Terms & Conditions
We aim to offer our clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost. This statement sets out the basis on which we will provide our professional services. They supplement the Letter of Engagement which incorporates these terms. In the event of any inconsistency between the Letter of Engagement and the Terms and Conditions of Business the Letter of Engagement will prevail.
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU
REPRESENT your interests and keep your business confidential
EXPLAIN to you the legal work which may be required and the prospects of a successful outcome.
ADVISE you of the likely degree of financial risk which you will be taking on.
INFORM you if Legal Aid might be available to you.
KEEP you informed of progress or, if there is none, tell you when you are next likely to hear from us.
TRY to avoid using technical legal language when writing to you.
OUR HOURS OF BUSINESS
THE normal hours of opening of our offices are between 9 a.m. and 5.15 p.m. Monday to Friday. Reception remains open during the lunch period (1 p.m. to 2.00 p.m.) Appointments can be arranged at other times when this is essential.
PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WORK
FULL details of the people responsible for dealing with your matter are given in the Terms of Engagement letter.
OUR aim is to offer all clients an efficient and effective service at all times. However, should there be any aspect of our service with which you are concerned, please discuss the matter with the fee earner responsible who should be able to resolve any maters with you. If you are still concerned, please speak to the Partner responsible. If you are still concerned please speak to our Managing Partner.
CHARGES AND EXPENSES
OUR charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors and other staff in respect of any work which they undertake on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, telephone discussions, court hearings, preparation of any detailed costs calculations and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary.
ROUTINE letters are charged as a six minute unit of time and we charge for all other time spent on your matter in units of 6 minutes.
THE current hourly rate or rates applicable are detailed in the Letter of Engagement.
THE hourly rates will be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1st January each year. If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will inform you of any variation in the rate applicable before such take effect.
IN addition to the time spent, we may take into account any complexity of the issues or circumstances imposing unusual responsibility and charge an additional fee. Where a charge reflecting any value element is to be added we will explain this to you in the Letter of Engagement.
WE may have to pay expenses on your behalf during the course of the work, such as Land or Probate Registry fees, court fees, expert fees, etc
WE have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with funds for that purpose. VAT is payable on certain expenses.
WE refer to such payments as "disbursements". Payment of “disbursements” by credit card will be subject to a 1.5% commission charge.
IF, for any reason, this matter does not proceed to a conclusion, we are entitled to charge you for the work undertaken and expenses incurred.
WE will add VAT to our costs and to most expenses at the prevailing rate.
We will normally send you our invoice following the exchange of contracts and payment is required on a purchase prior to completion, and at completion on a sale. If sufficient funds are available on completion, and we have sent you an invoice, we will deduct our charges and expenses from the funds.
ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES.
We will normally submit an interim invoice at regular stages during the administration, starting with the obtaining of a Grant. The final account will be submitted when the administration is completed.
OTHER CASES OR TRANSACTIONS.
It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of charges and expenses which are expected to be incurred. We will send regular interim bills during the course of the matter. These practices help you to budget for costs as well as keeping you informed of the legal expenses which are being incurred. If such requests are not met with prompt payment, delay in the progress of the matter may result. In the event of any invoice or request for payment not being met, this firm must reserve the right to stop acting for you.
PAYMENT is due to us upon presentation of an invoice. We reserve the right to charge interest on a daily basis at 8% per annum in cases where payment is not made within one month of the delivery by us of the invoice.
OTHER PARTIES’ CHARGES AND EXPENSES
IN some cases and transactions a client may be entitled to payment of costs by some other person/opponent. It is important that you understand that in such circumstances, the other person/opponent may not be required to pay all the charges and expenses which you incur with us. You will be required to pay our charges and expenses in the first instance, and any amounts which can be recovered will be a contribution towards those payments. If the other party is in receipt of Public Funding no costs are likely to be recovered. You will be responsible for paying our charges and expenses in seeking to recover any costs that the court orders the other party to pay to you.
A client who is unsuccessful in a court case may be ordered to pay the other party’s legal charges and expenses. Those sums would be payable in addition to our charges and expenses. Arrangements can be made to take out insurance to cover liability for such legal expenses - please discuss this with us if you are interested in this possibility.
ANY money received on your behalf will be held on our client account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitor’s Accounts Rules 1998, interest will be calculated and paid to you. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date on which funds are received by us until the date of issue of a cheque from our client account.
YOUR responsibilities include giving us full, honest and proper instructions, co-operating fully with us in the preparation of your matter, not asking us to work in an improper or unreasonable way, and making payments on account and payment of invoices promptly. If you do not fulfil these responsibilities we may stop acting for you. If we decide to stop acting for you, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
STORAGE OF PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS
AFTER completing the work, we are entitled to keep your papers and documents whilst there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. In addition, your papers and documents will be kept in storage for a minimum period of 6 years from the date of the final bill in accordance with professional criteria. Thereafter you would be deemed to have authorised the file destruction unless you notify us to the contrary in writing. We will not, of course, destroy any documents such as wills, deeds and other securities, which you ask us to keep in safe custody.
YOU may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time. If you do not wish us to continue undertaking work and incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing. We will be entitled to keep your papers and documents whilst there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses.
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 the charges and expenses of this firm.
MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS 2007 (AS AMENDED)/PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002
WE are required to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations. These Regulations require us to obtain verification of your identity. You must provide or assist us in obtaining verification of your identity if requested. If you do not do so, we reserve the right to suspend all work on all your instructions or, at our discretion, to cease to act for you, until compliance with the regulations is made.
IN certain circumstances we are required by law to make disclosure of information to the authorities without notification to you. We have no choice in such circumstances which are governed by legislation and do not accept any liability for any resultant loss or damage.
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND US
WE will aim to communicate with you by such method as you may request. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with others when appropriate by fax or e-mail but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent in such a way.
PERSONAL DATA AND INFORMATION
THE Data Protection Act requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you.
I GIVE my consent to the firm storing this information on manual and computerised files and processing the data in accordance with Data Protection Act principles.
QUALITY OF SERVICE – CONFIDENTIALITY
TO enable us to maintain the quality of our service to clients, periodic checks are undertaken by outside assessors including Lexcel and The Legal Services Commission. Your file may therefore be the subject of inspection for this purpose. Your consent for such to take place will be assumed unless you notify us in writing when returning the copy of the Terms and Conditions of business to us that you object. The inspections are conducted in confidence and are intended to audit the quality of the firm’s procedures and file management rather than the content of the file.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
UNLESS otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of hourly rates at that time, 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 signed copy of them has been returned to us.