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How to charge ethically in an online world

How much value do solicitors really add to some digitally-enabled processes, and should they reduce their fees accordingly or even turn away work, asks Mena Ruparel

24 June 2019

 
It came as something of a surprise for private client practitioners to discover that their clients could claim a refund of a fee, if they registered a power of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 of March 2017.
 
It is almost unheard of for registration fees to be refunded or reduced, practitioners are accustomed to annual fee increases. The refunded fees vary from £54 to £34, so not a fortune. 
 
However, the application process for a refund can be completed online in just 10 minutes. The reason for the government’s decision for the fee reduction is to refund fees charged in excess of the fee needed to process the application.
 
It seems that during the relevant period, the operating costs reduced but the fee did not reflect that reduction. The reduced fee of £82 (from £110) fairly reflected the operating costs of the Office of the Public Guardian.
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