- This document (‘Our Terms’ or ‘These Terms’), together with our ‘Client care’ letter for each matter we work on, forms our entire agreement with you to provide legal services (‘our Agreement’). It is an important document and should be read carefully. If you are unsure of any part of These Terms you must contact us for clarification before we begin work for you.
- Unless expressly agree otherwise Our Terms apply to each matter, we work on with you. We may change these terms and conditions from time to time and will notify you of this in writing if we do so.
- We are a limited company registered in England & Wales with company number 9166015. Our registered office is 56 Church Street, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8DP. Please check our website for a full list of our directors. Our VAT number is 213 1064 25.
- We are a firm of solicitors authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and our legal services under this agreement are regulated by the SRA. Our SRA number is 615601. You can find out more about the SRA and view the professional rules which apply to us on the SRA website: sra.org.uk. Please note that owing to our professional duties as solicitors there are some limits on what we can do to help clients achieve their goals. We cannot, for example, break the law, act in a conflict of interest, mislead the Court or act in a manner deemed ‘unethical’ by our regulator.
- We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, solicitors can provide certain financial services incidental to their legal work while regulated by the SRA. We are included on the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on insurance distribution activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register. Further information would be provided to you in advance of such work on our part including providing you with a statement of demands and needs.
- You agree to:
- comply with these Terms.
- provide us with information relating to your matter in a timely, clear, and accurate manner. Information provided to us must not be false or misleading. We will not generally verify the information provided unless you expressly ask us to do so.
- tell us straight away of any change in your contact details.
- pay all our bills and other charges in accordance with these Terms.
- ensure we are in receipt of monies on account when requested.
- let us have cleared funds before we send out funds on your behalf; for example, the deposit on exchange or the balance required to complete the purchase.
- not ask us to do anything which would breach our legal, professional, or regulatory duties.
- give us authority to act on your behalf in connection with your legal matter including incurring expenses on your behalf and instructing other professional advisers or similar.
- Most clients prefer to use email for written communications, even though email may not be secure. You consent to us corresponding with you by email and relying upon communications coming from your email account unless you tell us otherwise in writing.
- We take reasonable steps to minimise the risk of our email or computer systems carrying a virus or similar harmful items. You agree to also take reasonable steps to properly secure your communications with us and protect the email and computer systems used for your matter. This is important to protect your rights and funds. You can learn more about staying safe and secure online including good password practice at: https://www.cyberessentials.ncsc.gov.uk .
- We will not accept any instructions from you to alter your banking details or instructions on where money should be sent if received by email. This is due to the risk of fraud by someone impersonating you to divert your money to him or her or instead of you. We reserve the right to take the time to confirm such instructions with you personally by telephone and by other reasonable means before acting on such instructions.
- Similarly, you agree not to rely upon any change of bank details notified to you in relation to our firm including by email even if it appears to come from our firm. Fraudsters can convincingly impersonate email accounts. If you receive any such email purportedly from us or any other suspicious looking communication which appears to be from us, please call us on a known number to speak to us immediately. We will not be liable for any losses or damage resulting from funds being sent to an incorrect account or for the interception of payments made in the normal manner.
- We are normally open between 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM Monday to Friday except for bank holidays. Messages can be left outside of the normal hours and appointments can be arranged at other times when this is essential. While our staff may sometimes respond to communications and work outside of our normal office hours this is entirely at our discretion, and we would ask you to respect that there will be times when we are not available.
- If you are an organisation of some form rather than an individual, we will generally take instructions from the individual named in our client care statement. We reserve the right to insist upon sight of a formal resolution by the client organisation as to whom shall instruct us in the future in the event of potentially conflicting instructions from different individuals connected to a client organisation and any question as to from whom we should take instructions.
- As a firm we wish to support and promote equality and diversity. If it would assist you for our services to be delivered in a different way, please do not hesitate to let us know and we will investigate how we can assist. A copy of our Equality and Diversity policy, which includes information on reasonable adjustments, is available upon request.
- You are liable to pay our charges including our fees for our time spent disbursements and tax (including VAT on our time spent). Our method of charging may be based upon an hourly rate or a fixed fee. We will explain whether we are charging on an hourly rate or fixed fee basis together with the details of our hourly rates in our ‘Client care’ statement.
- Our time spent on a matter is calculated in six-minute units rounded up to the nearest full six-minute unit of time. For example, short or standard letters, emails and phone calls may require less than six-minutes of a fee earner’s time but will still be charged as one six-minute unit. Each six-minute unit is the equivalent of 10% of our hourly rate.
- We reserve the right to vary our hourly rates, for example at the start of a new year. We will give you advance notice of any proposed change. If we feel it is necessary to vary our hourly rates due to the nature of your instructions changing (such as in respect of the urgency of the matter) we will notify you of this and agree an appropriate alternative hourly rate with you.
- When charging on an hourly rate basis, we may at the beginning of your matter provide an estimate of the total costs for your matter or for reaching a certain stage in the matter. Similarly, we may publish on our website estimates of our costs or automated quotes. These are estimates only and we may provide you with updated estimates as a matter progress. The costs estimate is not a cap. You remain liable for all charges whether our original estimate is exceeded or not.
- In property transactions, in the administration of estates and in transactions involving a large amount of money or benefit to the client, we may base our costs on the time spent by referring to a value element, such as the price of the property, the size of the estate or the value of the financial benefit. We may also take other factors into account such as the importance of the matter to the client, the urgent and exclusive allocation of time and resources both in and outside business hours and the complexity and any unusual or difficult aspects of the matter.
The value element reflects the importance of the transaction and responsibility placed on the firm. We will write to you separately if applying the value element is appropriate for your matter.
- Clients benefit from our team approach. This allows the appropriate allocation of the right legal resource to your case at every stage, with a Partner overseeing the strategy. This means that you will not usually be charged a single hourly rate but will benefit from a cascading hourly rate of costs.
- The cost of our services is subject to VAT. All hourly rates and costs estimate quoted by us are exclusive of VAT unless expressly stated otherwise.
- Unless expressly stated otherwise within the client care letter, if we agree to work with you on a fixed fee basis and your instructions are terminated (either by you or because we have grounds to terminate under these Terms) we reserve the right to charge you the full fixed fee. At our absolute discretion, we may alternatively agree to reduce our fee to a sum equivalent to what our charges would have been for the work actually undertaken on a time spent basis applying our standard hourly rates.
- We require a payment on account of our costs prior to beginning work on your matter and in order to continue work for you. We are not required to use a payment on account of costs to fund interim bills but reserve the right to transfer monies paid on account of costs for payment of outstanding charges upon the raising of a bill.
- From time to time, we may ask for a top-up payment. When your matter is completed, we will return any surplus to you. If we ask for costs on account, we are not obliged to do any work until they are received.
- We may as your agent ask others to work on your behalf and you will be responsible for their fees as incurred ‘disbursements’. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that need to be paid to other people, but we handle the payments on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
- Legal costs will be incurred from the time that a solicitor is first consulted until their retainer is terminated.
- Unless agreed otherwise in writing we may raise a bill on an interim basis (so before the end of your legal matter) which may include disbursement only bills. Paid interim bills will be credited against your final bill.
- If you are receiving or anticipate receiving assistance with funding from a third party in connection with your legal matter, you nonetheless remain liable for the payment of our charges in accordance with these Terms. This includes where you are seeking to claim back part or all of our costs from an opponent in litigation.
- Should we become liable for further expenses incurred on your behalf after sending you our final bill we reserve the right to raise a further bill for these costs. This includes the cost of legal proceedings, instructing an independent debt collection agency and / or bailiff fees.
- Our bills are payable immediately upon receipt by you. We may charge interest on unpaid bills at a rate of 8% per annum (or 0.666p/m) above the Bank of England’s base rate. Interest will begin to run prior to securing judgment.
- If you do not pay our bills, or the work in progress reaches £5k or more without payment from you, we reserve the right to cease further work for you and to withhold from you any information or items relating to your matter until full payment has been received (subject to such information that may be available to you under data protection laws).
- It is a condition of these instructions that you agree to receive a bill via electronic means such as email.
- If you wish to complain about our bill, you can follow our complaints procedure (see below). You may also ask Court to assess our bill of costs under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974 subject to certain time limits and conditions.
- If we are instructed by more than one person, then the obligation to pay our bills will be joint and several (otherwise the rights and obligations shall be several).
- We may hold money on your behalf in our client account at such bank as we reasonably employ in accordance with our regulator’s rules.
- It is unlikely that we will be held liable for losses resulting from a banking failure.
- The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the UK’s statutory compensation scheme for customers of deposit providers (banks, building societies, etc.). The FSCS can pay compensation (up to £85,000) to consumers if a deposit provider is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay claims against it. Some temporary high balances (up to £1,000,000) are also covered for up to six months; these relate to balances in transactions involving property, marriage, divorce, redundancy, unfair dismissal, personal injury, a legacy from an estate of a deceased person or money held on behalf of a deceased person for the purpose of administering their estate.
- The £85,000 FSCS limit applies to an individual client, so if you hold other personal monies in the same deposit-taking institution as our client account, the limit remains £85,000 in total. Some deposit-taking institutions have several brands, i.e., where the same institution is trading under different names, so you should check with your deposit provider, the FCA or a financial adviser for more information. Further information regarding the FSCS can be found at www.fscs.org.uk and their contact telephone number is 0800 678 1100 or 020 7741 4100 (for international callers).
- If a banking failure occurs in relation to any deposit provider which holds money that we have deposited on your behalf, we will seek consent from you to disclose to the FSCS all relevant details in our possession about you and the money that we hold on your behalf with such a deposit provider. Please note that if you withhold consent to our disclosure of your details to the FSCS in such circumstances, you may forfeit any right you may have to receive compensation from the FSCS where a banking failure occurs in relation to a deposit provider holding money which we have deposited on your behalf.
- To reduce the risk of service disruption, such as a computer systems failure or cyber-attack, affecting our primary bank’s (Barclays Bank) ability to fulfil our payment obligations, the firm may establish additional backup banking facilities that comply with the SRA | Accounts Rules | Solicitors Regulation Authority.
- The firm have a policy of paying an amount in lieu of interest (“interest”) to clients where the firm holds money in a general client account on their behalf in the course of providing legal services. Whilst we strive to adopt a fair policy, you should understand that you are unlikely to gain as much interest on monies held by us as part of your legal matter as you might if you invested the money yourself.
- Where we hold money in a client account for you, the SRA Accounts Rules require us to account to you for interest where it is fair and reasonable to do so in all the circumstances and are required to put in place an interest policy. This policy sets out the guidelines for when interest will be paid and is summarised below.
Rate and calculation of interest paid.
- Any money received on your behalf will be held in our General Client Account.
- Subject to what is set out below in this paragraph, the level of interest you can expect to receive, referred to as a payment in lieu of interest earned, will be based on the advertised interest rate(s) payable by our primary bank on the relevant amount, as if it had been held separately in a designated client account in your name.
- The calculation of interest due to a client on a matter accrues three days after client funds have been received into the general client bank account of the firm and is calculated on a daily compounded basis.
- We will not pay interest on monies held for less than 15 working days. If the amount calculated is less than £50 then no interest will be paid as our administrative costs would exceed this amount.
- Alternatively, where you have specifically provided a request or where we feel your interest may be better served, money received on your behalf will be held in a Designated Client Accounts / Court of Protection Funds in your name.
- Interest will be credited to the client ledger as part of the matter closing procedure. We may also credit sums to client ledgers prior to the our financial year end which is in April 5th each year.
- You acknowledge that it is entirely your responsibility to declare to HMRC your receipt of interest from the firm,
- Interest rates can be located via the following link:
Protection of client money.
- The firm has an active policy of considering the potential exposure of client funds to commercial risks and regularly reviews the choice of banking institution where the firm holds client funds.
- The firm is not in this capacity acting as financial advisers and whilst the firm will take reasonable steps to protect client funds, such actions will only ever be based on information available in the public domain.
Security of client funds
- To mitigate the risks associated with a service disruption (e.g., computer systems outage or a cyber related attack) which may impact the ability of our primary bankers to honour our payment obligations, the firm may establish additional contingent banking facilities which comply with our own regulatory obligations, outlined in the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Accounts Rules.
- In the event of a bank failure, involving any of our banking providers, we will calculate the percentage of total funds held with each bank and apply this weighing accordingly. (E.g., Should the failed bank hold 10% of our total client balances, this weighting would be applied equally to all client ledgers). We will support our clients with any claims against the Financial Services Compensation Scheme Purposes (FSCS).
When do we pay interest?
- Interest will be calculated and paid in accordance with this policy. The amount of interest paid to each recipient will take into account:
- the amount held.
- how long we held cleared funds.
- the requirement to provide instant access to funds held in client account.
- the rate of interest payable on the amount held in an instant access account with our primary bankers.
- Where your money is held on our general client account, any interest paid to you is paid without any deduction for income tax (unless you are resident overseas – see below). As such it is your responsibility to inform HMRC of amounts of interest received from us and the implications of this will depend upon your own financial circumstances.
When don’t we pay interest?
- We do not pay interest:
- On money held to pay a professional disbursement, once the intended recipient has requested that we delay in paying them.
- On money held for the Legal Aid Agency.
- If we have agreed with the recipient to contract out of our obligation to pay interest.
- On monies that we are instructed to hold outside a client account in a manner that does not attract interest, e.g., cash held in our safe.
- Money on account of our professional fees.
- The amount of interest, calculated in accordance with this policy, is less than £50.
- Our interest policy shall be kept under review and may change from time to time.
- If you instruct us to act not only on your behalf but also on behalf of another person or persons in relation to the same matter, – for instance husband and wife, family members or business partners, –we are thereby authorised to act upon instructions received from any one on the assumption that they have authority to give instructions on behalf of all of them. However, prior to accepting initial instructions the identity of each client must be confirmed.
- In the case of companies, the instructions may come from an individual director of the company unless otherwise instructed in writing.
- Unless agreed otherwise any one or more of those instructing jointly is jointly and severally liable for costs and disbursements.
- If we are acting for you on a disposal where there will be proceeds of sale, those net proceeds will be paid to you. Joint owners will be paid equally unless you tell us otherwise. Unless so notified we shall take it that only you are interested in those proceeds and there are no trusts or similar in favour of third parties.
- When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company, we may require a director or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of the legal costs and disbursements of this firm.
- You agree to the limits on our liability set out in These Terms and that these are reasonable in all the circumstances.
- For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in These Terms seeks to exclude or limit our liability in respect of our liabilities which cannot lawfully be excluded or limited, such as in respect of death, personal injury, fraud, or fraudulent misrepresentation. The following terms should therefore be read subject to this.
- We will not be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential loss or damage of any kind (whether foreseeable or known or not) including loss of profit, revenue, income, business, opportunity, goodwill or similar economic loss or damage.
- We shall not be liable to you for any loss or damage arising as a result of ‘force majeure’ (that is, if we are unable to perform any of our services as because of a cause beyond our reasonable control).
- We will not be liable for any loss or damage of any kind arising as a result of complying with our legal and regulatory duties, such as delays or disclosures arising in the context of compliance with anti-money laundering legislation.
- We will not be liable for any services or product provided by any third party even if instructed by us on your behalf or utilised by us in the provision of our services to you.
- We will not be liable in respect of any losses arising from the failure of any bank with whom client funds have been deposited.
- We will not be liable to anyone who is not our client in respect of professional negligence. These Terms confer no rights on any third parties. The Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 shall not apply.
- We may from time to time agree with you a liability cap for any given matter. This will ordinarily be agreed in our ‘Client care’ statement before beginning work on the relevant matter. We will not cap our liability below the minimum amount of the professional indemnity insurance cover solicitors must have in place to insure against mistakes, currently £3 million. Where a liability cap is agreed, it will apply to our aggregate liability to both you and to any other client for whom we are instructed in that matter. The cap will apply whether the liability arose by reason of negligence, breach of contract, breach of statutory duty or otherwise and whatever the type of loss or damage arising (subject to the limits on our abilities to lawfully exclude and limit liability as detailed above).
- Services are provided by our lawyers for and on behalf of our law firm. You agree not to bring any claim against any of our staff including principals (i.e., partners / members / directors) in connection with any loss or damage suffered in connection with our services. Please note that this does not restrict your rights to compensation in appropriate cases from our insurers or from us as a law firm.
- We will only provide advice on matters within the scope of our instructions. We appreciate that this places limits on how we can help but it is important that we do not stray into areas beyond our expertise. Please note therefore that (unless explicitly stated otherwise within your client care letter) tax advice, advice on the law of jurisdictions outside of England & Wales and financial, accounting, and commercial advice is outside the scope of our instructions. This means that we will not provide you with any advice on these matters or any other matters outside of the scope of our Agreement with you. We will not take account of any goals sought in respect of matters outside the scope of our Agreement with you even if a relevant issue arises during the course of our work together. You may therefore wish to seek separate specialist advice if you would like assistance with matters outside of the scope of our work together.
- As a firm of solicitors, we are required to maintain professional indemnity insurance up to a certain limit in order to protect clients (subject to the terms of the policy) in the unlikely event of a mistake being made in a case. If you feel that we have made a mistake in your case and that you have or will suffer loss or damage as a result you must inform us straight away. Contact details and details of the territorial coverage for our professional indemnity insurers are available upon request from the individual handling your case.
- Working with a solicitor may also provide protection to a client in certain circumstances if a solicitor fails to pay money owed to the client or is dishonest resulting in a loss to the client. Obviously, we do not anticipate any such problems arising in your matter but if you would like to learn more about the SRA Compensation Fund you can do so on the SRA website: sra.org.uk/consumers/consumers.page
- This firm is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received, in the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns and we will do our best to resolve any issues.
- If you would like to make a formal complaint, please contact Ashley Burrow, who is a Partner & Practice Manager at this firm at email@example.com or by post to Weybridge office. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints which is available on our website: (Complaints Policy). Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
- We have eight weeks to consider your complaint. If we have not addressed it within this time, or you remain dissatisfied with our handling of your complaint, you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman.
- Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint and
- within one year from the date of the act or omission about which you are complaining occurring or
- within one year of when you should reasonably have realised that there was cause for complaint.
- The Legal Ombudsman will look at the complaint independently and any investigation by them will not affect how we handle your case. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve the complaint with us in the first instance and you have suffered significant financial loss, stress or inconvenience, or detriment which deems it proportionate for them to investigate.
- As well as your right to complain about any of our bills under our complaint’s procedure, you can also apply for the bill to be assessed by the court under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974, in which case the Legal Ombudsman may not consider your complaint.
- You should be aware that, when your complaint relates to a bill, the Legal Ombudsman will not consider your complaint while your bill is being assessed by a court.
- The complaint must relate to services which the firm:
- Provided to you; or
- Provided to another person who procured them on behalf of you; or
- Provided to an estate of a person who is deceased where you are a beneficiary of that estate; or
- Provided to (or as) trustee where you are a beneficiary of the trust; or
- Offered, or refused to provide to you.
- For more information on the Legal Ombudsman’s rules and requirements, please see their Scheme Rules dated April 2023, which are available on their website.
- Legal Ombudsman Contact Details:
- Address: PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
- Telephone: 0300 555 0333
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: legalombudsman.org.uk
The firm is committed to ensuring that all Partners, Directors, Members, Consultants and Employees give their full co-operation to the Legal Ombudsman in the event of any dispute or complaint against the firm.
- In addition to the Legal Ombudsman, the SRA can help you if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic. However, the SRA are not able to deal with issues of poor service.
- Solicitors Regulation Authority Contact Details:
- Address: The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 1RN
- Telephone: 0370 606 2555
- Email: email@example.com (or there is a ‘Contact us’ form available on the website)
- Website: sra.org.uk
- We will collect information about individual clients and organisation clients’ staff and keep this on our computers, in our email, in cloud storage and on paper for a certain period of time. The main reasons for this are to:
- deliver the legal services we have agreed in contract to provide to you. For example, we may use your information to write letters on your behalf or prepare legal documents to help you with your matter.
- comply with the law. For example, as solicitors we must perform ‘conflicts of interest’ checks for new cases against a list of current and former clients. We also have a legal duty to report suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency (‘NCA’) if we suspect money laundering.
- In some cases, we may hold more ‘sensitive’ information about an individual such as about health. This may be necessary to pursue your legal matter. We are permitted to use such information to provide legal advice to you or in connection with equality legislation.
- You can withdraw consent to your information being used in a particular way, but this may limit what more we can do for you (if anything).
- As a client we may in the future send you a newsletter or similar and find that most clients find this helpful. We rely upon the ‘legitimate interest’ we have in maintaining contact with former clients to do this in data protection law and your agreement for the purposes of the Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (which can be implied under these Regulations). However, we will never share your information with third parties to market to you and will not contact you about non-legal services. We will make it quick and easy for you to ‘opt out’ of future communications in every communication we send. If you already know that you don’t want to receive these messages, then you can opt out now by emailing us via our website or completing the relevant box on the acknowledgement form.
- Your information may be kept on computer servers within the European Union. If at any point information is stored on computer servers outside of the EU we will have selected countries which are either approved for this purpose (under Article 45 of the General Data Protection Regulation or ‘GDPR’) or are located where we are happy that the safeguards in place in that country to protect your information are appropriate (under Article 45 of the GDPR).
- We do not use your personal information to make ‘automated decisions’ which affect you.
- With the Lexcel and LEAP Best Practice Standard accreditation we hold, could mean that your file is selected for checking, in which case we would need your consent for inspection to occur. All inspections are, of course, conducted in confidence. If you prefer to withhold consent, work on your file will not be affected in any way. Since very few of our clients do object to this, we propose to assume that we do have your consent unless you notify us to the contrary. We will also assume, unless you indicate otherwise, that consent on this occasion will extend to all future matters which we conduct on your behalf. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can explain this further or if you would like us to mark your file as not to be inspected. If you would prefer to withhold consent, please put a line through this section in the copy of this document for return to us or let us know in writing, as soon as possible.
- Generally speaking, we will not share your information with third parties unless this is part of the work on your legal matter. For example, lawyers frequently may need to send certain information about clients to other lawyers working on the matter, to Court or to government bodies. In rare circumstances we sometimes need to make reports of suspicious activity to the NCA. We do also work with some trusted contractors or consultants who may have access to your information such as service providers or copiers. All contractors have a contract with us which requires that your information be accessed appropriately and kept confidential (among other GDPR requirements). Similarly, we may occasionally need to share client matter information with our professional indemnity insurers and their advisers. If you instruct us jointly with another client, then it will be necessary to share certain information relevant to you with the corresponding joint client in order to fulfil your instructions to us.
- wish to complain about how your personal data is being used.
- wish to request that our records about your personal information be corrected or deleted.
- While we are regulated as a firm of solicitors by the SRA if you have a complaint about how your personal information is being used which we have not been able to address you may also be able to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) directly. You can learn more about the ICO and personal data rights at: www.ico.org.uk.
- While we reserve the right to destroy non-original material at any time after the conclusion of your matter, we generally retain files for a period of no less than 6 years after payment of the final bill and then destroy them thereafter. At the end of a case original documents will be returned to you but if we both agree we may retain certain originals for longer than this time period. We will also always keep a small amount of information after file closure to do conflicts of interest searches in the future to comply with our professional duties.
- After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all of your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for costs and disbursements.
- Time limits imposed by documents such as rent review dates, dates for service of a break notice under a lease et cetera. are your responsibility to diarise. The firm does not take responsibility for diarising dates which occur after a transaction is concluded for you. In certain circumstances, and only by express agreement with you, the firm will diarise dates.
- If we retrieve papers or documents from physical or electronic storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may make a charge based on time spent producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading, correspondence, or other work necessary to comply with instructions given by you or on your behalf.
- Please note that due to the GDPR regulations, all our physical paper archived files are securely stored offsite in a secured location by Kellys Storage. Our digitally scanned electronic files are held on our LEAP internal case management system.
- As a firm of solicitors, we must comply with different legal and regulatory requirements aimed at preventing crime. You agree to co-operate with us to verify your identity, your business structure (if applicable), organisation history (if applicable) and sources of income and other matters relevant to discharging our legal and professional duties in this respect. This may include attending our offices with identification and other documentation for verification but could also involve disclosure of more personal information such as bank statements and evidence of income. We are grateful to our clients for their understanding and patience while we discharge our professional duties. If it is not possible to attend our offices lawful alternatives will be considered with you.
- Where we are required to carry out electronic anti-money laundering checks, the cost of doing so will be re-charged to you by way of an invoice.
- It may also be necessary at times to carry out onboarding and / other various checks such as ID on the opposing party solicitors, bankruptcy searches, credit reports etc. The cost of these will also be re-charged to you by way of an invoice.
- In appropriate cases we may need to report information about you or your matter to the National Crime Agency and in such an event we would be prevented by law from informing you of this fact. We therefore must reserve the right to halt progress of your case and to temporarily retain any client money held pending compliance with our professional duties without any further notice or explanation to you.
- There are strict limits on how we may operate our client account (used to hold money on a client’s behalf in connection with a legal transaction). Please note that we are only able to accept cash up to a limit of £500 in any 28-day period. If clients circumvent this policy by depositing cash direct with our bank, we reserve the right to charge for any additional checks necessary regarding the source of funds. We cannot offer a banking facility and there are limits on the way funds can be paid into and out of our client account.
- The law requires solicitors to get satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and sometimes people associated with them. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be used by criminals wanting to launder money.
- To comply with the law, we need to get evidence of your identity and / or that of any relevant beneficial owners if company related, as soon as possible.
To simplify the “Know Your Client and ID” due diligence process for new clients, you may be invited to complete and submit your personal information via ‘Thirdfort’, “Infotrack”, Perfect Portal or other such application that we forward to you. More information will be provided by your solicitor.
Alternatively, at times we may meet with you directly and our practice would be to inspect your passport and / or photocard driving licence and a recent utility bill or bank statement (of not more than 3 months old).
If we are acting for your company, you are asked to provide the following documentation for this Company:
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Latest audited accounts
- Personal I.D. for two Directors/Officers (certified copy passports and recent utility bill)
- If you cannot provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity.
- Electronic identification checks and / or our client onboarding apps do attract a charge as mentioned in section 104 and 105 above.
- It may occur that a conflict of interest arises either at the time of the commencement or our retainer or at a point after you sign this letter. Wherever possible we will attempt to avoid this occurrence.
- Conflicts do not just arise where we may be asked to act for two clients on opposite sides of a dispute, which we are not permitted to do, conflicts can also occur where:
- a) Clients have a joint interest in a transaction – e.g., the disposal of loan funds or sale proceeds to one Client where two or more Clients have a claim on those funds.
- b) Married and unmarried couples – potential conflicts of interest arise even where no dispute is apparent. Where this occurs, we will advise upon the necessity for a trust deed and whether independent legal advice is required.
- c) Partnership issues – not all partners will have the same interest. We will attempt to recognise this and where a potential conflict arises, advise as to separate representation.
- d) Repeat instructions – where these are received from just one party, we will check the extent of our continuing authority.
- e) Company Clients – we will check the proposed action is intra vires the Company by referring to an up-to-date copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association
- You may end this contract (and therefore, your instructions to us) at any time by writing to us by post or email. You will be liable to pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on an hourly basis plus expenses/by proportion of the agreed fee as set out in your client care letter.
- We may be entitled to keep all of your documents and deeds while there is money owing to us (including charges and disbursements which have not yet been billed).
- We retain all intellectual property rights in the advice which we provide and the documents which we prepare but permit you to make use of such work for the purposes of your particular matter only.
- We may end this this contract (and therefore cease acting for you) in relation to any matter or all of your matters. We will only do this where we believe we have a good reason and upon informing you in writing. Examples of a good reason include:
- Failure to respond to requests for instructions and / or not giving sufficient instructions.
- Failure to respond to a request for information required by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
- Failure to comply with a request for payment on account of costs and disbursements.
- Failure to pay an interim account.
- Failure to provide appropriate evidence of identification.
- Where we reasonably believe that the relationship between you and us has broken down
- If a conflict of interest arises whereby, we are no longer able to continue acting for you.
We also reserve the right to stop acting at any time in the event of rude or abusive conduct being directed against any member of staff.
- If your matter does not conclude, or we are prevented from continuing to act because of our legal obligations or professional rules, we will charge you for any work we have actually done. Our charges will be based on our hourly rates applicable at that time (and where a fixed fee has been agreed, the charges will not exceed that fixed fee).
- If we cease acting for you, we shall (where relevant) inform the court or tribunal that we no longer act for you and shall apply to be removed from their records. We may charge you for doing so at our hourly rates applicable at that time.
- In some circumstances a ‘consumer’ client (but not a business or an individual instructing us in a business capacity) may have a right in law to cancel our agreement without becoming liable for our fees. Such rights may arise if we take instructions from you outside of our offices or at a distance. If the cancellation rights apply, then we reserve the right to not start work on your matter until 14 days from the date of entering into this agreement i.e., until after the ‘cooling off’ period has passed. If you do not wish to wait this long, then you can instruct us to proceed within the cooling off period, but you will then be liable from that point for our fees whether you wish to cancel within 14 days or not. In appropriate cases we will provide you with full instructions on how to exercise your right to cancel as an annex to your ‘Client care letter’.
- If any provision or provisions of our Agreement including These Terms is / are found to be unlawful, void or otherwise unenforceable then it is agreed that the remainder of our Agreement including These Terms shall remain valid and enforceable.
- Our agreement, including These Terms, shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. It is agreed that the Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute or controversy arising from our agreement and These Terms.
- Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of then current hourly rates, these Terms of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm.
If we have not met you in person, because for example instructions and signing of the contract documentation is taking place by telephone, mail, email or on-line – by way of a ‘distance’ contract – or we have taken instructions and a contract has been concluded away from our business premises, because for example we have met with you at home – by way of an ‘off-premises’ contract, you have the right to cancel this contract within 14 calendar days of entering into the contract without giving any reason. The cancellation period will expire after 14 calendar days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.
You have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days without giving any reason (the ‘cooling off period’). This cancellation period will however expire after 14 days from when we entered the contract. You may not recall the exact date you agreed to work with us so try to make sure you exercise any right to cancel within 14 days of the date of our client care letter and call us if you are unsure when the cooling off period expires. After 14 days you will no longer have the right to cancel without paying anything. If you want to cancel within the cooling off period, you need to tell us clearly in writing (e.g. by email or a letter sent by post). Please use the contact details for your lawyer as detailed above in the Client Care information sheet. You can use the cancellation form below, but you can also send your own letter or email. After the cooling off period our normal terms and charges apply.
We do not normally begin work with a client during the 14-day cooling off period. However, if you wish to us to begin work urgently then you can tell us clearly in writing by letter or email or completing the Notice of Acceptance that you are happy to waive your right to cancel during the cooling off period and we may then be able to proceed. If you do ask us to do this, then you will lose your right to cancel without having to pay any of our costs. If you later cancel within the 14-day cooling off period, then we may charge you the relevant proportion of our fees incurred during that time period. After the cooling off period our usual charges and terms apply.
If you cancel this contract within the cooling off period, our obligations under our terms and our contract more generally with you will immediately end. This could have an impact on your legal matter. We would pay you back all payments received from you, subject to the above, without undue delay and no later than 14 days after we receive your notice to cancel your contract with us. We will make the repayment to you using the same method of payment as you used to initially pay us unless you have expressly agreed with us otherwise. Whatever method we use to repay you we shall ensure that you do not incur fees as a result.
Only sign this section if you do NOT wish to work with us
To: Meadows Ryan Solicitors
I / We ……………………………………….. hereby give notice that I / We cancel the contract for legal services with you dated
Signature(s) ……………………………… Client Name(s) ………………………………………………………….