1.WHO WE ARE
- We are a partnership regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and our registration number is
Our VAT number is
2.OUR HOURS OF BUSINESS
- Our core office hours are between 9.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday but our telephones may be answered outside these hours.
3.LEVEL OF SERVICE
- We will aim to reply to letters and other communications from you and others promptly and to keep you updated with the progress of your matter.
4.PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WORK
- We will not change the persons dealing with your matter unless necessary. We will tell you promptly of any change.
5.COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND US
- We will aim to communicate with you by such a method as agreed and we will accept verbal or written instructions from you.
- We may use fax or electronic mail for communication and for sending documents to you and other relevant parties via the Internet but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by fax or electronic mail.
- Where we act for two or more clients jointly, it is on the clear understanding that we are authorised to act on instructions from any of them unless we are otherwise instructed.
- Client care is of paramount importance to us. We strive to provide a quality service to every client, appreciating that a small claim is as important to an individual as a large financial transaction to a corporate client.
- We hope that you will be pleased with the work we do for you. In the unlikely event that you have a problem with the service provided or about our charges please raise it with the person dealing with your matter, as it is always best if any dissatisfaction or misunderstanding is dealt with speedily. If the problem is not resolved in that way, please ask for the matter to be considered by one or another of the partners. Should this not resolve the matter, you may also raise any issues with Stephen Goldberg, our partner in charge of service standards.
- If, for any reason, we are unable to resolve the problem to your satisfaction, the Legal Ombudsman operates a complaints and redress scheme, details of which can be obtained from Stephen Goldberg. You have a right to complain to the Legal Ombudsman after you have exhausted our internal procedures.
7.CHARGES AND EXPENSES
- Our charges will usually be calculated by reference to the time actually spent by the people working on your matter. This work may include meetings; reading, preparing and working on papers; making and receiving telephone calls, emails, faxes and text messages; preparation of any detailed costs estimates, schedules and bills; attending at court; and time necessarily spent travelling away from the office.
- The current hourly rates are set out below. We will add VAT to these at the rate that applies when the work is done.
Partners and Consultants £230 to £290 Other Solicitors £160 to £220 Junior Executives/Personal Assistants £120
- These hourly rates are reviewed annually in July to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect.
- Other factors may result in the rates charged for time spent on the matter being uplifted. Such factors, include for example, where a matter is of a high value or is complex or is of special importance, or is undertaken urgently. The percentage uplift will depend on what factors are involved. You will be informed of any such circumstances and your agreement to such charges being made will be obtained before they are applied.
- In some matters, for example property and probate and administration of estates, we may also make an additional charge reflecting, for example, the price of the property or the size and nature of the estate. We call this a value element. We will tell you if we intend charging a value element.
- If we need to pay expenses on your behalf, such as Land or Probate Registry fees, court fees or experts' fees, we may require you to provide us in advance with the funds for that purpose. We refer to such payments generally as 'disbursements'.
- When we give you a fee estimate, this is based on the information then available to us. We reserve the right to revise the fee estimate if we are required to carry out additional work. You will be notified if this arises.
- If we are acting for you in a property matter, which for any reason does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred. Property sales and purchases which fail to complete often involve as much work as those which reach completion. Any charge made will not exceed the amount of our estimate given on the basis of a completed transaction.
- Where these Terms and Conditions of Business apply to more than one person your liability to us will be joint and several, by which is meant that each person is individually liable for the full amount of our fees.
- All our bills will be primarily payable by you, whether or not you have an agreement or arrangement with a third party for their payment.
- When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a Limited Company, we may require a director and/or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of our charges and expenses. If such a request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our charges and expenses incurred.
- You have the right to object to our bill and apply for an assessment of the bill under Part II of the Solicitors Act 1974.
- From time to time we may ask you to pay money on account of anticipated fees and expenses and we will notify you separately of the amount of any advance that is required.
- When we render bills to you, we will offset any advance you have made to us against the bill.
- We will normally render interim bills from time to time to assist you to budget for costs. The final bill will normally be sent at the conclusion of the matter or on the termination of our retainer.
- In property transactions we will normally send you our bill following the exchange of contracts, which will need to be paid prior to or on completion. If monies are available from the proceeds of sale and we have sent you a bill, we will use those monies towards payment of our bill.
- We regret that in the event of full payment of a bill or an advance on account of costs not being made, we must reserve the right to decline to act any further, even though matters may not be completed and to charge the full amount for the work carried out up to that date.
- Payment is due to us within one month after we deliver a bill failing which interest will be charged on a daily basis thereafter at the rate payable on Judgment debts from time to time from the date of the bill.
- Payments can be made to us by cash, cheque, standing order, BACS, CHAPS and most credit or debit cards.
- Monies due to you from us will usually be paid by cheque or bank transfer and will not be made payable to a third party.
- We are entitled in accordance with common law to retain any money, papers or other property belonging to you which properly come into our possession pending payment of our charges, whether or not the property is acquired in connection with the matter for which the charges were incurred. This is known as a “general lien”. We are not entitled to sell property held under a lien but we are entitled to hold property, other than money, even if the value of it greatly exceeds the amount due to us in respect of our charges.
10.RECOVERY OF CHARGES AND EXPENSES IN CONTENTIOUS MATTERS
- If you are entitled to recover payment of your costs from another person, it is important that you understand that the other person may not be required to pay all the charges and expenses which you incur with us. You have to pay our charges and expenses in the first place and any amounts which can be recovered will be a contribution towards them. The other party will not be liable to pay the VAT element of your costs if you are able to recover the VAT yourself.
- In court proceedings our hourly rates may not be recovered in full from the losing party.
- If the other party is in receipt of community legal service funding (“legal aid”), it is possible that no costs will be recovered.
- If appropriate, we have already discussed with you whether any other form of funding may be available to you.
- If you are successful and a court orders another party to pay some or all of your charges and expenses, interest can be claimed from the other party from the date of the court order. We will account to you for such interest to the extent that you have paid our charges or expenses on account, but we are entitled to the rest of that interest.
- You will also be responsible for paying our charges and expenses of seeking to recover any costs that the court orders the other party to pay to you.
- If you are unsuccessful in a court case, you may be ordered to pay the other party's legal costs. It may be possible to take out insurance to cover liability for such costs, which we will discuss with you where appropriate.
- Any money we receive on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Interest will be calculated and paid to you in accordance with the Solicitors' Accounts Rules 1998, which provides that interest is not payable on funds held in our general client account if the amount of interest calculated is less than £20.
12.FINANCIAL SERVICES AND INSURANCE MEDIATION
- If, while we are acting for you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Services Authority, as we are not. However, as we are regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority, we may be able to provide certain limited investment services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you.
- We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on their register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. Insurance mediation activities and investment services, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, are regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.
- The Law Society is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, but responsibility for regulation and complaints handling has been separated from the Law Society’s representative functions. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory body of the Law Society and the Legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints handling body of the Law Society.
- Any work that we do for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. Unless otherwise stated we will not give tax advice, but we are able to assist you to obtain any such advice should you request it.
14.IDENTITY, DISCLOSURE AND CONFIDENTIALITY REQUIREMENTS
- In order to comply with the law on money laundering, we will ask you to provide evidence of your identity. We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply this.
- Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of the client confidential. This obligation, however, is subject to a statutory exception: Legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. Where a solicitor knows or suspects that a transaction on behalf of a client involves money laundering, the solicitor may be required to make a money laundering disclosure. If, while we are acting for you, it becomes necessary to make such a disclosure, we may not be able to inform you that it has been made, or of the reasons for it, because the law prohibits ‘tipping-off’. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why. Where the law permits us to do, we will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what action we may need to take.
- We may be subject to audit or quality checks by external organizations to whom we may need to produce your files. They will be required to maintain confidentiality.
- We will collect personal information from you in the course of providing legal services to you. Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. We may use your details to send you information relating to our firm and our newsletters unless you request us not to do so.
- We may need to disclose your information to third parties (such as barristers, accountants or government agencies) to enable us to handle your matters. We may also permit third parties (such as our auditors and the Solicitors Regulation Authority) to have access to your information for administrative or regulatory purposes. We will not otherwise disclose your information to any third party unless permitted or required to do so by law.
- The information we collect from you may include sensitive personal information about your race or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, trade union membership, health, sexual life, criminal offences or proceedings. In order to carry out your instructions, we may also, very occasionally, need to transfer your information to countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) which do not provide the same level of data protection as the UK. By instructing us, you consent to us processing your sensitive personal information and transferring your personal information outside the EEA, to the extent necessary for the purposes set out above.
- You have the right to ask for a copy of your information (for which we may charge a small fee) and to correct any inaccuracies in the information we hold about you. You also have the right to ask us to stop using your information for marketing purposes. If you wish to exercise these rights or have any questions regarding our use of your personal information please contact our Data Protection Officer. We are registered with the Information Commissioner under number Z5525039. Further information regarding data protection and privacy is available from www.ico.gov.uk.
16.ELECTRONIC STORAGE OF INFORMATION
- We may electronically store any information you give us or that we obtain in the conduct of your work. We may also make that information available to you through electronic means. We will use reasonable endeavours to keep that information secure and take appropriate technical and organisational measures against the unauthorised or unlawful processing and accidental loss, destruction or damage of any personal data within that information. It is impossible to guarantee that your information will be free from every possible security breach, and you acknowledge and accept that risk in instructing us.
17.LIMITATION OF OUR LIABILITY
- Unless otherwise agreed in writing the total liability of this firm, its partners and employees in connection with or arising, directly or indirectly, from this or any other matter will be limited to the sum of £10,000,000 (Ten Million Pounds) per matter or linked matters, which is the limit of our professional indemnity insurance. This limit will cover all claims of any sort whatsoever whether arising in contract negligence or otherwise and all losses or damages including interest, costs and expenses.
- To the extent that it is effective in law to do so, these Terms and Conditions of Business also limit our liability to those who are not our clients but who it is foreseeable may benefit from or be affected by the services we provide, to the same extent as if they were a client of this firm. This limitation shall not be interpreted as an assumption of liability on our part to anyone who is not our client.
- We will not be liable to you if any money held in our client account is lost due to any failure in the banking system including bank collapse.
18.FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPENSATION SCHEME (FSCS)
- We will be holding your money with either Barclays Bank or Allied Irish Bank (GB).
- Please note that the £50,000 FSCS limit applies to the individual client and so if you hold other personal monies yourself in the same bank as our client account, the limit remains at £50,000 in total.
- It may be that the same deposit taking institution has several brands and could be trading under different names. You should therefore check either with your bank, the Financial Services Authority or a financial adviser for more information.
- In the event of a bank failure, if we make a claim under the FSCS in respect of client money we are holding on your behalf, we will, subject to your consent, give certain client information to the FSCS to help them identify clients and amounts to which clients are entitled in client accounts.
19.PARTICULAR PROVISIONS FOR PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS
- Where we also act for your proposed lender in this transaction, we will have a duty to fully reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the purchase and mortgage. This includes any difference between your mortgage application and information that we receive during the transaction, as well as any cash back or discount schemes that a seller is giving you.
- We will not advise you on the planning implications of your proposed purchase unless agreed, but we will report to you on the results of the ‘local search’.
- We shall not advise on the valuation of the property, nor the suitability of your mortgage nor any other financial arrangements.
- By signing these Terms and Conditions of Business and returning it to us you authorise us to disclose to the other parties in the transaction and, if applicable to all other parties in the chain of transactions and their agents and advisers, all information which we have in relation to your involvement in the transaction.
20.INTRODUCTIONS AND REFERRALS
- This section applies only where you have been introduced to us by a third party (“the introducer”) and we are obliged to pay the introducer a referral fee.
- The fee will be paid by us to the introducer and will not be added to your bill. The fee is an arrangement between us and the introducer and is in no way your liability. We will inform you in writing of the amount of any fee paid to the introducer which is calculated by reference to that referral.
- Despite this financial relationship, we will provide you with independent advice and you are free to raise questions on all aspects of your matter.
- We may be required to provide updates from time to time to the introducer as to the progress of your case, which may include specific information you have given to us.
- Information you disclose to us will not be disclosed to the introducer unless you consent. However, if you do not consent we might be obliged to cease acting.
- We anticipate we will continue to act for you until we have completed the work you’ve instructed us to carry out. However, we may decide to stop acting for you with good reason, for example, if you do not pay an interim bill or where a conflict of interest arises. If this happens, we will advise you as soon as possible and endeavour to minimise any inconvenience to you.
- You may terminate your instructions to us at any time, but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. You must tell us clearly if at any stage you do not wish us to continue carrying out work for you and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf.
- If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, our fees and expenses up to that point will be payable by you.
- Where we are on the record in proceedings as acting for you, should you fail to take steps to have us removed from the record promptly, we will apply to have our name removed from the record, in which case you will also pay our charges for making this application, based on time spent at our hourly rates at the time and any court fees incurred.
- Under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, for some non-business instructions where the work is likely to take longer than 30 days, you may have the right to withdraw, without charge, within 7 working days of the date on which you asked us to act for you. You lose the right to withdraw without charge if we start work with your consent within that period. Your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business will amount to such consent. If you seek to withdraw instructions, you should give notice by telephone, email or letter to the person responsible for your matter.
22.STORAGE OF PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS
- At the conclusion of your matter and after all our costs have been paid, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than a year. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy the file after such period as we consider reasonable or to make a charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so.
- We will not destroy any original documents such as Wills, Deeds, and other securities, which you have specifically asked us to hold in safe custody. No charge will be made to you for such storage unless we give you prior notice in writing. We will however make a charge for the retrieval of original documents from storage if this is requested for a reason which does not involve us being instructed to carry out any work.
- You may request your file of papers from us after matters have been concluded and your account has been settled.
- Most files are stored off site in a secure facility and we are charged for retrieving files from that facility. If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to your continuing or new instructions, we will not normally make a charge. However, if the papers are required for any other purpose, we reserve the right to make an additional charge based on time spent at the then junior executive hourly rate for dealing with your request. This may include charging you for reading correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions.
23.APPLICATION OF THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
- Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of then current hourly rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm.
- Although your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to an acceptance of these Terms and Conditions of Business, it may not be possible for us to start work on your behalf until one copy of them has been signed and returned to us for us to keep on our file.
- Any dispute or legal issue arising from our Terms and Conditions of Business will be determined by the law of England and Wales and will be considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.