General T&C of Business

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General Terms and Conditions of Business

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The purpose of this document

Our aims

To ensure that your matter is as quick, straightforward and stress free as possible and to provide you with an efficient and effective service at all times.

1. Our commitment to you; and confidentialityTo represent your interest and keep your business confidential; explain to you the legal work which may be required; make sure you understand the likely degree of financial risk that 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 and try to avoid using technical legal language when writing to you. In addition we will advise you of any changes in the relevant law, which may affect your circumstances. 2. Equality and DiversityThis firm is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees, and is required to produce a written equality and diversity policy. Please contact us if you would like us to send you a copy of that equality and diversity policy. 3. Your commitment to usWe would like to keep costs to a minimum and there are a number of ways this can be achieved:
4. Money Laundering In order to comply with the law on money laundering, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as practicable. We should be grateful, therefore, if you would provide us with documents to verify your identity and address, as set out below; 5. Acceptable forms of evidence of identificationOne document from List A and two documents from List B
List A
List B
Identification for limited companies:

In addition, all directors are required to comply with personal identification from Lists A and B above.

6. ConfidentialitySolicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of the client confidential. This obligation however is subject to a statutory exception; recent legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing has placed solicitors under a legal duty in certain circumstances to disclose information to the Serious 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 this happens, we may not be able to inform you that a disclosure has been made or of the reasons for it. 7. Source of FundsFor all our services, the law requires us to be satisfied as to the source of any funding for any transaction – we are entitled to delay implementing your instructions until you satisfy us as to that source. 8. CashIt is our firm’s policy only to accept cash up to £1000.00 9. Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999For the avoidance of doubt, these Terms and Conditions do not confer any benefits or rights on any third party. 10. Limitation on liability
11. Financial servicesIf during this transaction 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 that we are doing for you. 12. Insurance Mediation This firm is not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the 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. 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 Services 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. 13. Our hours of businessNormal hours of opening are from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on weekdays. We are closed on Public Holidays. We close during lunch from 1.00 p.m. to 2.00 p.m. 14. Charges and expensesWe have provided you with a written estimate of our charges for the service, the estimate will also specify the amount of value added tax; this estimate is valid for sixty days. We have also provided a written estimate of any additional sums (disbursements) which we are likely to spend. These charges are outside our control and may increase. We will still need payment for them even if your matter fails to be finalised. We reserve the right to increase our fees if any information you have given to us, on which we have based the calculation of our fees is incorrect or changes. 15. Payment arrangements and payments in cash Transactions are generally conducted in a matter which enables us to send you our bill before finalisation. On conveyancing matters, payment is required on a purchase matter prior to completion. On a sale matter, payment is required at completion unless there are insufficient funds after repayment of any charge when payment will be required before completion. On a sale, our bill is deducted from the proceeds of the sale. We may ask you to provide payment in advance in respect of fees or disbursements to be paid on your behalf. These will for example, relate to search fees, land registry fees and money transfer fees. It is your responsibility to make sure that adequate funds are made available to us to finalise your mater and to pay all fees and disbursements. Uncleared funds must be sent to us a minimum of five working days prior to their being required by us. We will give you as much notice as possible of when funds are required. It is your duty to ensure we have cleared funds irrespective of the time scale. On matters other than domestic or commercial conveyancing, we endeavour to send accounts to you at least once every 3 months and often every month depending on the complexity and the speed of the transaction. We appreciate that you will often not wish to be faced with one final bill and may be able to agree with you payment by instalments. We would stress that this arrangement is only by agreement and prior to the account being sent to you. We reserve the right to retain possession of your file until any monies due to us have been paid. 16. The Cost of our Services
Fixed Price
Normal Charge Basis
Conditional Fee Agreements or Contingency Fee Agreements
Free Initial Interviews
Taxes and Expenses
Fees and Expenses of Other Parties or Prosecuting Authorities
Collection Charges
17. Payments
Fees recovered
Transaction Payments

18. Billing arrangements (contentious matters only)Costs normally form three components:

There are three types of disbursements:
19. Interest payments
20. Litigation MattersThe Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (“CPRs”) apply to most litigation matters.
Statement of Truth
Documents
Attendance at hearings and meetings and complying with the requirements of the Court
Settlement of Dispute before or during Proceedings.
21. Mortgage arrangements

In conveyancing matters, we have a duty of care to your mortgage lender (if any) and you authorise us to disclose to them any information they require which is held by us regarding your proposed borrowing.

It is your responsibility to comply with the terms and conditions of any mortgage offer letter.

If you are repaying an existing mortgage, please enquire of your lender whether there is any redemption or penalty fee for early repayment.

22. Local Searches and Environmental Searches

In conveyancing matters we use an agency for searches, which is usually more efficient and less expensive. The agency is covered by adequate insurance. Occasionally a lender will require that we make a search direct of the local authority and this may result in an additional cost to you.

We are not qualified to give you advice on the result of Environmental searches and we will refer you to the appropriate agency should you have any queries as a result of entries on a search.

23. Stamp duty

In conveyancing matters, we aim to complete all returns prior to the finalisation of a matter but occasionally these are sent by post after finalisation. There are strict guidelines for payment of duty (currently 30 days). If payment is not made on time through your delay the Revenue will charge interest and/or penalty which is payable by you. The Revenue service may raise queries on any return up to nine months after finalisation.

24. Storage of papers, deeds and other items

After finalisation of your file, we are required to keep all papers and documents while there is any money owing to us. In addition, we will keep paper and electronic files and records for not less than six years. After that, we will destroy them after such period as we consider reasonable. We do not destroy deeds, wills or securities that you ask us to place in safe custody. Presently, we do not make a charge for this service, although we reserve the right to do so in an appropriate case.

25. Termination of instructions

You may terminate your instructions to us at any time in writing. If we decide that we are unable to act for you, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.

We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply appropriate proof of identity.

26. Complaints Handling

In the event that you feel your transaction has not been handled appropriately or if your experience in dealing with our firm is considered to be unsatisfactory by you, you as our client are entitled to make a formal complaint to us about our services, including a complaint about our firms invoice. The person holding responsibility to deal with your complaint will have been highlighted to you in our firm’s client care letter.

We have an internal complaints procedure, in accordance with which all complaints are handled; a copy of this is available upon request. We aim to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, promptly and effectively.

If after going through our internal complaints procedures, there still remains a dispute you have a right to refer that matter to the Legal Services Ombudsman within 1 month of completion of our internal procedure. Contact details for the ombudsman can be found on your Complaints procedure document.

27. Communication

You may choose the method that we communicate with you. Many papers have to be sent by normal post but otherwise we will be happy to use fax or email. We cannot however be responsible for the security of correspondence or documents sent by any method. If receiving communication by email we recommend that you install a virus checker. We do not accept service of documents by email unless we give you specific authorisation.

28. Data protection

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you are entitled to a copy of any personal information held by us on payment of a fee. We may hold and process your personal information by computer or otherwise. Your personal information is disclosed to our insurers; sub-contractors and agents to the extent that they need this information in order to provide a service to you. Your personal information is held on an accounts database. We may use this information to send you information regarding our services that we think may be of benefit or of interest to you.

29. Consumer protection

If the contract that we have made with you is not ‘in person’ then the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 may apply. Please note that the period of time for concluding the legal services we intend to provide to you may exceed thirty days and you have the right to cancel this contract for services. To do so you must give us written notice within seven working days (the ‘Cancellation Period’) starting from the day after you receive these terms. If you wish us to commence work before the expiry of the Cancellation Period you must let us know but if so you will then lose your right to cancel.

30. Governing Law and Jurisdiction

The law of England and Wales will apply to any interpretation of this agreement and exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute is given to the courts of England and Wales.