Wednesday 3 October 2012

• 28% of over 50s in the UK say they have been involved in a legal dispute • Most disputes are about motoring issues or problems with neighbours • 52% have sought legal help to resolve a dispute, but over half of these are unhappy with the service received • Saga launches new Legal Essentials product offering unlimited free legal advice, 24 hours a day


More than a quarter of over 50s have been involved in a legal dispute according to research by Saga Legal Solutions.*  These disputes most commonly arise at home amongst neighbours or on the road between motorists.  Neighbour and property disputes, such as arguments over boundaries and noise account for 38% of all clashes and motoring incidents account for a further 28%.  Over half (52%) of those involved in a dispute have taken legal action to try to resolve it and are spending on average £1,283 on legal advice.

Over 60% of the 10,203 over 50s surveyed paid nothing for legal advice in connection with a motoring incident, the reason for this is that many people have a motor legal protection policy.  So whilst people see the need to be covered in case of legal disputes involving motoring issues, they are less clear when it comes to protecting themselves at home - and when neighbours turn nasty, for example cutting down people’s trees or replacing their fence when they’re out, they end up paying huge legal fees in order to resolve the problem.  When it comes to the cost of legal advice for property and neighbour disputes the average fee for advice relating to a row over property is £1331, for nuisance neighbours it is £879

There appears to be much cause for complaint amongst those who have had to seek legal help to resolve their dispute, in particular relating to the fees charged and the service received.  One in 8 (13%) say they were unclear of the cost of legal advice until afterwards, which clearly came as a shock to many as the average fee paid was so high.  In fact, 16% said that the advice cost more than they had expected it to.  31% were unhappy that the process was so slow and 11% were fed up of having to continuously chase for updates.

In order to make legal services more accessible and understandable to people, Saga has launched a Legal Essentials package, offering unlimited free legal advice and up to £100,000 of legal cover for a fixed fee of just £45 or £30 to existing Saga customers. 

Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services, commented: “It seems that people increasingly believe in standing up for their rights and more are forced to have to defend themselves when challenged.  However, what people are telling us is that they don’t know whether they are getting value for money from legal services as they currently stand and they are unhappy with costs spiralling out of control and that is something we want to change with our new service.”
“Having just launched the service, perhaps one of the most surprising causes of neighbour disputes is loud snoring coming from next door!”

Saga Legal Essentials also offers customers a free standard online will and annual review to ensure it still reflects their needs, giving them peace of mind that their wishes will be carried out after they have gone.   Customers also have access to an online vault where they can store legal and other important documents securely in one place, making it much easier to find them when they need them.  In addition, customers buying Saga Legal Essentials are entitled to 20% of other Saga Legal Services such as conveyancing, wills and probate.


Notes to editors
*based on populus research amongst 10,203 over 50s between 29th and 31st August 2012

Causes of legal disputes:

Motoring Issues  28% 
Employment 26%
Personal Injury  25% 
Property & Neighbours (noise, boundary, planning issues)  38% 
Buying or selling goods  10% 
Contents of a will  8% 
Tenants  8% 

The average cost of settling legal disputes:

 Cause of dispute Average cost of legal advice 
Contents of a will £2003
Property £1331
Neighbours  £879 
Personal Injury  £816 
Tenants  £713 
Buying or selling goods  £490 
Motoring Issues  £146* 

*The reason that the cost of legal expenses for motoring issues is so low is down to the fact that so many people have a motor legal protection policy to claim from in the event of an accident, so the most they will have to pay is an excess and the insurance covers the rest.

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