Q&As

In what circumstances can a solicitor charge for preparing a file note and can the solicitor claim that from the paying party in litigation?

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Published on LexisPSL on 05/05/2016

The following Dispute Resolution Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • In what circumstances can a solicitor charge for preparing a file note and can the solicitor claim that from the paying party in litigation?
  • Solicitors Code of Conduct
  • Case law
  • CPR provisions
  • Legal Aid guidance

In what circumstances can a solicitor charge for preparing a file note and can the solicitor claim that from the paying party in litigation?

For the purposes of this Q&A, we have assumed:

  1. the solicitor is charging the client on the basis of an hourly rate

  2. ‘file notes’ includes ‘attendance notes’

  3. the retainer between solicitor and client allows for recovery of related time

Solicitors Code of Conduct

The ability to charge for preparing a file note will be dependent on a number of different factors. The solicitor’s conduct of the case and duties to the client in relation to whether it is reasonable to prepare a file note is underpinned by the outcomes contained in the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Code of Conduct 2011. The outcomes in chapter 1 include providing services to clients in a manner which protects their interests, having the resources, skills and procedures to carry out clients’ instructions and to deliver a competent service in a timely manner taking into account clients’ needs and circumstances. The number and detail of and file notes required may differ depending on these outcomes.

Achieving the outcomes is likely to involve at least the reasonable recording of client instructions and developments. In addition, in light of the fact that the client may later wish to recover costs from another party at the end of the case, it is

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