Whilst speed is good, it is better to ensure the right outcome. A thorough consideration of your claim may result in higher compensation. It is important to ensure that you receive the appropriate level of damages.

In all cases we are happy to offer a free consultation about claiming accident compensation. During this process we assess the claim on a No Win No Fee basis so that we can tell you how successful your claim is likely to be. This service is free and confidential.

A No Win No Fee Agreement is an arrangement between the client and their solicitors which means that if the compensation claim is not successful the solicitor is not paid for the work they have done. If the client wins their claim then the solicitor is paid part of the fees by the other party, typically an insurance company. If the claim loses, provided the client has not misled us, they will not pay anything.

Each claim is assessed on its merits to determine its likely success rate. This success rate informs us whether we can take on an individual case on a No Win No Fee basis. Sometimes our client have legal expenses insurance but may not know it, that is an insurance policy that provides cover for the cost of legal advice should they need it.

Costs vary depending on where the property is, how much it is being brought or sold for and whether it is a flat or a house. We will provide an estimate in writing which will include all of the third party payments. We believe in transparency and do not believe in hidden extras.

We regularly check that our prices are competitive, locally and further afield and we are proud of our prices and the services which we have to offer.

We are not able to offer this to our clients and our charges reflect this; we do not charge on a percentage basis and therefore must a charge a fee if the case does not proceed. 

As a general rule, the more parties involved and the larger the chain, the more time it will take. Generally, an average case takes around 6-8 weeks from the contract papers being sent out or received to exchange of contracts. The case will normally complete 2 – 4 weeks later. This means that the norm is around three months. Some cases proceed much more quickly although there are others which take much longer too. We try to adhere to the timescales our clients want, though we can only proceed as quickly as the slowest party in the chain.

Most wills can be drafted for you at a fixed cost, which can be confirmed when we know more about your personal situation.   The cost of a will would be higher if you wanted to incorporate a trust to provide for a vulnerable beneficiary or where there are other complexities to be addressed.

We will see you initially to take instructions, before drafting the will and sending it to you for approval.  You will then be seen at a second meeting when you will sign the will in the presence of two witnesses from Mullis & Peake LLP.  This ensures that the legal requirements for the signing of wills are met and that the will is validly completed. The will can usually be completed within two weeks, depending on your availability. 

Yes, home or hospital visits can be arranged on request.

A couple may make wills that reflect the other.  These are referred to as “Mirror Wills”.  For example, a couple may leave the estate to whichever survives and then the estate passes to their children on the second death.  A couple will have one will each, so although the wills are very similar, they are not a ‘joint will’.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a document that allows you to appoint an Attorney to assist you either with Financial and Property matters or Health and Welfare issues.  This can be important if you are unable to manage these matters when you get older, become ill, or even if you are abroad for an extended period of time. 

Yes, we can store wills, Powers of Attorney and deeds free of charge.

We can offer two options.  The first is to assist you with obtaining the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration only, which means that you will collect the information about the value of assets, confirm debts and provide the information to us.  Once the Grant is received you will then collect in the assets of the estate, pay the liabilities and distribute the funds to the beneficiaries.  The second option is for us to assist with the full estate administration from start to finish. This option may appeal to you if you do not have the time to deal with it personally, or because you do not want to deal with the paperwork when you are recently bereaved.

We can usually offer fixed costs or a costs limit so that the fees can be ascertained at the outset.

A Trust is a legal concept whereby Trustees hold assets for Beneficiaries.  This may be because the Beneficiary is vulnerable and the funds need to be protected from financial abuse, or the Beneficiary is unable to manage the funds personally. Other uses include ensuring that funds remain in the family in the event that a widow or widower remarries, or to hold funds from life insurance policies.

At the outset of the matter you will be provided with a fee estimate based upon our experience in dealing with similar matters in the past. If something unexpected happens and it appears that fees are going to increase we will contact you and agree a new estimate prior to carrying out further work. Likewise if we spend less time on the matter than expected we will not charge you the original fee estimate.

The amount of time it takes to conclude a matter will differ from case to case, however we will use our best endeavours to finalise the matter as quickly as possible. We will ensure that we respond to your telephone calls and correspondence promptly in order that we can progress your matter further.

 It is not always necessary to attend our offices and have a meeting. We understand that time constraints affect businesses and that a telephone conversation is sometimes more convenient for clients. Alternatively we are happy to meet with clients even if they only have a few queries. We will always be flexible in order to meet your business needs.

Mullis & Peake offer an insurance backed Employment Protection Scheme for business clients. This means you pay a fixed fee for a years’ worth of ad hoc advice alongside an insurance policy premium. If you are ever brought to Tribunal the insurance policy would pay both legal fees and any sum awarded by the Tribunal.*

Another aspect which makes us stand out from other solicitors is that, unlike a lot of other firms, we have a dedicated Employment Law function which sits in our commercial department solely for businesses. We know how businesses work and are able to appreciate the time and cost restraints involved, this enables  us to provide a better service to our commercial clients.

*subject to you not breaching the terms and conditions of the insurance policy

Yes we can.  It is always important to adopt a sensible procedure for resolving any grievance or disciplinary matters.  Early direct communications between an employer and employee can help resolve a problem before it goes too far.  We can advise you on what procedures you might need to follow or whether the process adopted by your employer is a fair one.

The ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) website is also a good portal for obtaining information on disciplinary and grievance procedures.  ACAS provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law.

There are different time limits depending on the type of claim that is being pursued, but as a very general rule, the majority of claims need to be brought within 3 months of the date of the act complained of.  For example, if you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, the time limit would normally be 3 calendar months from the date of dismissal.  If in doubt, always start from the earliest incident or trigger for a claim.

You should also be aware that an Employment Tribunal claim cannot be brought until you have attempted conciliation through ACAS.  They act as an impartial intermediary to help resolve a dispute.  Regardless of the outcome of the conciliation, a potential claim must first be lodged with ACAS before it can proceed through a Tribunal so this needs to be factored in when preparing a claim.

We always work with you to calculate a range of awards a Tribunal might make as early as possible in a case as we understand it influences your decision whether to pursue a claim.

Generally speaking, for successful unfair dismissal claims you may be able to recover a basic award equivalent to your statutory redundancy entitlement (which is based on your age, salary and length of service).  The employee may also be entitled to a compensatory award for reimbursement of actual financial losses (e.g. loss of salary), subject to a cap.

As a guide, the median unfair dismissal award made by an Employment Tribunal (as published by the Ministry of Justice) for the financial year 2013/14, was £5,016, with the average award being £11,813.  In the same year, 73% of all unfair dismissal awards were below £10,000.

For successful claims of discrimination, the compensation will be determined by a Tribunal based on the severity of the individual case.  The average award made Employment Tribunals for the financial year 2013/14 ranged from £8,131 for religious discrimination, up to £14,502 for disability discrimination.

Costs are an important consideration in Employment Tribunal proceedings as it can still be difficult to obtain any significant contribution towards costs from your opponent, even if you are successful with the main claim at a final hearing.

At the outset of the matter you will be provided with a fee estimate based upon our experience in dealing with similar matters in the past.  If we cannot give an estimate for the whole case, we will tell you the likely cost for the next stage.

We can also act under a legal expenses insurance policy (often included in many home insurance policies) where the insurer meets our fees.  This means there is usually nothing for you to pay, subject to any excess or particular terms under the policy.

We always look to tailor costs to suit a client’s particular needs, whether that means acting for free under an insurance policy, agreeing fixed-fees or a cap on costs or simply working on a time recorded basis using an hourly rate.

Claims in the civil Courts are determined by a judge on the balance of probabilities.  This means that a judge will need to prefer your evidence over your opponents. In percentage terms, to tip the balance in your favour you only need to reach 51%.

At the outset of the matter we will always review the evidence or information you have provided to us to give you an initial opinion on whether your case meets the threshold.  If we are unable to provide an accurate assessment we will explain what further information is needed before we can give you an opinion.  The merits will be regularly reviewed as it can change throughout a case as evidence or information comes to light.

Generally speaking, you should not continue with either bringing or defending a claim where the prospects of success fall below 51%.

Costs are an important consideration in any Court proceedings as it will help you conduct a cost-benefit analysis on whether it is likely to be worthwhile to either issue or defend a claim.

At the outset of the matter we will conduct a cost-benefit analysis with you and discuss the funding options available.  This might include us acting under an existing legal expenses insurance policy where the insurers meet all of your legal fees, or agreeing a fixed-fee structure.

In every case you will be provided with a fee estimate based upon our experience in dealing with similar matters in the past.  If we cannot give an estimate for the whole case, we will tell you the likely cost for the next stage.

If something unexpected happens and it appears that fees are going to increase we will contact you and inform you of any increase prior to carrying out further work.  Likewise if we spend less time on the matter than expected we will not charge you the original fee estimate.

Although a Court can make an order for the losing party to pay the costs of the winning party, whether such an order is made depends on a number of factors, such as the value of the claim (cost orders are not normally made for claims worth under £10,000) and the conduct of the parties.  Even where a costs order is made, it will only be an order requiring the losing party to reimburse costs already paid and will not usually be for the full amount.  Typically a party who has the benefit of a costs order might only be entitled to 65% of the actual outlay.  Also, there is no guarantee that your opponent will be able to pay the value of any costs order.

The amount of time it takes to conclude a matter will differ from case to case and can depend on how busy the Court is, the number of witnesses needed and the level of co-operation received from your opponent.  Typically, it can take 9 months or more for a final trial to be heard after a claim has been issued.

In all cases we will work with you to achieve the best result for you in the circumstances.  Sometimes, a delay might be in your interest for tactical reasons.  For our part, we will do what we can to finalise the matter as quickly as possible.  We will also ensure that we respond to your telephone calls and correspondence promptly.