Stowe Family Law

Stowe Family Law Solicitors cheap low cost divorce ... I think not!

A quick Google for UK divorce costs will show you that the petitioner will normally pay in the region of £700 in solicitor's fees, plus VAT (£840), plus £550 for the court fees. Stowe Family Law will try and charge you over £6000 for an uncontested simple divorce, (at least 6 times the going rate!) their hourly rate is well above the average even for a senior solicitor at £260/hour + VAT and for that they will field a solicitor of such incompetence that they even charge you for RESENDING emails because they forgot an attachment. They will fish for responses “please confirm you have received X & Y” charge £31, “Yes I have received X & Y” charged £31 for reading etc. etc. They have “invented” incoming emails from me and charged at £31 a time for “reading” them. They will disingenuously ask to clarify the bleeding obvious (and charge £31 for the email) and then another £31 to read a one line reply! They will perform unnecessary tasks, Land Registry searches etc. even though in this case a property transfer, already in joint names, was being handled by a proper Conveyancing solicitor from another firm. The will charge enormous sums for filling in simple forms, as far as I can tell, filing for a divorce is a simple process, any buffoon could fill in the forms, and yet Stowes manage to charge £655 to prepare a Consent Order! The initial handler in this case, Lorraine Ridley, suddenly disappeared without warning (presumably fired after complaints of incompetence and inaction from several clients) Stowe Family Law then charge you for re-drafting the work of the departed, presumably because it was a crock of shit. I haven’t confirmed this yet, but to get their bill to add up it looks like they have charged VAT on court fees, and there is no VAT on court fees. Best of all, they revealed to me my wife’s new email address, that is very unprofessional, a gross breach of client confidentiality and probably a breach of the Data Protection act, they should be thankful I am not a vengeful stalker otherwise there could be trouble!
So to sum up avoid Stowe Family Law, well the Leeds branch anyway, as you will be grossly overcharged, faced with incompetence, false accounting and other dubious practices!
Rant over ... for now.

Slightly anonymised bill below

HandlerActionDateNotesUnitsCostMy Comment
Lorraine RidleyTelephone call in11/01/2021Call from Client5£130.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in12/01/2021Email in from client verifying email address1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in13/01/2021Correspondence received from Client1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in13/01/2021internal email MR to LR - Non chargeable1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in13/01/2021INTERNAL Email from Accounts confirming receipt of 1000 on account for1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in13/01/2021Email in from client with ID Docs + Copy Marriage Certificate - Non1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out13/01/2021Email to client re TOB - Non Chargeable1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out13/01/2021Internal email to MR1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out18/01/2021Email to client re name for Petition1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in18/01/2021Imported file -1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyPreparation18/01/2021Preparation of Divorce Petition - 2 units2£52.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in18/01/2021Correspondence received from Client1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in18/01/2021Correspondence received from Client1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out20/01/2021Email to client - Petition lodged with Court1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out20/01/2021Letter to OP1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out20/01/2021Email to client with draft letter to OPS1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out21/01/2021Email to client with copy email from OP1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in21/01/2021Correspondence received from Client1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out21/01/2021Email to OP re Divorce and Finances1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out21/01/2021Email to client - letter sent to OP via email1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in21/01/2021Email in from OP1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out21/01/2021Email to client - OP has received LR's email1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in21/01/2021Email in from OP - he has appointment with solicitors next week1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out21/01/2021Email to OP1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in22/01/2021Correspondence received from Client1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out22/01/2021Email to client re finances and conduct in financial proceedings1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in22/01/2021Email from client - is collating financial disclosure1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in26/01/2021Email from client with bank statements1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in26/01/2021Email from client enclosing portfolio1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in26/01/2021Correspondence received from Other Party1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in28/01/2021Documents received from client - recorded as received on file - non1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out29/01/2021Email to client to confirm her documents have been scanned across to me -1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in29/01/2021Email in from client - LR will peruse all documents and then revert to1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out29/01/2021Email to client with OP email1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out29/01/2021Email resent as no attachments sent with previous one - non chargeable1£26.00!!!!
Lorraine RidleyLetter in29/01/2021Email in from client - she has dropped documents off at Harrogate office -1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out29/01/2021Email to HMCTS re Divorce1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in29/01/2021Email in from OP re finances1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in29/01/2021Email in from client with portfolio1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in29/01/2021Email in from client with bank statements1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in29/01/2021internal email - AL to LR - client has brought documents in to the office1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out29/01/2021Non chargeable1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyTelephone call in01/02/2021Call from client re disclosure from OP - all appears to be in order apart2£52.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in01/02/2021Email in from client - she will peruse disclosure from OP and we will chat1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out03/02/2021Email to Mr W enclosing client's financial disclosure documents1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in03/02/2021Email in from OP with income and outgoings list1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in03/02/2021Email in from OP - will provide list of outgoings - wants pensions to be1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in03/02/2021Email in from client with copy of OP's pension statement1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in03/02/2021Email received from OP - acknowledging receipt of client's documentation1£26.00
Michelle RichardsonPreparation13/01/2021Carrying out SmartSearch - PASS1£0.00
Michelle RichardsonLetter out25/01/2021Email to Client requesting further copy Marriage Certificate with all four1£0.00
Michelle RichardsonTelephone call in26/01/2021Call from client response to request for further copy of Marriage2£0.00
Michelle RichardsonLetter in26/01/2021Email in from client enc further copy Marriage Certificate (showing all 41£0.00
Michelle RichardsonLetter out26/01/2021Email to Client - Reply ack receipt of further copies Marriage Certificate1£0.00
Michelle RichardsonTelephone call in27/01/2021Call from client - Dropping financial documentation into the Harrogate1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyPreparation17/02/2021Preparation of Schedule of Assets - 7 units7£182.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out17/02/2021Email to client with schedule of assets1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyTelephone call in17/02/2021Call from client4£104.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out19/02/2021Client1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyPreparation19/02/2021Preparation - drafting offer letter to OP2£52.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in19/02/2021Email in from client - will respond to LR email when she returns home1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in19/02/2021Email in from client - draft letter approved1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out19/02/2021Email to client re costs of financial matters - does she want to include1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in19/02/2021Email in from client - include costs of financial matters in letter to OPS1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out19/02/2021Email to OP re client's proposals for settlement1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out19/02/2021Email to client enclosing copy of letter sent to OP for her records1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out19/02/2021Email to client - NC1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in19/02/2021Email from client acknowledging receipt of correspondence sent to OP1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in22/02/2021Email in from OP re client's proposals1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out22/02/2021Email to client enclosing email in from OP1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out22/02/2021Email to OP - we shall provide breakdown of figures referred to in1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out03/03/2021Email to client1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out03/03/2021Email to Court re divorce - NC to client1£0.00
Michelle RichardsonTelephone call out03/03/2021Call to Client - Wants a copy of her council tax annual statement which1£10.00
Sarah Barr-YoungLetter out21/02/2021File Review has been completed on case 184054.0011£0.00
Sarah Barr-YoungPreparation21/02/2021Strategy File Review Completed1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out23/03/2021Email to OP re proposals for settlement1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in23/03/2021Email from client - is happy1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in23/03/2021Email from client ? re draft letter1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out23/03/2021Email to client draft letter attached to OP1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out23/03/2021WP letter to OP1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out23/03/2021Email to MLR re-drafted Divorce petition1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyTelephone call in23/03/2021Call to Client2£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter Out23/03/2021Email to Client re OPS cancer treatment did you take time off work ?1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter Out23/03/2021Email to client with letter to OP1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter Out25/03/2021Email to client1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter Out25/03/2021Email to OPS we are taking instructions1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in25/03/2021Email in from OP re offer1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in31/03/2021Correspondence from BILL ???1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in31/03/2021Email from Court1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in31/03/2021Email from OPS discussed matter with Client and agreed on 180K1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter Out31/03/2021Email to Client will draft consent order1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter Out01/04/2021Email to OP notify will receive court petition soon1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in01/04/2021Email from OP re no petition received1£26.00
Michelle RichardsonTelephone out05/03/2021Returning Call to client chasing settlement2£0.00
Michelle RichardsonLetter in08/03/2021Email from client ? requesting timescale1£0.00
Michelle Richardsonletter out09/03/2021Email to Client ? confirming letter to OP to be sent soon1£0.00
Michelle RichardsonLetter in09/03/2021Email from client thanks for update1£0.00
Michelle RichardsonPreparation16/03/2021Updating proclaim from portal2£0.00
Michelle RichardsonPreparation16/03/2021Drafting amended divorce petition5£0.00
Michelle RichardsonTelephone out16/03/2021Calling Court to check position8£0.00
Michelle RichardsonPreparation16/03/2021Checking portal for update regards withdrawal request1£0.00
Michelle RichardsonTelephone out17/03/2021call to client returning her call1£0.00
Michelle RichardsonLetter in17/03/2021Email from client1£0.00
Sarah Barr-YoungTelephone out17/03/20211£0.00
Debbie HealdPreparation22/04/2021dictating of note call with client1£0.00
Debbie HealdPreparation22/04/2021Brief review of case prior to call with client (no charge)2£0.00
Debbie HealdTelephone call out22/04/2021Call to Client 22.04.2021 (no charge)2£52.00!!!!
Debbie HealdLetter out23/04/2021Financial Remedy Order - DLH Draft 23.04.20215£130.00
Debbie HealdLetter out23/04/2021Costs review letter to client1£26.00
Debbie HealdPreparation23/04/2021Preparation of costs review1£26.00
Debbie HealdPreparation23/04/2021Review of file on handover (no charge)6£0.00
Debbie HealdLetter out23/04/2021Letter to client with draft consent order & advice5£130.00
Debbie HealdPreparation23/04/2021Peruse certificate of entitlement to a decree and costs position1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter out23/04/2021Informing client of the certificate of pronouncement of decree received1£0.00
Debbie HealdPreparation23/04/2021File Note - Costs review 23.04.20211£26.00
Debbie HealdPreparation23/04/2021Non chargeable time spent on consent order4£0.00
Debbie HealdPreparation26/04/2021consider and amend long letter of advice to client re consent order1£26.00
Debbie HealdPreparation26/04/2021non chargeable time considering and amending long letter of advice to2£0.00
Debbie HealdLetter out28/04/2021Email to client addressing consent order query1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in28/04/2021DN notification sent to LR (no charge)1£0.00
Debbie HealdLetter in28/04/2021Email in from client with instructions on consent order1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in28/04/2021Email from client with instructions on consent order1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in28/04/2021Email in from client -query on consent order1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in28/04/2021Email in from client with instructions on consent order1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in28/04/2021Email from client agreeing costs update (no charge)1£0.00
Debbie HealdLetter out28/04/2021Email to client next steps1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in28/04/2021Email in from client with instructions on consent order1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter out29/04/2021Office copies request1£0.00
Debbie HealdLetter out29/04/2021Letter to opponent with consent documentation1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter out29/04/2021Letter to client with amended consent documentation for approval1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter out29/04/2021Financial Remedy Order - DLH Draft 29.04.20212£52.00
Debbie HealdPreparation29/04/2021Considering OCEs for land and properties and updating order2£52.00
Debbie HealdLetter out29/04/2021Email to client1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in29/04/2021Email in from client1£26.00
Debbie HealdPreparation29/04/2021Check and amend D811£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in29/04/2021Email in from client - thank you (no charge)1£0.00
Debbie HealdLetter in30/04/2021Email in from client - instructions on consent order1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in30/04/2021Email in from client - instructions on consent order1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter out30/04/2021Financial Remedy Order - DLH Draft 30.04.20211£0.00
Debbie HealdPreparation30/04/2021Finalise D81 Consent order and letter OPS1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter out30/04/2021Email to client confirming documentation sent1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in30/04/2021Email in from opponent re consent documentation1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter out30/04/2021Email to client with email in from opponent1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in30/04/2021Email in from client1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in30/04/2021Email in from client1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter out30/04/2021Email to opponent re D811£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter out30/04/2021Email to client1£26.00
Debbie HealdLetter in30/04/2021Email in from client (no charge)1£0.00
Debbie HealdLetter in30/04/2021Email in from client - instructions on consent order1£26.00
Jo ChildsPreparation29/04/2021Preparation - finding the correct piece of land during Land Registry1£10.00
Jo ChildsTelephone call in29/04/2021Call from client re Land Registry search1£10.00
Jo ChildsPreparation29/04/2021Preparation - obtaining OCE for 3 properties and looking at the land but1£10.00
Lorraine RidleyPreparation06/04/2021Preparation of Consent Order and Statement of Information form - 10 units10£260.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in08/04/2021Email from Court - application for Decree Nisi lodged with the Court1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in08/04/2021Email from Court - AOS filed by OP1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in08/04/2021Email in from client re transfer of 43 - she will contact a conveyancing1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out08/04/2021Email to client re Divorce - update1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in09/04/2021Email from client re conveyancing costs1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out09/04/2021Email to client - re her email re conveyancing costs1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in09/04/2021Email in from client re conveyancing costs1£26.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter out16/04/2021Email to client - NC - re handover1£0.00
Lorraine RidleyLetter in16/04/2021Email in from client re conveyancing costs re 43 MD1£26.00
Melanie DawesTelephone call in22/04/2021Call from client following on from LR's leaving email.1£0.00
Melanie DawesTelephone call in30/04/2021Call from client1£0.00
Michelle RichardsonPreparation23/04/2021Downloading all divorce documents from the portal and updating Proclaim3£0.00
TOTAL for unit charged work£3836.00
+VAT£767.20
Not Yet Billed£558.50
+VAT£111.70
Court Fees: lodging the divorce petition£550.00
Court Fees: lodging financial application£50.00
Office Copies£6.00
+VAT£121.20!!! VAT ON COURT FEES
Grand Total£6000.60

They also invisage a further £260+VAT of work on top of this bill!