What is a disbursement?

What is a disbursement?

When we write to you the first time we set out lots of information about your matter. One of the things we explain is what a disbursement is.

We also explain what a disbursement is in several places on this website in places where you would expect to find information regarding your payments to us and payments we make on behalf of clients.

Most legal matters incur ‘disbursements’, so it is important to explain why we charge them, what they are and when we take payment for them.

A ‘disbursement’ is an expenditure incurred which is necessary to progress the matter on which you instructed us. Court Fees, Search Fees and Land Registry fees are examples of disbursements.

We try to inform you in advance of the disbursements you should expect to pay and why they are necessary. For example, if you are buying a house, you will receive a list of disbursements payable when you receive your initial quotation from us.  If there are any changes to these fees we keep you informed and explain why the changes have happened.

Disbursements are billed to you at cost this means we do not add any further costs to them. For example, if a Court Fee is £167, we will charge you £167 if you are privately paying. If you are legally aided, payments for disbursements are usually included in the legal aid funding.

Usually, disbursements once paid to the third party by us are non-refundable to our client.

Most disbursements are paid from our own bank account and we then request you to repay us. Sometimes,  we request that you pay a disbursement to us in advance of it being paid, perhaps because the disbursement costs are high. Don’t forget that we will have informed you of the costs in advance and before the onset of your matter, so you should be prepared to make the payment to us.

When you pay us for disbursements the funds are deposited in our client account and then used to pay the disbursement.

If we have paid the funds ourselves in advance of your payment , we will transfer the exact cost of the disbursement from your client account to our own company bank account to reimburse our expenditure.

We won’t transfer a disbursement fee that you have paid us to our own account until we have actually paid for the disbursement on your behalf.

We account to you for the disbursement payments in our interim, final bills or in the case of a house purchase in the final completion statement.

Sometimes disbursements cost less or more than anticipated and if you have paid us in advance for the disbursement we will refund you as part of our final billing or request a balancing payment if they have cost more. If a disbursement has cost more we will always inform you in advance and why it has cost more.

Usually a disbursement costs more when there are increases to the fees for publicly provided services. For instance, every few years the Courts and Land Registry increases their fees. The private companies we use periodically increase their charges for example when a water company has put up their fees for a search report.

We will always be clear with you about the disbursements we pay on your behalf and their costs but if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the solicitor or lawyer named in your client care letter who is acting on your behalf.

For more information on disbursements, paying us and how we return funds to our clients please give us a call on 0191 4555361.