This guidance sets out the Legal Ombudsman’s view of good costs service. Costs and cost information frequently feature in the complaints we receive.

We first published this guidance in 2014. In this third edition, we have acknowledged that, in the time that has passed since the second edition, a number of high-profile court cases have put a spotlight on the cost information lawyers give to their clients.

Our position on costs issues hasn’t changed since the last edition of this guidance – a client should never be surprised by the bill they receive from their lawyer – but we have added information which we hope will help lawyers and clients understand what we consider to be reasonable service.

The quality of cost information is especially important, given that many people who engage with legal services are experiencing stressful and difficult situations. Their focus will often be on things other than how much they are paying for the work and our guidance is designed to help lawyers deliver a service that reflects the individual client’s needs.

This guidance also includes a range of worked examples, which provide practical insight into how we resolve complaints.

For further information, the following guidance is available: