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Funding your legal costs

What will it cost me?

The following details the various funding options that may be available to you.


Pay as you go

Please ask for details about paying on the traditional “private” basis. We have a range of different charging rates according to the level of experience you require.

We are always happy to discuss likely costs with you. With disputes, this can often depend on how much the conduct of other party. Therefore, we can offer either a fixed fee for a specific piece of work or you can set a costs limit and we shall do as much work as we can up to that amount.

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Fixed Fee Interview

For your peace of mind, Thomas Dunton can offer a Fixed Fee Interview. This enables you to talk through your concerns with a specialist lawyer, while knowing exactly what it will cost. A fixed fee interview provides:

  • An opportunity for you to explain your concerns to a lawyer
  • To ascertain whether you need to take any urgent action
  • To ascertain whether it would be worthwhile for you to instruct a lawyer
  • To discover what services are available and the fee structure that would apply
  • To find out what future costs might be involved
  • To help you decide if it is worthwhile for you to employ a solicitor

You are under absolutely no obligation to engage Thomas Dunton.

The costs

For Family matters we can offer 30 minutes initial appointment £75+vat or 1 hour appointment £150+vat. For other disputes half an hour would probably not be long enough for a more complex matter, so an hour appointment is available for £150+vat.

Suitable subjects include the following:
  • Family Law including divorce
  • Civil partnership, cohabitation relationship
  • Finance
  • Intellectual property rights and civil Mediation
  • Commercial litigation and some aspects of advice for existing businesses

Detailed advice cannot be given at this stage.

A Fixed Fee Interview is not appropriate if you are already involved in court proceedings and need to instruct a lawyer to represent you in those proceedings or if you require work to be carried out urgently.


Quotes for legal services

In addition, there are certain services for which we can give you a quotation or an estimate for the work we undertake on your behalf. These include:

  • Residential property sale and purchase
  • Residential property re-mortgages
  • Residential leases
  • Wills (except complex Wills)
  • Change of name deeds

In all cases full payment must be made on the day of the interview by cash or cheque. Please ensure you obtain confirmation of cost when you telephone for an appointment, as fees are subject to change from time to time.

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Free advice

In some cases we can offer you an initial appointment without any charge at all. These would include:

  • Personal Injury claims
  • Business Start-ups
  • Advice on certain aspects of existing businesses

Please make sure you confirm this is a free appointment when you book.

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If you are in receipt of Income Support, Income- Based Jobseekers Allowance or Guaranteed State Pension Credit then you will qualify for the basic level of public funding: this is called Legal Help.
If you are not in receipt of any of these benefits, then we would be happy to carry out a full assessment before you instruct us to see if you qualify for Legal Help.

Under Legal Help we would be able to meet with you and advise you. We may then be able to enter into correspondence with a third party on your behalf in order to assist you in your dispute.
Unlike Legal Aid, Legal Help does not allow us to represent you in a Court or Tribunal Hearing. However, depending on your circumstances and the matter in dispute, you may be eligible for full certificate public funding, more commonly known as Legal Aid.

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The Legal Aid regime is governed by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) which came into effect on April 1 2013. There are two levels of legal controlled work and licensed work.

Controlled work covers the following
  • Legal help
  • Help at court
  • Family help (lower)
  • Family mediation
  • Legal representation for proceedings in the immigration and asylum tribunal of the first-tier tribunal
Licensed work encompasses
  • Family help (higher)
  • Legal representation (other than controlled legal representation, see above)
  • Other legal services (exceptional cases)


Controlled Work (Lower Level Funding)

To qualify for this basic level of public funding you must pass both the income and capital tests.

Income test

If you are in receipt of Income Support, Income- Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income related Employment and support allowance or Guaranteed State Pension Credit then you automatically satisfy the income test.

For those not in receipt of these benefits your gross income (income before tax) must not exceed £2657 (for applicants with 0-4 children) For those with more than 4 children a higher gross income limit applies.

Even where the gross income is below the permissible limit, the disposable income (income left after deducting permitted items of expenditure such as rent, tax, national insurance and childcare costs) must not exceed £733.

In assessing income the following state benefits are disregarded:

  • Disability living allowance/Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Attendance allowance
  • Constant attendance allowance paid as an increase to disability pension
  • Any payment made out of the social fund
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Council Tax benefit.
Capital Test

Disposable capital must not exceed £3,000 [Legal Representation in respect of certain immigration matters. In respect of all other civil legal services disposable capital must not exceed £8,000.

We are happy to carry out a full assessment before you instruct us to see if you qualify for Legal Help.Under Legal Help we would be able to meet with you and advise you. We may then be able to enter into correspondence with a third party on your behalf in order to assist you in your dispute. Unlike Legal Aid, Legal Help does not allow us to represent you in a Court or Tribunal Hearing. However, depending on your circumstances and the matter in dispute, you may be eligible for full certificate public funding, more commonly known as Legal Aid.

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Legal Aid (Higher Level Funding)

Thomas Dunton are accredited to carry out publicly funded work – Legal Aid – in specific circumstances. These may include such areas of law as:

    • Debt repossession due to mortgage arrears only
    • Divorce
    • Family and Child Care
    • Employment
    • Housing
    • Personal Injury in limited circumstance

Eligibility is subject to two tests: a means test; and a merits test. The means test is identical to the legal help test however, the Legal Aid Agency will look at your income over a longer period of time. We can assess whether you might be eligible over the telephone depending on your income and assets.

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Contingency Fee Agreement

We may be able to enter into a Contingency Fee Agreement to cover your representation at a Tribunal Hearing. You would then only have to pay legal fees if you were awarded money by the Tribunal.  In which case, all you would pay is a percentage of the money awarded, as agreed in advance.

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Conditional Fee Agreement (“No Win, No Fee”)

We may be able to assist with your claim on the basis of a conditional fee agreement. This is known popularly as a No Win, No Fee scheme.

The idea is that, by making the claim, you do not risk being financially worse off than you were before, whatever the result. If you lose, you pay us nothing, and if you win your opponent pays towards your costs.

We will provide you with a conditional fee agreement which sets out all the terms of the agreement between us.

It will include details of any arrangement for funding of disbursements, the details of the success fee payable and details of your Conditional Fee Insurance (see below). We are always happy to discuss the terms of the conditional fee agreement with you.

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Many of our clients already have the benefit of Legal Expenses Insurance. Most motor policies include legal expenses insurance, as do some building, home contents and holiday policies and even credit cards and some bank accounts.

Sometimes insurers will tell you to use their own nominated lawyer. This may not be convenient for you, nor provide the level of service you would like. If you talk to us about it, we can usually make arrangements with the insurers so that we may act on your behalf. Alternatively, insurance can sometimes be taken out even at this stage to cover your legal costs and/or those of the opponent. Please ask us about these possibilities.

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Assistance from Trade Unions, Trade Organisations or other Associations

If you are a member of any of these, or similar bodies, you may be eligible for financial assistance with your claim. If this is the case, please discuss it with us and provide the details. We will probably be able to act on your behalf as your nominated solicitor.

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Personal Injury funding

For all our Personal Injury clients, we offer the first interview on a free no obligation basis. We can build a view of your case and advise you about the different funding options.

Conditional Fee Insurance

If you lose your case, there is a risk that you would have to pay your opponent’s legal costs and your own disbursements. For this reason the popular term “no win no fee” can be somewhat misleading.

We aim to avoid that risk for you by advising and arranging that you take out “conditional fee insurance”. The insurer would then pay your opponent’s costs and disbursements.

It would also pay your own disbursements if you lost the case. “Disbursements” are payments to others who help with your claim, such as experts.

Please click here for more information on the various cost options that may be available to you. To contact us please complete the Contact form on the right or alternatively please telephone Freephone 0800146 340 or 01689 822554 or email

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Credit Cards

Please note that whilst we are able to accept payment by debit card, payment by credit card will only be accepted at our exclusive discretion, in the most exceptional circumstances, given the additional charges that incur.

Contact Us

Please contact us at 217-219 High Street, Orpington, Kent BR6 0NZ
Call us on 01689 822554 or email us at

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What our clients say about us:

  • “We have both been impressed with your diligent and thorough conveyancing, highlighting issues with the property that had been missed during the previous sale”.

  • “Catherine Westcott truly helped us beyond her duty and was always there for us, going that extra mile made all the difference”.

  • “All very satisfactory, efficient and approachable. We now look upon Thomas Dunton as our solicitors”.

  • “Extremely satisfied with the service that you have provided. We will be recommending Thomas Dunton to our family and friends”. 

  • “Great patience and great deal of thought to ensure our Will achieved our complicated requirements. Thank you”.

  • “I found the staff I dealt with professional, practical and patient…helping to clarify matters and enabling me to take better informed decisions”.

  • “Wonderful and understanding of my circumstances. Guided me through the process and presented all the options in a way that I could understand”.

  • “Thank you for all your hard work. You have been amazing. I will forever be thankful that you were my solicitor”.

  • “The service was exceptional —  friendly, welcoming and sympathetic. I do not think that I could have received a better service anywhere else“.

  • “No words to express my gratitude to your amazing work and patience”.

  • “Thank you very much for the courtesy, care and efficiency which we have received from you and everyone we have dealt with at Thomas Dunton”. 

  • “Thank you so much for all your help for my family and I.  I am so very  grateful.  You’re  my little Christmas angels”

  • “What you all do for people is amazing. You should all be proud of yourselves for putting a little bit of light back in my life and I’m most certain that of others”

  • “The firm give their clients very detailed and clear advice in plain English.”

  • “Extremely friendly, did not feel that anything was too much trouble”.

  • “I received a very prompt, professional and caring service from you at a very sad and distressing time”.


  • “Thank you all for your amazing support throughout last year.  You really are a fabulous team”.


  • “It really was a hideous experience, but every time I got to the point I couldn’t breathe and I spoke to one of you, I felt instantly strong again”.

  •  “You made me giggle and reassured me whenever I was about to cry or hide in a cupboard, often picking up the phone to check I was ok – so very kind”.


  • “Vernon Hadida is by far the best solicitor I have ever dealt with.”

  • “Extremely satisfied with the service which I considered excellent value for money.”

  • “I was very happy with the service. I was always able to speak to somebody that could help me when I telephoned.”

  • “Thank you for all your work on my claim. I am extremely grateful for your assistance.”

  • “Thomas Dunton exceeded my expectations in terms of both service quality and value for money.”