We have specific expertise in co-habitation cases where the relationship has broken down and there is a dispute over the property. This area of law is not the same as family law and people often confuse the two. There is no such thing as a “common law marriage” in English law and the issues around ownership can be complex and often relates to the intention of the parties at the time they purchased the property rather than any idea of a “fair share”, as is the case in a divorce.
We can act on a standard retainer on our normal hourly rate but we can also act on a No Win No Fee basis. We have found this is sometimes necessary where a client is faced with a wealthier opponent who is determined not to part with a share of the property and the client is concerned at the legal costs he or she will be forced to incur. In such cases our legal fees can be paid upon successful completion of the case, out of the equity in the property. A typical percentage would be 25%, but this will vary depending upon the risks involved.
We do require some level of initial payment on account in most cases when we are considering No Win No Fee. This is in order to carry out a proper assessment of the claim, because we will only do No Win No Fee if the merits are strong. This is invariably 2-3 hours of work on simple cases, 5 hours on longer ones. If the prospects of success of a substantial settlement are poor we may simply advise you at that point that you should “walk away” rather than spend more time and money on pursuing a risky claim.
Alex Woods has business contacts in Europe and splits his time between the UK and the continent. This service may be of special interest to overseas clients in Europe and elsewhere who may have returned home after the break-up of a relationship and need help with understanding their legal position in the UK and their legal rights.