I aim to offer my clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost. I hope that it will be helpful for me to set out in this statement the basis on which I will provide my professional services and explain how I meet my professional and legal obligations. This is an important document and I recommend that you keep it for future reference. These Terms and Conditions should be read in conjunction with the accompanying Client Care Letter (“CCL”). Where there is any inconsistency between the Terms of Business and the information set out in the CCL, the CCL shall take precedence.
My 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.
- make sure that you understand the likely degree of financial risk which you will be taking on.
- keep you regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us.
- try to avoid using technical legal language when writing to you.
- deal with your queries promptly, for example, we will always try to return your telephone calls on the same day.
Place and Hours of Business
My office address is at Thomas House, 84 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1PX and my telephone number is 020 8798 3626. My normal business hours are between 9.30 a.m and 5.00 p.m on weekdays. I meet with clients by appointment only.
i will carry out work for you as instructed. I will take instructions from you personally and anyone else nominated by you. For me to provide the best possible advice and service, I rely upon you to provide me with all relevant information, documents and instructions as soon as you can and to tell me of any relevant changes during the course of my retainer.
Where I am instructed by more than one person the responsibility to pay my charges will be joint and several, meaning that any one joint client will be responsible for all the charges and other expenses due to me. It is also a condition of my accepting instructions from joint clients that I may be completely open with all other joint clients as to any information which would be subject to my normal professional duty of disclosure. If my ability to meet my duty of disclosure to each joint client is restricted in any way, or if a conflict of interest arises between joint clients, I may cease to act for one or more or all of the joint clients.
Professional regulation and PII
I am regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, whose rules can be found on their website at www.sra.org.uk In accordance with their rules I maintain indemnity insurance. A copy of the policy may be inspected on request.
Financial advice and insurance distribution
I am not authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, nor am I regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. If, while I am acting for you, you need advice on investments, I may have to refer you to someone who is authorised to provide the necessary advice. However, I may provide certain limited investment advice services where these are closely linked to the legal work I am doing for you. This is because I am a member of the Law Society of England and Wales, which is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman provides an independent complaints review process for most clients of solicitors’ firms. If you are unhappy with any investment advice you receive from me, you should raise your concerns with either of these bodies.
Responsibility for your work
I will be responsible for dealing with your work. The final responsibility for any work done lies with me. A telephone reception may respond to your telphone calls sometimes and will take your messages and promptly pass them on to me.
Charges and expenses
I will agree a fixed fee with you for each assignment or stage of assignment in advance. You will only pay the amount agreed unless there is a departure from the agreed scope, assumptions and exclusions. If this is the case I will discuss it with you before incurring any unanticipated costs. My fixed fees are based on the time estimated to be spent by me in respect of any work which I do on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and perhaps others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, including e-mails, making and receiving telephone calls, preparation of any detailed costs calculations, and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary.
My current hourly rates on which my fixed fees are based are £300.00.
These hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1st April each year.
In addition to the time spent, I may take into account a number of factors including any need to carry out work outside my normal office hours, the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, any particularly specialist expertise when the case may demand. In such situations, I may charge an uplift fee of up to 50% upon the rates which I have stated above. Where a charge reflecting any value element is to be added I will explain this to you.
Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients. I have no obligation to make such payments unless “disbursements”. I will require a payment in advance from you in respect of any such fees payable on your transactions.
I will inform you if any unforeseen extra work becomes necessary – for example, due to any unforeseen difficulties or if your requirements or circumstances change significantly during the matter. I will also inform you of the estimated extra cost before incurring extra costs. I will attempt to agree an amended charge I will inform you if any unforeseen extra work becomes necessary – for example, due to any unforeseen difficulties or if your requirements or circumstances change significantly during the matter. I will also inform you of the estimated extra cost before incurring extra costs. I will attempt to agree an amended charge with you. If we cannot reach agreement, I will do no further work and charge you on an hourly basis for work to date..
If, for any reason, this matter does not proceed to completion, I will be entitled to charge you for work done (on a fixed fee matter on a pro rata basis) and expenses incurred.
All clients are expected to make payment in advance for future work to be done or full payment where a fixed fee has been agreed. I shall give you an invoice for such payment. If the invoices are not met with prompt payment, delay in the progress of a case may result. In the unlikely event of any bill or request for payment not being met, I reserve the right to stop acting for you further.
Payment of my bill is due to within 14 days of my sending you a bill. Interest will be charged on a daily basis at 4% over Natwest Bank Plc base rate from time to time from the date of the bill in cases where payment is not made within 14 days of delivery of the bill.
Client care and complaints
Please tell me if you are not happy with any aspect of the service you receive or a bill that you have received. I would ask you initially to raise any queries or concerns about my work for you with me. I will do their best to resolve any problems quickly and to your satisfaction.
In the event that you are not satisfied with my response the Legal Ombudsman may be able to consider your complaint. There are, however, restrictions to this service for organisations, as set out on their website (see below).
The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:
- Telephone: 0300 555 0333
- Minicom: 0300 555 1777
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
- Address: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Normally the Legal Ombudsman will expect us to resolve any complaint within the period of eight weeks. At the end of this process I will provide you with a final resolution letter. You should bring any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the end of my complaints handling process or you may choose to do so once eight weeks have elapsed from the start of the process even if we have not at that stage finally resolved matters. You should also be aware that the Legal Ombudsman will not accept your complaint if more than six years have elapsed from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint or more than three years have elapsed from the time when you should have known about the complaint.
You may also be able to object to our bill by applying to the Court for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. If you exercise this right you could be prevented from making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. In addition, if you apply to the Court for an assessment and if all or part of the bill remains unpaid at the end of that assessment, I am entitled to charge interest. There are strict time limits that apply to this process and you may wish to seek independent legal advice.
Storage of papers and documents
After completing the work, I am entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to me for my charges and expenses. In addition, I will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than six years. I may store your papers and documents electronically rather than having a physical file of papers. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that I have the right to destroy them after such period as I consider reasonable or to make a charge for storage if I ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so. I will not of course destroy any documents such as original Wills and any other original documentatiuon which I agree to hold in safe custody. Storage of original documents in outside facilities will be subject to an annual charge and I will notify you of such charge.
If I retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, I will normally make charge for such retrieval. My charges will be based on time spent for producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request at my then hourly rate. I will also charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions.
I am obliged to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of my clients and often others involved in the transactions or cases I am dealing with. These checks are a mandatory element of the government’s controls over money laundering and terrorist financing and I am required to conduct them by law. I use a client verification process, the fee for which will be charged to you as expenses. Please note that any such searches and copy documents will be securely maintained on the file for your matter in pursuance of my data protection policy. I would be required by law to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply appropriate proof of identity for yourself or for any principal whom you may represent.
The uses that will be made of the data will be to provide confirmation of the identity of the person(s) providing it only. The law requires me to maintain such data for the period of five years from the end of the matter I am handling for you or from the date at which you cease to be my client. In most cases, I will retain the forms and any other data for my usual file retention period of six years from the date of the file being archived. The data might be stored for longer than this if necessary, however, as when litigation has arisen or may be pending, and the checks have or may become relevant in any such proceedings. In all other respects the data and papers collected for these purposes will be retained in accordance with my file storage procedures.
You may terminate your instructions in writing at any time but I will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to me for my charges and expenses. If at any stage you do not wish me to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell me this clearly in writing.
I may cease acting for you only if I have good reason to do so, for example if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with the request for a payment on account. In these circumstances I will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
Identity and disclosure requirements
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 National 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 disclosure. If, while I am acting for you, it becomes necessary to make such a disclosure, I may not be able to inform you that it has been made, or of the reasons for it, because the law prohibits “tipping-off”. Where the law permits me, I will tell you about any potential money laundering problem and explain what action I may need to take.
Communication between you and me
I will aim to communicate with you by such a method as you may request. I may need to virus check disks or e-mail. Unless you withdraw consent, wIe will communicate with you and others when appropriate by e-mail but I cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail.
You have a number of rights as a data subject including the rights to:
- be informed of the data I hold on you
- have any incorrect or out of date data rectified
- cease to receive certain forms of communication or to restrict processing,
- take your data elsewhere (“portability”)
- object to my use of your data.
I use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
- addressing correspondence and related documents to other parties and opponents in any litigation, as well as other agencies such as HM Land Registry, the Courts or Government agencies where relevant to the work I am doing for you; and
- maintaining the financial and other personal information I am required to keep on clients under the professional and legal rules I am subject to.
My use of that information is subject to your instructions, the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018, and also my professional duty of confidentiality. I will need to communicate your personal data to any other parties involved in your matter and/or their legal advisers and I might also have to provide information to third parties such as expert witnesses, other professional advisers and the Solicitors Regulation Authority as my regulator.
The legal bases which are relevant to the work I undertake for you are mostly in order that I can satisfactorily perform the contract I have with you and also so that I can protect the interests of my professional indemnity insurers through maintaining suitable records of what I have done on your behalf. I am required by law to retain certain data including identity and address details in order that I can comply with the Government’s anti-money laundering controls. I would need your consent to send you future marketing information, on which see the box on the acknowledgement form sent with this document.
I am unlikely to hold copies of your personal data on computers outside the European Economic Area but if I do so I will comply with the rules in the General Data Protection Regulation.
You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that I hold about you. If you would like to make a request to know about the personal data I hold on you please let me know, preferably in writing, stating “data subject access request”.
If you are unhappy about the way I am managing your data you have a right to object to the Information Commissioner at Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF (tel: 0303 123 1113).
These terms of business will be deemed to have been accepted by you upon my subsequent receipt from you or your agent of any instructions, verbal or written, in any matter. Unless otherwise agreed, these terms also apply to any future instructions you give to me. So that I can be sure that you agree to these terms of business and the contents of my engagement letter to you please sign and return the acknowledgement form which accompanies these terms of business or you may prefer to send via PDF a copy of the signed acknowledgement. If, however, there are any issues which you do not agree to or which you would like to discuss further please let me know.
Accept my Terms of Business
Please use the contact form below to accept my terms of business. I cannot start work on your instructions until you confirm that you accept my terms of business.