Perhaps, the best tip for EU citizens would be avoiding ever having to sue in the United Kingdom: as an option, signing contracts or cooperating with firms on the basis of German jurisdiction. The legal process in Britain is quite complicated, especially for foreign businesses and way more expensive than in continental Europe. If initiating the process in England is inevitable, you may find the following sources of information helpful.
The first overview can be found on the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs portal (be ready for some outdated and broken links). If you are fluent in English you can also drop in at a state public information hub, direct.gov.uk. Another summary (also in English) is published in the official information sheet EX301: ‘I’m in a dispute, what can I do?’. The subject of court costs is covered in the EX50 Leaflet available in PDF. Those looking to plunge into details can get acquainted with the legislation using an official 200-page commentary on the English procedural law, the Chancery Guide 2013. Frankly speaking, this one is too hard to digest.
The court costs are relatively low and therefore they are not the real hurdle. More problematic are the lawyer’s fees. In contrast to Germany, there is no binding on Lawyers’ fees in England. English solicitors and barristers (the actual trial lawyers) generally charge you on an hourly basis. But there are also the options of fixed fee and even banned in Germany no win no fee.
The hourly rate of a junior/mid attorney starts from 90 GBP, in most cases (especially in London) is significantly higher (in larger firms the range may easily go far beyond 300 GBP). Another difference from the German legal system is that in England, the unsuccessful is obliged to cover the legal costs of the other side in virtually all the cases. In no win no fee system even if the claimant wins, the legal fees may still be due to pay – we recommend to look through the hidden agendas of that option in the no win no fee general principles article. Actually, UK law is full of tricky cases, the comprehensive view is the English Civil Procedure Rules.
The no win no fee system is a decent legal instrument for common people: thus, those who don’t have access to costly legal instruments may resort to the accident in case of whiplash accidents and personal injuries. Forster Dean is one of the most prominent UK no win no fee agencies with numerous offices throughout the country:
- Birkenhead (Wirral)
- Chorley (Lancashire)
- Crewe (Cheshire)
- Eccles (Greater Manchester)
- Ellesmere Port (Cheshire)
- Hanley (Staffordshire)
- Harpurhey (Greater Manchester)
- Leigh (Greater Manchester)
- Liverpool (Bootle)
- Liverpool (County Road, Walton)
- Liverpool (Huyton)
- Liverpool (Old Swan)
- Liverpool (Tuebrook)
- Newcastle-under-Lyme (Staffordshire)
- Oldham (Greater Manchester)
- Preston (Lancashire)
- Rochdale (Greater Manchester)
- Runcorn (Cheshire)
- St Helens (Merseyside)
- Stafford (Staffordshire)
- Stockport (Cheshire)
- Walsall (West Midlands)
- Warrington (Cheshire)
- Widnes (Cheshire)
- Widnes – Conveyancing Department (Cheshire)
- Wigan (Greater Manchester)
However, the access to the legal tool is the prerogative of UK residents, so it is a no option for EU citizens.However, if you are looking for solutions for EU citizens in the UK you can check Solicitors Guru, a database of legal companeies focusing on a broad variety of services.