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Every lawyer decides on how much his/her fees will be for particular types of work. It is important to come to an agreement about the fees before the lawyer starts the work. Most lawyers require a deposit prior to doing any legal work on your behalf.

There are a number of ways lawyers structure their fees for representing you in a criminal case:

  • Hourly Fee - The lawyer charges per hour, regardless of what work was done. Your lawyer must disclose to you upfront what his hourly fee is.
  • Day Fee - The lawyer may quote a specific fee for every time the matter is postponed, and another fee for each day of your trial or bail application, irrespective     of the number of hours spend waiting at court for your case to be heard.
  • Global Fee - The lawyer may give you an option of quoting you a single fee for finalizing the entire case on your behalf. This could exclude, for example, a bail application and the possible appeal process that may follow. The above will normally exclude other costs and provisional payments (for example, for obtaining a copy of the police docket) that your lawyer may make on your behalf. Lawyers' fees are obviously higher, and carry a surcharge, for doing work outside of normal court hours or on weekends and public holidays.

Reducing Your Legal Costs and Expenses

If you have discussed the basis and nature of legal fees and costs with your lawyer, you have taken the necessary first step to control your legal expenses. There are, however, a few things you can do during the course of the matter to help you manage the overall fees and costs:

  • Get Organized. During your initial interview, bring as much information as you can and share it with your lawyer. If you have already appeared in court, make sure you know your case number and the dates of your previous and next appearances in court. Write down the questions that you want your lawyer to answer. This could help cut down the time that the lawyer will spend investigating the case and gathering information.
  • Be Thorough. Tell your lawyer all the facts. Do not assume that your lawyer knows them all. In order to present your case efficiently, it will help your lawyer to know as much as possible about your case. All your information ought to be kept in confidence.
  • Be Efficient. Try to be as concise as possible.
  • Communicate. You need to discuss the case with your lawyer and prepare for meetings. You are probably the primary source of information about your case. If something new happens, you should inform your lawyer. It may change the approach the lawyer takes with the case, saving you and your lawyer time and money.
  • Examine your Bill. Make sure that your bill does not contain costs or expenses beyond those you agreed to pay.


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