What we do & Prices

Find out all the ways that we can help you.
Here are the areas of law we can assist you with.

Inside Matthew Browns Office

The Law Society of Scotland has issued Guidance on what is called Transparent Pricing. This is information to be made available to clients and potential clients about fees, outlays and costs that may be incurred when instructing solicitors. The Guidance is in place for all firms in Scotland that offer legal services to consumers/private clients.

You may qualify for assistance financially from the Scottish Legal Aid Board. We always explore this possibility for our clients. Where Legal Aid is not available or you do not qualify. We have provided Examples of pricing for the range of services we undertake. . These are, as required, only illustrations and not exact costs. Whilst some matters carry a fixed price, other matters are more complex and it is impossible to advise what the likely fees will be. Cases such as these will be calculated on a scale or unit price. Regardless of what fees are payable, some cases will involve outlays being charged. These can relate to registration dues, search dues and reports in conveyancing matters or for example court dues in civil matters. Any such outlays shall be confirmed to you when instructing us at the outset and throughout your instruction of our firm. Rest assured we make no additional profit in respect of any outlays paid by you.

We are unable to provide an example of fees for every type of case and hope that the examples we have provided give you an idea of the likely costs. Of course we are always happy (and indeed would encourage it) for clients, old and new, to contact us to discuss the likely fees and outlays they will incur.

All work to be carried out by us will be preceded by a written estimate or quotation of fees, vat and outlays. This costing is part of an obligation to issue clients with Terms of Engagement – a set of relevant information made up of a formal letter and other related documentation, including our Terms of Business.


General Advice and Business

Our Firm takes on a range of clients and cases/transactions. Sometimes the work is preliminary advice, or assistance with a minor or brief legal issue requiring correspondence with other parties or solicitors, and/or creating of legal documentation. There really is no limit to the range of needs of clients when it comes to legal services and processes.

We offer an initial free consultation up to 30 minutes. Thereafter our fees will be charged in line with our firm’s hourly rate and unit pricing.

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Criminal Law

This firm undertakes a wide range of criminal court work from Justice of the Peace Court road traffic offences to High Court murder trials and everything in between. We will generally accept instructions to provide defence or representation in almost all criminal cases.

A solicitor from our office will be available to discuss matters briefly by telephone and to indicate whether or not any particular issue is one with which we can assist, whether or not legal aid funding (legal advice and assistance or legal aid) is likely to be available and if not to give an estimate of the likely private fee involved. It is however, usually impossible to set a ceiling or top limit on the likely level of fees, as inevitably fees are driven by circumstances which may well be outside the control of you or us, and there may be complexities that are not apparent at a first meeting. Our charge rate is £180 (£150 plus VAT) per hour with charging units of 6 minutes in length and equivalent units for correspondence. We will always seek to ensure that fees are charged on a basis which is fair and reasonable, and they will always be discussed and agreed in advance of any work being done.

Summary Cases

Most criminal cases in Scotland are prosecuted at a summary level, either in the Justice of the Peace Court or the Sheriff Court. In most of these cases we will try to agree a fixed fee with you to provide you with certainty as to the costs to be incurred to a certain stage of your case. We reserve the right to review the level of the agreed fee should your case become protracted or in the event of unanticipated complications but we will always advise you of such changes in advance and agree them with you. We cannot undertake work without funding and generally payment will be required to allow work to progress on the basis of a reasonable estimate of the work to be done. It is likely that we will require payment from you as the case progresses, and we will keep track of all work as it is done. Work will generally be undertaken by our principal solicitor, Mr Brown, but may be done by one of the solicitors in our office. All work is the responsibility of Mr Brown and will be the subject of his oversight and management.

Criminal offences can be complex and the facts of each case are unique. We need to understand the difficulties in which you find yourself and how you would have these answered. It may or may not be that you accept any fault at all. It may be possible to make representations to the prosecutor so as to stop a case reported by the police or other agency for consideration of prosecution actually going to court. You may require us to bring all possible resources to bear in the hope that you will be acquitted (found not guilty) of any criminal allegation or, in the alternative, it may be that we will require to manage the case to your best advantage and to seek for you the most preferential outcome – always appreciating that this is in the hands of others.

Most summary criminal cases proceed in fixed stages:

  • Initial appearance, whether from custody, bail undertaking or citation
  • Intermediate or pre intermediate diet hearing
  • Trial
  • Deferred sentence, usually for background reports or good behaviour
As indicated above, it would be our intention to deal with most summary cases by way of fixed payments for each block of work. In most cases these will be as follows;
  • Resolution at first appearance £300 + VAT
  • Resolution at Intermediate or Pre intermediate diet £300 + VAT
  • Resolution at trial diet £400 + VAT
  • Appearance at Deferred sentence £100 + VAT per attendance.
All of these fees are cumulative, ie a plea at an intermediate diet would involve a fee of £600 + VAT, a case resolved at a deferred sentence after a trial £1100 + VAT and so on.

As required in each case our fees would include taking instructions from you, providing advice, obtaining all necessary information from the police and the Procurator Fiscal, obtaining required documents and reviewing these, providing full advice on your options, possible court disposals, court representation and correspondence.

Wherever possible we will deal with summary private business on this basis, however we reserve the right to amend this fee structure in cases of unusual complexity. We confirm that any fees will be agreed in advance of any work being done.

Solemn Cases

These are cases at a Sheriff and Jury or High Court level. These cases are likely to be far more serious in their nature and far more involved in their circumstances. We will generally give you an indication of costs based on our reasonable pre-estimate of the time required of any given case. We will most likely charge an instruction fee and will always seek to advise you in advance when further fees will be required. We will seek to agree these with you. There is no typical case so far as prosecutions at the higher level in Scottish Courts are concerned. That being said, where possible we will try and agree block fees to avoid any uncertainty, but due to the complex nature and more serious consequences of solemn proceedings these are by necessity higher than summary fees. In relation to Sheriff and Jury cases the normal block fees would be:
  • Initial instruction and case preparation fee £1500 + VAT
  • Resolution at Section 76 Diet or First Diet £1000 + VAT
  • Resolution at Trial diet by plea or per day of trial £500 + VAT
  • Appearance at Deferred Sentence £300 + VAT
Again these fees are cumulative, ie a plea at a First diet would be £2500 + VAT, an acquittal after a three day trial would be £4000 + VAT and so on.

For High Court matters it is simply unfeasible to use a block fee basis, as not only are these the most serious and complex of matters but often the employment of Counsel will be necessary, and we have no control over their fees. In some cases we may agree to do initial preparatory work for a block fee, but these matters will always require a detailed discussion where we will try and provide you with as much information as possible to make an informed decision.

Outlays

In some trials there will be a need for expert witnesses or reports, such as medical reports, expert road traffic witness reports, forensic accountancy and so on. Again we will always advise you of the cost of these prior to instructing any work, but these are additional costs payable over and above our fees.

As indicated above, the bulk of this firm’s criminal work is funded by Legal Aid, and in every case we will always as a first resort look to put this in place. Clients can help with this by providing full financial information as quickly as possible.

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Family Law

We undertake all aspects of family law including separation and divorce, financial provision, residence and contact and adoption. We regularly appear in courts all over Scotland.

Contact & Residence

There can be times when people experience difficulties in maintaining relationships with either their own children, grandchildren or other children that they have had a close and loving relationship. We can provide practical solutions and legal options if you find yourself in such a situation. We understand that speaking to a lawyer in these circumstances can be daunting, however, knowing what your options and rights are can help going forward to resolve matters. A member of our team will be able to advise you as to the options which may suit your individual circumstances, whether this correspondence with the other person, mediation, or ultimately raising or defending a Court action. We offer an initial consultation free and can advise as to whether you qualify for Legal Advice and Assistance and Legal Aid. In the event that you are not eligible for such assistance our work will be carried out in following our firm’s Our charge rate is £180 (£150 plus VAT) per hour with charging units of 6 minutes in length and equivalent units for correspondence. We will always seek to ensure that fees are charged on a basis which is fair and reasonable, and they will always be discussed and agreed in advance of any work being done. There are potential outlays such as Court dues, details can found on the Scottish Court Website, Mediation Costs for example via Family Relationship Scotland (Link here please) and Extract certificates.

Separation and Divorce

In Scotland, all financial matters and care arrangements involving children need to be resolved before a decree of divorce can be pronounced. A Minute of Agreement, also known as a Separation Agreement, is a private contract between you and your ex and captures the settlement reached by negotiation. This can include the care arrangements for your children and the financial matters, for example property sale or transfer, sharing of assets and dealing with debt and pensions.

Each case, like each family or relationship, is different and we tailor our approach to each individual case. The cost depends on the complexity of your situation and how quickly matters are resolved. At our initial consultation we shall discuss with you the availability of assistance from the Scottish Legal Aid Board and ascertain if you are eligible. In some cases whilst you may be granted Legal Aid, if you are successful in retaining or gaining assets (including your own property) the Legal Aid Board will seek to clawback any financial assistance they have provided to you.

If you do not qualify we will explain our fee structure, our fees are based on a time spent basis and our Terms of Engagement letter will set out a time and line/hourly/unit rate charge. It is however, usually impossible to set a ceiling or top limit on the likely level of fees, as inevitably fees are driven by circumstances which may well be outside the control of you or us, and there may be complexities that are not apparent at a first meeting. Our charge rate is £180 (£150 plus VAT) per hour with charging units of 6 minutes in length and equivalent units for correspondence. We will always seek to ensure that fees are charged on a basis which is fair and reasonable, and they will always be discussed and agreed in advance of any work being done. A straight-forward Minute of Agreement can range from £1,000 to £1,200; while one possible fee outcome is £1,800 plus vat of £360.

Outlays will also be added in and can include a share of the registration dues of the Minute of Agreement: £44 if paying for both extracts (copies); £22 if for one only. Where a pension share is required, these costs are levied by the pension provider which we have no control of.

Before proceeding for a divorce there must be grounds for a divorce. Our team will be able to advise you if you have grounds for a divorce. Most divorces proceed following two years separation or one year separation providing both parties consent. If there are children under the age of 16 then an action will require to be raised in the Sheriff Court and our fees are £800 plus Vat. There are outlays including court costs which increase every April. There may also be costs to obtain the marriage and birth certificates and for Sheriff Officers to serve the divorce papers on your spouse if recorded delivery is unsuccessful. Again, these are costs set by third parties, but a marriage or birth certificate has a potential cost of £16 each and Sheriff Officer fees can start at £100 plus Vat.

If there are no children under the age of 16, then you can use the Simplified Divorce Application. Our fee is £150 plus Vat, but, again, there are court costs and potential outlays for marriage and birth certificates and Sheriff Officers.

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Wills

Generally a Will for an individual is £100 plus VAT of £20.00.

If you’re a couple making in effect mirrored Wills our fees in this regard are £150 plus VAT of £30.00.

The fees above also cover the storage of the Will within our office vault.

If your Will is more complex our fee may require to be varied, however, you would be advised of this in advance of our undertaking any work on your behalf, therefore giving you the opportunity to consider whether you wish to continue to instruct us in this matter.

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Executry (when someone dies)

This is work required in winding up the estate of someone who has died. It is another area where it is difficult, and often impossible, to give accurate levels of fee in advance. Whilst we can offer Fixed Fees (see below) for some estates, we cannot provide a note of our fees for all types of Executry cases.

The estate requires to be investigated and information engathered to prepare an Inventory for the Court. This is called Confirmation (Scottish equivalent of Probate). It will depend on whether the value of the deceased’s estate exceeds Inheritance Tax Thresholds or they have made gift of their assets in the last seven years prior to their death whether an Inheritance Tax Return requires to be completed for HMRC.

There are various other matters which can arise in the administration of the estate and each estate will be different. The deceased may not have left a Will; the estate may be disputed and/or claims intimated. Beneficiaries may require to be traced. Each estate will be dealt with on an individual basis.

In estates where we are instructed to act from the outset up until the conclusion and distribution of the estate our fee is calculated in part based on our firm’s hourly rate where charging units of 6 minutes in length are used for work carried out and partly as a percentage of the value of the estate. Our firm’s Fee Schedule in respect of Executry work can be accessed by clicking here. At the conclusion of the Estate our file will be audited by our Law Accountant and a Certificate of Assessment of our fee will be provided.

If the estate is valued at more than £50,000 Court dues will be payable to the Sheriff Clerk. Details of current Court fees can be found in the Scottish Courts website.

EXECUTRY - FIXED FEES

Where there is a Will


If the Estate is straightforward and you do not require us to act in the entire administration of the estate we can assist in obtaining Confirmation and once granted pass this to you to enable you continue in your administration of the estate. We will prepare the Inventory based on information supplied by you.

Our fee for the preparation of the Inventory for Confirmation, Execution of this and lodgement with the Court is £750 & VAT. Court dues will be payable if the Estate value exceeds £50,000.

Where there is no Will


If the person did not leave a Will, we can petition the Court for the appointment of an Executor.

If the estate passes entirely to the surviving spouse or civil partner there is no requirement for a Bond of Caution. Our fee will therefore be £800 plus VAT and Court dues.

If, however, a Bond of Caution (insurance policy) is required we shall engather the estate and distribute the net estate in terms of the laws of succession. An additional fee of £150 plus VAT shall be payable to cover this additional work.

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Conveyancing

Purchase of Residential Property

We can act for you when buying a property, whether it be a flat, house or new-build property. Our fees will include taking your instructions to offer on the property and liaise with the Estate Agents. If you are unsuccessful in your offer we generally do not make a charge. If you are successful we shall prepare all necessary formal letters to obtain concluded missives (a binding contract); We shall examine the title of the property, peruse Home Reports, any guarantees in respect of specialist works carried out. If the property has been altered we shall inspect of papers relating to same; inspection of searches and reports; drafting of a new title (disposition) and mortgage security where necessary; requesting funds from your lender and also yourself for the balance/shortfall of the purchase price. If you have a Help to Buy ISA we shall request your bonus payment. We shall obtain from you vouching of the funds which you are paying towards the property, including any gifts being made to you by family in order to satisfy Anti-Money Laundering procedures. We shall settle the purchase price to the selling solicitors and thereafter submit and settle any Land Tax (formerly Stamp Duty); register your title (and mortgage security, if applicable) and provide you with an up-dated copy of the Title following registration.

Our Fees are based on the purchase price of the property: -

  • Up-to £100,000 - £500 plus VAT of £100.
  • Exceeding £100,000 up-to £200,000 - £600.00 plus VAT of £120
  • Exceeding £200,000 up-to £300,000 - £700.00 plus VAT of £140
  • Exceeding £300,000 up-to £400,000 - £800.00 plus VAT of £160
  • Exceeding £400,000 up-to £500,000 - £850.00 plus VAT of £170
  • Exceeding £500,000 – please contact us to discuss the costs.

OUTLAYS
  • Registration dues of your mortgage £70.00
  • Advance Notice to the Keeper re Mortgage £20.00
  • Company Search (if you are buying from a builder) £66.00
Registration dues of your title to the property. Click here for scale of fees.

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

By clicking on this link, you will find Revenue Scotland’s calculator so you can see what tax you will require to pay on the transaction.

Additional Dwelling Supplement

If you own other property and you are not replacing your main residence you may require to pay 4% tax of the purchase price. Some exemptions apply.

Click to be re-directed to Revenue Scotland’s website for further information.

Additional Fees

If you are using the First Home Scheme either in respect of a new build property or a second hand property we have an additional fee of £50 plus VAT to cover the extra work in liaising with providers of the scheme and their Solicitors and to have additional paperwork revised and signed. Additional outlays in respect of registration dues and Advance Notices will also be incurred.

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Sale of Residential Property

The Firm deals with transactions for clients selling a home, whether it be a flat or a house. The fees will include all work required from taking instructions upon receipt of an offer on your property, to issuing all formal letters to achieve concluded missives (a binding contract), to obtaining necessary reports and searches; to having documentation signed by you; Settlement of the transaction, redeeming outstanding mortgage to the lender registration of discharge where necessary, settlement of sums due to your Estate Agent and remitting any net proceeds to you;

The fixed fee for our work is based on the sale price of the property as follows:-

  • Up-to £100,000 - £500 plus VAT of £100.
  • Exceeding £100,000 up-to £250,000 - £600.00 plus VAT of £120
  • Exceeding £250,000 up-to £400,000 - £650.00 plus VAT of £130
  • Exceeding £400,000 up-to £600,000 - £750.00 plus VAT of £150
  • Exceeding £600,000 – please contact us to discuss the costs.

OUTLAYS
  • Registration of Discharge of your mortgage - £70.00
  • Advance Notice to Keeper of the new owner - £20.00
  • Coal Report - £45.00
  • Legal Report & Property Enquiry Report - £120.00

A boundary definition report may be required depending on when your title was registered. The cost of this is £127 and we can advise in our initial discussions if this is indeed needed.

Please note our fee does not included any post-settlement claims made by a purchaser, however we may agree to enter into brief correspondence to attempt to resolve any issue.

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Remortgage of Residential Property

If you are changing your mortgage provider, you will require the services of a Solicitor to act in this regard. This will involve providing advice to you, examination of title, drawing up a range of documents, including a new mortgage security and discharging the old mortgage. Reports and Searches are also required. Our fees also including requesting the funds from your new lender and redeeming the sums to your old lender. We will also ensure all documentation is registered timely and provide you with an up-dated copy of the Title following registration.

The fixed fee for this work may be £400 plus VAT of £80.00

OUTLAYS

  • Registration of the mortgage discharge - £70.00
  • Registration of the new mortgage - £70.00
  • Advance Notice to Keeper of the new mortgage - £20.00
  • Coal Report - £45.00
  • Legal Report & Property Enquiry Report - £120.00

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Discharge of Security (Mortgage has been paid off)

If you have paid off your mortgage, we can arrange for a formal discharge of the mortgage to be registered so as to up-date your Title to the property.
For a basic discharge of mortgage security the fee may be £100 plus vat £20.
The outlay is a charge of £70 payable to the Registers of Scotland.

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Power of Attorney

For a basic single POA, the fee may be £275 plus VAT of £55.00. If we require to travel to meet with you say in your home or a hospital environment there may be an additional cost. The Power of Attorney requires to be registered following your execution of same and the outlay for registration dues to the Office of the Public Guardian is currently £81.
If you are a couple looking to grant POA our fee in this regard is £400 plus VAT of £80.00. Again registration dues of £81 are payable for each POA.
The above fees are fixed and the number of attorneys you appoint within the Power of Attorney has no bearing on our fees or the registration dues.

Guardianship/Adults with Incapacity

Where the creation of a Power of Attorney is not possible or is inappropriate, the alternative is for a suitable person – who may be a family member or another - to apply to the Sheriff Court to be appointed Guardian. This is a complex and detailed court process. Legal Aid may be available where the parties are seeking welfare powers (as well a financial powers, if applicable) and we would always explore this avenue in the first instance. Legal Aid applications in this regard are based on the adult for whom guardianship is sought and not the person/s seeking to be appointed. If Legal Aid is not available for example if only financial powers are sought or a variation of an existing Guardianship is being sought, and the adult’s capital and income exceeds Legal Aid Board Means tests then our fees in this regard could be in the region of £1,500 plus VAT. This is an estimate and would be depend on the complexities of the application to the Court.

This does not include Court dues or outlays in respect of necessary reports for the Court.

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Children’s Hearings/Referrals

We can advise you before a Children’s Hearing and in some circumstances can accompany you to the Hearing. We can act on your behalf at a referral from the Panel to the Sheriff Court and can also deal with any appeal you may have to the Sheriff Court from a decision of the Panel.

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Accident Claims

We can act on your behalf in connection with all types of accident claims from trip and slip claims to those resulting from accidents in the work place. We are part of the Compensate Personal Injury Network and through this may be able to offer to carry out work on your behalf on a “no win no fee basis”. Through this network we also have links to Digby Brown Solicitors who are the largest pursuer Personal Injury firm in Scotland.

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