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Terms of Business

Our Services

Save where a Partner has actual conduct of your matter, the ‘Supervising Partner’ named in any Engagement Letter will be the Partner primarily responsible for the provision of our services. That Partner has complete discretion to deploy such of our staff as deemed necessary or desirable to ensure appropriate delivery of the services.

Your Responsibilities

You will (so far as practicably able to do so):-

  • provide us with timely written instructions, information and materials necessary for us to perform the services for you;
  • notify us promptly of any changes or additions to instructions; 
  • ensure that all information provided is complete in all material respects and not misleading. 

Fees and Expenses

Unless otherwise agreed in the Engagement Letter, our fees will be calculated principally by reference to the time spent providing the services at the fixed hourly rates applicable to the relevant staff.  If we need to carry out work outside the responsibilities outlined in our Engagement Letter, it will involve extra fees.

The amount of time we spend on work for you will depend on how you respond to our requests for information.  Giving us up-to-date information as soon as possible will help us to spend less time on your matter.

We reserve the right to charge you for responding to lawful notices and orders from law enforcement agencies relating to our retainer with you.  This is irrespective of the fact we may not be able to discuss with you that we are or may be complying with such a notice or order.

VAT will be charged at the appropriate rate on all fees and expenses.  

Payments to Us

The Firm's policy is to only accept cash payments up to £500 per matter (not per payment transaction). If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds. 

We will never notify a change to important business information, such as bank account details, by email.  We ask you to be vigilant and if you receive an email informing you that we have changed our bank details, please contact us immediately so that we can investigate.  We would also ask that you do not send your bank details to us by email.

We will not accept responsibility if you transfer money into an incorrect account. If you are in any doubt about the bank details to use to send money to us, there are several products available online where you can verify our details, e.g. the Safe Move Scheme details of which are available at: www.safemovescheme.co.uk

Payments to You

Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque.  We will only make payment by bank transfer, subject to payment of our current fee, where you have provided us with an original, hard copy (email is not acceptable) bank statement / paying-in slip / letter from your bank confirming your account details.  Furthermore, we cannot transfer money to you until it has cleared the banking system.

Our charge for a telegraphic transfer, including CHAPS, BACS and faster payment, is comprised of the fee that is charged to us by our bank and in addition an administrative fee for arranging the transfer, which amounts to a profit cost.

Interest Policy 

Our Interest Policy can be supplied on request. 

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

In the event of a banking failure it is unlikely that the Firm would be held liable for any losses of client account money. 

We hold client funds in Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ). Handelsbanken is a Swedish bank which is covered by the Swedish Deposit Guarantee Scheme (SDGS) rather than the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The €100,000 SDGS limit will apply to each individual client so if you hold other personal monies yourself in the same bank, the limit remains €100,000 in total, so it may be advisable to check with your own bank as some banks now trade under different trading names. In the event of a bank failure you agree to us disclosing details to the SDGS.

Money Laundering Regulations / The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

We are required to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations and in particular to verify the identity and permanent address of clients. If you are a new client, or an existing client who supplied information more than three years ago, you are requested to supply both of the following; one item from List A and one item from List B (please note we require certified copies if you are sending these by post or, if you are bringing original documents to our offices, we will make certified copies).

LIST A – Proof of Identity

  1. Current fully signed Passport
  2. Current full UK/EU Photocard Driving Licence.

LIST B – Address Verification (which must be fewer than three (3) months old)

  1. A utility bill (mobile phone bills are not acceptable);
  2. Council Tax bill ;
  3. Tax Coding Notice;
  4. Mortgage Statement;
  5. Credit Card/Bank Statement; 

It is our standard practice to also carry out an electronic identity check to validate name, address and personal information given by you against appropriate third party databases.  By accepting these Terms of Business you consent to such checks being made and for which a charge of £5.00 plus VAT (to include an administration fee for performing the check) will be added to your account.  In performing these checks personal information provided by you may be disclosed to a registered Credit Reference Agency, which may keep a record of that information.

Any personal data received from you for the purposes of complying with Money Laundering Regulations will be processed only for the purposes of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, unless (a) use of such data is permitted by law or (b) you have consented to the proposed use of such data.

Under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ("POCA"), we may be required to make a report to the relevant authorities if at any time we become aware of or suspect (whether from you or any other person) the existence of the proceeds of crime in relation to any services on which we are engaged. Our obligation to make such a report will, in certain circumstances, override our duty of solicitor/client confidentiality and we may not be permitted to inform you whether or not we have made, or might intend to make, such a report.

We may terminate the provision of any services to you, or be instructed to do so by the relevant authorities, if you fail to comply with your obligation to provide evidence of identity or we suspect that you or any other party connected with you or with the matter is involved in activities prescribed by POCA.

Data Protection / Privacy Notice

We are registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), Registration Reference Z9068756.   We do not have an appointed Data Protection Officer, however the Partner nominated by the firm to be responsible for Data Protection is Tracey Smith.

We use the information you provide, including any information submitted to us in electronic formats, primarily for the provision of services to you and for related purposes connected to the management and administration of the Firm, including updating and enhancing client records, analysis to help us manage the firm, statutory returns and legal/regulatory compliance. Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, Data Protection legislation and our duty of confidentiality.

Processing of your personal data may be necessary for compliance with our legal and professional obligations to third parties e.g. our professional and contractual duties to the courts and our obligations to Regulators. 

Our work for you may also require us to provide information to Counsel, Experts and other Third Parties/External Advisers.  We will not however use your personal information in an unsolicited manner.

It is neither in your interests nor ours for us to retain unnecessary information.  We do however retain some data relating to clients and past clients in their stored files so that we hold historical information as required for management purposes.  It is not our policy to retain personal data for longer than is needed.  

Under certain conditions, you may have the right to require us to:

  • provide you with further details on the use we make of your personal information;
  • provide you with a copy of the personal information we hold about you;
  • update any inaccuracies in the personal information we hold about you;
  • delete any of your personal information that we no longer have a lawful ground to use;
  • where processing is based on consent, stop that particular processing by withdrawing your consent;
  • object to any processing based on our legitimate interests unless our reasons for undertaking that processing outweigh any prejudice to your data protection rights;
  • restrict how we use your personal information whilst a complaint is being investigated;
  • transfer your personal information to a third party in a standardised machine-readable format;

You have a right of access under Data Protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.  This is known as a Subject Access Request. The firm’s procedure for Subject Access Requests can be supplied on request.

We are obliged to keep your personal information accurate and up to date. Please help us to do this by advising us of any changes to your personal information.

Early Termination

Either you or we may terminate the provision of all or any of the relevant services at any time by giving written notice to the other.  This is known as disengaging. We will not disengage our services without good and substantial reason, such as:-

  • the discovery or creation of a Conflict of Interest; 
  • your requesting us to break the law or any professional requirement; 
  • the relationship of trust and confidence necessary between solicitor and client ceasing to exist between us; 
  • your failure to pay to us any amount due, or money on account requested; 
  • your failure to give us adequate instructions; 
  • our being forbidden to act by the National Crime Agency; 

Complaints Procedure

If, at any time, you would like to discuss how we could improve our service to you, or if you are not satisfied with the service you are receiving, please let us know.

We hope you will not have reason to complain however to underline how seriously we take complaints, we have a set Complaints Procedure that can be supplied on request.  

In summary: -

  • If you have any complaint or observation (good or bad) about our service, please say.
  • Raise any complaint first with the Fee-Earner assigned to your matter, including any complaint about your bill.
  • If this does not resolve it satisfactorily contact Tracey Smith, the Partner nominated by the Firm to ensure prompt and thorough investigation of any complaint.
  • If still unresolved at this stage, you may be able to take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Normally, you will have to bring your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final response from us about your complaint and 6 years from the date of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint or alternatively 3 years from the date you should reasonably have known there are grounds for complaint. The act or omission, or when you should reasonably have known there was cause for a complaint must have been after 5th October 2010.

Contact details for the Legal Ombudsman: 
PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ 
T: 0300 555 0333 
W: www.legalombudsman.org.uk
E:  enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Before it will consider a complaint, the Legal Ombudsman generally requires that a firm’s internal Complaints Procedure has been exhausted.  If the Legal Ombudsman is satisfied that the Firm’s proposals for resolving a complaint are reasonable, it may decline to investigate further.

You may be entitled to have the bill reviewed by the Court (this is called ‘assessment’).  The procedure is set out in Part III of the Solicitors' Act 1974 and in Part 48 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.  If you apply to the Court, the Legal Ombudsman may decide not to deal with a complaint about the bill.  

Liability

The aggregate liability of the Firm (or of any service company owned or controlled by or on behalf of any of the Partners) and of all Partners, consultants to and employees and agents of the Firm and any service company owned or controlled by or on behalf of any of the Firm or the Partners in any circumstances whatsoever, whether in contract, tort, under statute or otherwise, and howsoever caused (including but not limited to our negligence or non-performance), for loss or damage arising from or in connection with the services provided shall, in relation to each matter, be limited to the sum, unless otherwise agreed, of two million pounds (£2,000,000).

You agree that if, as a matter of law, we have a duty of care to you, you will not make any claim against any of our partners, employees or consultants for any loss or damage that you or any person or company associated with you suffer, directly or indirectly, in connection in any way with any advice we give to you or for other work we have done for you.

Exclusion

We shall not be liable for:-

  • any loss, damage, cost or expense arising from any breach by you of your agreement with us or any act or omission of any other person; 
  • any advice or document subject to the laws of a jurisdiction outside England and Wales; 
  • any advice or opinion given to you by any third party (whether or not nominated or recommended by us).