Unbundled Family Advice Becomes More Popular – But is it Right for You?
The body responsible for overseeing the regulation of lawyers in England and Wales, the Legal Services Board (LSB) has advised more law firms to move towards providing unbundled legal services to clients. The LSB says that this suggestion comes in response to "cuts in legal aid funding and wider financial struggles", and will help widen access to justice by making legal advice more affordable.
What Are 'Unbundled' Services?
Unbundling is when the legal service you need is split so that you can do some of the work yourself
. By choosing to take on some of the work independently, you'll be charged less. For example, in a private law family case you may be able to decide to prepare certain documents that the solicitor would normally do for you.
What Are The Benefits and The Risks?
You may decide to choose an unbundled service because you would like to save money that would otherwise be spent on legal fees, or because you would not be able to afford legal support without taking on some of the work yourself.
The report by the LSB found that people who have used unbundled services are "on the whole satisfied with the outcome of their matter"
and that many people even liked "the additional direct control that they felt by having a role in their own case work."
Whilst the LSB encourage the use of unbundled services, their research did find that sometimes this might just not be the right option for some people and their type of case. Issues include the need to deal with avoidable stress
and the scope for things going wrong should clients choose to take on too much
In certain private family law
cases it may be possible to speak with a solicitor to find out whether unbundling is suitable and how this could be arranged for your case whilst still maintaining the best outcome. Carol Chrisfield, our Associate Solicitor specialising in Family Law, explains:"Whilst we believe that unbundling is not always appropriate, we will always advise on the options available and if this is an appropriate service we can offer it. In circumstances where our client feels confident to represent themselves for much of the time, this can offer a good option, particularly where funding is an issue."
Simpson Millar's Flexible Payment Options
We understand that cuts to legal aid in family law cases have left many people to deal with their own divorce
and the financial and children issues
associated with this.We work hard to do everything we can to make our family services accessible to everyone, which is why we have created fixed fee structures so you have certainty over costs. We are also willing to consider personally tailored unbundled services after considering your case and the suitability of unbundling.