1. THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS AND “YOU”
1.1 Unless otherwise agreed, these are the Terms and Conditions of Business which will apply to the services that we provide to you as our client in relation to any matter on which you retain us.
1.2 When you instruct us to advise you on a new matter we shall normally send you a letter (Client Care Letter) confirming your instructions, except where the instructions constitute repeat business. The terms of that letter and these Terms and Conditions of Business will be incorporated in the contract between us (the ‘Retainer’) for that matter.
1.3 References in this document and in our Engagement Letter to “we”, “our”, “the firm” and “us” are references to HSR Solicitors. Reference to “you” is to our client as identified in our Client Care Letter.
1.4 The contract between you and us for the provision of any services by us shall comprise (1) the Client Care Letter sent to you by us in relation to any specific matter together with any appendices or supplements or written variations thereto; and (2) these Terms and Conditions of Business (together known as “the Contract”). In the event of any conflict between any Engagement Letter and these Terms and Conditions of Business, the Client Care Letter shall prevail.
1.5 We shall normally indicate in the Client Care Letter, or separately in writing, the person or persons who are to be our clients for that matter.
2. OUR AIM
2.1 We aim to offer you quality legal advice with a personal service. As a start, we hope you find it helpful for us to set out here the basis on which we will provide our professional services to you.
3.1 Our normal office opening hours are 9:30am to 5:30pm Monday – Friday, excluding bank holidays (appointments can be arranged at other times when this is essential).
• Telephone: Messages can be left on the answerphone outside normal office opening hours. Your file handler may also be ask you to leave a message on their personal Voicemail or with reception staff when they are on another call, engaged with another client, or away from their desk
• E-mail and fax: Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with you and others when appropriate by e-mail or fax, but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by e-mail or fax, nor can we accept responsibility for computer-generated viruses.
3.2 Our contact details are:
526 Commercial Road
London E1 0HY
Telephone: 020 7791 1111
Facsimile: 020 7791 2222
DX: 300715 Tower Hamlets
E Mail: email@example.com
4. QUALITY OF SERVICE & RESPONSIBILITIES
4.1 Our Service Standards
• review your matter and update you in writing with progress on your matter regularly;
• communicate with you in plain language;
• explain to you by telephone or in writing the legal work required as your matter progresses;
• update you on funding or cost of your matter at regular intervals;
• keep you regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us;
• deal with your queries promptly, (e.g. we will always try to return your phone calls the same day);
• update you on whether the likely outcomes still justify the likely costs and risks associated with your matter whenever there is a material change in circumstances;
• update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates;
• continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded;
• advise you of any changes in the law.
4.2 Scope of our Responsibility
• In order to provide the best quality of service, cases are allocated to specific fee earners within departments. The fee earner will have conduct of your file throughout the life of your case. We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work but if this cannot be avoided, we will inform you promptly of the person who will be handling the matter and why the change was necessary.
• We shall provide legal advice and services to you with reasonable skill and care. However, the nature of many types of legal work is such that it is not possible to guarantee a particular outcome.
• We advise only on English law and on European Union law to the extent that it has any bearing on English law.
• We will advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware or consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your matter.
• We do not advise on financial, investment, surveying, valuation, commercial viability, trading, or marketability issues. We only advise on tax when we have expressly agreed in writing to do so.
• We are not qualified either as accountants or as surveyors and the interpretation of financial information or environmental surveying information should be undertaken on your behalf by specialist advisers qualified to render such advice.
• The advice we give is confidential and for your exclusive use. We do not accept responsibility to any third party who is not our client for the advice we give to you.
• Unless otherwise agreed, the advice we give and the documents we prepare are for use only in connection with the specific matter on which we are instructed and state or comply with the law as in force at the relevant time.
• We rely on you for the accuracy of the information and documentation that you provide to us. We shall not be liable for errors or losses which arise as a result of false, misleading or incomplete information or documentation or which result from any act, delay or omission by you or by any third party.
• When a matter has been completed, we shall report the outcome and explain any further action which needs to be taken. Our engagement in regard to that matter will then come to an end.
• We recommend that you review completed matters from time to time; for example, agreements may require further action or there may be changes in relevant law. Standard agreements (such as Terms and Conditions of Business and particulars of employment) should be reviewed frequently. Unless we agree otherwise in writing, we shall not be responsible for advising you of any important dates which may arise after completion of a matter (such as the date by when a notice under an agreement should be given or upon which rights may expire or may need to be renewed).
4.3 Scope of your Responsibility
• co-operate with us at all times;
• provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions, detailing your objectives and you will deal with all queries in a prompt manner;
• provide all documentation required to complete our work in a timely manner;
• safeguard any documents which are likely to be required during the conduct of the matter;
• in contentious matters, cooperate with experts and attend Court or Tribunal hearings;
• notify us immediately if you become aware of any conflict of interest or any other reason which you believe may restrict or prevent us in acting for you or any third party.
• If you are a company, we shall be entitled to assume that these terms are accepted by all directors and authorised officers of the company.
You will not:
• ask us to work in an improper or unreasonable way;
• deliberately mislead us.
5. CONFLICT OF INTERESTS
5.1 It is our practice to check for any conflict of interests before taking on engagements. We provide a variety of legal services to clients and cannot be certain that we will identify all situations where there may be a conflict with your interest. Please notify us promptly of any potential conflict affecting our appointment of which you are, or become aware.
6. CHARGES AND EXPENSES (PRIVATE FUNDING)
6.1 Unless we agree a fixed fee with you, our charges will be based on the time spent by our legal staff in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and others, telephone calls, reading and working on papers, correspondence, including e-mails, preparation of any detailed costs calculations, and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary.
• Routine letters and telephone calls made and received are charged as units of 1/10th of an hour (6 minutes). Other letters, faxes, e-mails and telephone calls will be charged on an actual time basis.
• The current hourly rates are set out below for categories of fee-earners (or their nearest equivalents). The fee earner who is conducting your matter will tell you their grade.
• Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations, fee estimates, bills and expenses are subject to VAT at the current rate, presently 20%.
|Grade of Fee Earner
|Grade1 All Partners regardless of post qualification experience, and Consultant Solicitors, Senior Solicitors, Associate Solicitors with 8 years’ post qualification experience, or the equivalent experience (for legal executives and other non-solicitors)
|Grade 2 Senior Solicitors and Solicitors with over 4 years post qualification experience, or the equivalent experience for legal executives and other non-solicitors||£275.00|
|Grade 3 Other solicitors and legal executives, and other staff of equivalent experience to them||£225.00|
|Grade 4 Trainee solicitors and other staff of equivalent experience to them||£175..00|
6.2 Our fees attract Value Added Tax at the rate currently applicable.
6.3 We usually review our charges annually to reflect increases in overhead costs. We will inform you of any such increases.
6.4 In addition to the time spent, we may take into account a number of factors including, any need to carry out work outside our normal office hours, the complexity of the issues, the speed at which action has to be taken, any particular expertise or specialist knowledge which the matter requires. In particular, in property transactions, in the administration of estates and in matters involving a substantial financial value or benefit to a client, a charge reflecting, for example, the price of the property, the size of the estate, or the value of the financial benefit may be considered. Where a charge reflecting any value element is to be added we will explain this to you. Unless you are told otherwise, you can assume that these factors are not relevant to your matter.
6.5 At the outset of your matter we will assess the work that requires to be undertaken on your behalf and provide you with a time and cost estimate to the extent that we are able to do so. The estimate will be set out in our Client Care Letter confirming your instructions. We may revise the estimate from time to time and will advise you in writing of any such revision.
6.6 You may at any stage set an upper limit for the amount we are able to charge you, by notice in writing to us, save where that limit has already been exceeded so that you will not be entitled to any repayment or credit. Once we have done work whose value is up to that limit, we will cease to do any further work, unless and until you authorise us to proceed in writing with payment of fees on account of further costs.
6.7 Solicitors have to pay various other expenses, known as disbursements, on behalf of clients, ranging from Land Registry fees, to court fees, experts’ fees, and so on. We have no obligation to make such payments unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose. VAT is payable on certain expenses.
6.8 Disbursements (payments to third parties) of any amount will not be paid out by us unless we hold sufficient monies from you on account to cover disbursements in full.
Funding for litigation/disputes
6.9 Where appropriate we will discuss how to fund your case, including eligibility for Legal Aid. If, at any time during the conduct of your matter, you wish to be considered or reconsidered for Legal Aid because your circumstances have changed, please notify the person dealing with your matter.
6.10 You should always check to see whether you qualify for any legal assistance, for instance, under a home or vehicle insurance policy, or with union membership. You must notify us as soon as you become aware of the existence of any such insurance policy.
6.11 In some cases, it may be more appropriate for us to agree a fixed fee with you. In such a case, save in the circumstances set out in paragraphs 6.1 to 6.6 the amount charged will not vary accordingly to the amount of work done. This is contained in the initial client care letter we send you confirming your instructions.
6.12 If any unexpected extra work becomes necessary, we will agree with you what the nature and extent of that work is, and the reasons why it is outside the scope of what it originally agreed. We will give a supplementary estimate of the likely costs of the extra work and agree with you before commencing the work. If we cannot reach an agreement we will not be able to carry out the extra elements. If that prevents progress being made with the main work, and that has to cease, we will be entitled to be paid for the work done to date according to the usual hourly rates.
6.13 Our charges for non-contentious work will be governed by the Solicitors’ (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009 (S.I. 2009 No. 1931), which provides for Solicitors’ remuneration to be fair and reasonable. A copy of the Order will be supplied on request.
6.14 Where non-contentious business is particularly complex or involves substantial value or responsibility there may be an additional element in the fee to reflect this.
6.15 Following the issue of court proceedings charges are governed by the Solicitors Act 1974 which provides for the Court in the event of adjudication to decide what charges are reasonable, a procedure known as “detailed assessment”.
6.16 In all other cases prior to the issue of court proceedings charges are governed by the principles set out in Clause 6.1 to 6.6.
6.17 You are primarily liable to pay our costs even if successful in litigation against another party. We will not wait for recovery of costs from a third party for payment of our costs. If successful in litigation, you may be entitled to recover costs from the other party to the proceedings. However, the Court’s assessment of these costs rarely results in a full recovery by the successful Client. In those circumstances you will remain responsible for the payment of any shortfall to us. If the other party is funded by the Legal Services Commission (often known as “Legal Aid”), no costs are likely to be recovered.
6.18 In Criminal Litigation cases the Court may make an Order for some of your legal costs to be repaid from Central Funds. These Orders are always discretionary but are usually considered where you are found to be not guilty’ or there is some other disposal of the proceedings that does not involve a finding of guilt. The amount will be capped at the rate payable as if you were Legally Aided client and therefore the full amount of your costs will not necessarily be recoverable from the Court.
6.19 In Civil Litigation matters costs awarded against the other party may attract interest from the date of the Court’s order to the extent that you have paid our fees and disbursements, we will account to you for any interest paid by the other party, but will otherwise be entitled to retain it.
6.20 You may be liable for your costs even if you are 100% successful.
6.21 In Civil Litigation matters the amount recovered from the opponent will be taken to discharge our costs before being paid to you unless you have already discharged those costs in full.
6.22 If you withdraw from the action you will normally be responsible for your own costs as well as those of your opponent.
6.23 A costs order made in favour of you does not mean automatic recovery of your costs as the opponent may not be able to pay and enforcement proceedings will then be necessary. Such enforcement proceedings will be treated as a new matter and will be charged as additional work.
6.24 You are likely to be liable to your opponent’s costs in addition to your own costs if you lose.
6.25 In Civil Litigation matters where the opponent makes a payment into Court of part of your claim, if that payment or an offer of payment is not accepted and the final judgment is for the same amount as paid or offered or a lesser amount, then you will have to pay the opponent’s costs from the date of the payment or offer in addition to your own costs.
Funding by insurance
6.26 If the case is funded by an insurer we are under a duty to report the prospects of success and as a result of that report funding may be withdrawn.
Legal Aid Funding (Crime Only)
6.27 You are entitled to free legal advice and assistance at the Police Station from an independent Solicitor at any time, day or night. Our free Police Station call-out service operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week, including weekends and Bank Holidays and is accredited by the Legal Services Commission
6.28 Aside from the representation at the police station stage of any case, our agreement to continue acting for you is strictly conditional on the grant of legal aid or payment of our private fees.
6.29 Before the commencement of proceedings at court, you must complete legal aid forms and supply the necessary supporting evidence promptly. We will lodge the application on your behalf and wait for a decision to be made on legal aid.
6.30 We may provide you with representation at the Early First Hearing at the Magistrates Court or the Preliminary Hearing at the Crown Court in the anticipation of legal aid being granted. If legal is not subsequently granted, you will be liable to pay our fees for the services provided at the hearings on the basis of our private hourly rates.
6.31 Following submission of the legal aid application forms and until written confirmation of legal aid having been granted is received by us we will not undertake any work on your case. We shall not attend any hearings, correspond with any party to the proceedings, consider any evidence or accept any responsibility for your Contempt of Court of failure to comply with Court Orders and directions. If you wish for any work to be performed you must provide is with fees on account of costs. If legal aid is subsequently granted to cover this work we will reimburse you these funds.
6.32 If you have been granted legal aid you will not make any payments towards your defence costs during Magistrates Court proceedings. If your case is committed for trial, sent for trial or committed for sentence to the Crown Court, your legal aid will automatically be extended to cover the Crown Court proceedings. However, the Legal Services Commission could require you to pay towards the costs of your defence if:
• Your monthly disposable income is above a certain level. If this is the case, you will receive a Contribution Order from the court and you will have to make payments as required under the Order. The first payment will be due within 28 days of your case being committed, sent or transferred for trial.
• At the end of the case, if you are found guilty and you have £30,000 or more of assets, for example: savings, equity in property, shares or Premium Bonds; and any payments you have already made have not covered your total defence costs. You will be told at the end of your case if you have to make a payment from capital
• At the end of your case, if you are found not guilty, any payments you have made will be refunded with interest. If you paid late or not at all and action was taken against you, the costs of this action will be deducted from the refund.
6.33 If you are required to make a contribution towards your defence costs, this could be from your income while the case is ongoing and/or from your capital, if you are convicted. You will be asked to provide evidence of your income and assets. If you do not, your payments could be increased which would result in you paying more towards your defence costs.
6.34 You must tell the court about any changes to your financial circumstances during your case because a change may affect the amount you have to pay towards your defence costs. If you don’t think you can afford to pay, or you think that a mistake has been made, you can ask for a review of the amount the court has told you to pay.
6.35 You will not have to pay towards the costs of your case if you are under 18 when you make your application or if you receive any of the following benefits: income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, guaranteed state pension credit or income related employment and support allowance.
6.36 Your Representation Order can be revoked if the information you gave was incorrect or if you failed to co-operate with any enquiries into your financial circumstances. If you do not tell the truth on your legal aid application about your income, assets and expenditure you could be prosecuted.
6.37 The grant of legal aid does not cover our representations or assistance for the retrieval of any property seized by the police e.g. mobile phones, clothes. You must contact the office dealing with your case to collect the same from the police property store.
6.38 Payment of an invoice is due on presentation unless an extended payment time has been agreed by prior arrangement. We will normally deliver invoices in between exchange of contracts and completion on a conveyancing transaction or otherwise at intervals of between four and twelve weeks in respect of cases or transactions continuing for more than three months. If a matter does not proceed to completion for any reason whatsoever an invoice will be delivered when our work ceases or the instructions to us are terminated.
6.39 In the case of invoices remaining unpaid for a period of fourteen days or more after the date of presentation, we may charge interest to you on the amount unpaid, calculated on a daily basis at the statutory rate from time to time in force from the date of delivery of the account without prejudice to any other rights of us. We also reserve the right to recover any reasonable legal or third party fees in connection with the collection of debts due to us.
6.40 Payment on or before the due date is of the essence of the Contract and in the event of you failing to make payment on the due date we reserves the right to decline to act any further.
6.41 If we work on behalf of you and anyone else as well, your liability to us will be joint and several i.e. we will be able to claim the whole amount owed to it from any single party.
6.42 Whilst payment of our fees remains outstanding for 14 days or more we will not carry out any further work in your matter and will be entitled to exercise a lien over your file and papers. This means that we do not have to provide you with the file or a copy of it, or any papers, until all outstanding monies are paid.
Abortive Matters / Withdrawals
6.43 In the event that you terminate our instructions or for any reason the business or matter does not proceed to completion or a final determination then, we will be entitled to charge in accordance with the foregoing provisions for the time spent in dealing with the business whether or not a fixed fee has been agreed. The time spent will be charged by reference to an hourly rate details of which will be provided to the in the Client Care Letter from us confirming your instructions.
6.44 You bear primary liability for the payment of our charges and disbursements in all cases even where an order for costs or contractual indemnity has been obtained or it is expected that an order for costs or contractual indemnity will be obtained against another party.
6.45 You are responsible for payment of the costs of seeking to enforce any order for costs or contract for indemnity against another party.
7. PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS
• Property transactions. We will normally send you our bill following the exchange of contracts. Payment is required before completion on a purchase, and at completion on a sale (we will usually deduct our fees and expenses from the sale proceeds).
• Other cases or transactions. It is normal practice to ask clients to pay sums of money from time to time on account of the charges and expenses which are expected in the following weeks or months. Interim bills are generally issued at 2 month intervals. We find that this helps clients in budgeting for costs as well as keeping them informed of the legal expenses which are being incurred. If such requests 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, we reserve the right to stop acting for you further.
7.2 Except in the case of property transactions where payment is due as set out above, payment in all other cases is due to us within one month of our sending you a bill. If payment is not received within one month, then interest will be charged on a daily basis at the same rate of interest which is allowed in the County Court for Judgment debts.
7.3 Unless agreed otherwise with the authority of a Fee Earner or Partner, all payments must be paid on account in advance of work being undertaken on a case. The Fee Earner or Partner reserve the right to withdraw from acting or not to continue with work if such funds are not paid on account
Credit Limits for Commercial Clients
7.4 When accepting instructions to act on behalf of any commercial client (whether limited company, partnership, limited liability partnership or sole trader) we reserve the right to impose a global credit limit for work in progress and disbursements incurred in respect of that client’s combined instructions to us.
7.5 Such credit limit will be agreed with you beforehand, and an interim bill will be submitted for payment when that global limit is reached. The credit limit may be reviewed from time to time at our discretion.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
7.6 We will normally submit any SDLT returns electronically on your behalf, and signing these Terms and Conditions is your authority for us to do so. Please note the following:
• we will complete the return as accurately as we can, relying on information provided by you and information received during the course of the transaction, but you are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the return and the information contained in it;
• although we will be acting as your “tax agent”, this will not constitute an agent/principal relationship, so we will not have any corresponding liability unless we cause an error to be made on the return;
• HMRC may enquire into your transaction(s) even after the issue of a certificate, for up to 9 months after the filing date. If we are required to assist with an enquiry we reserve the right to charge fees for that further work;
• if such an enquiry takes place, you may be liable for any shortfall in SDLT identified by that enquiry.
8.1 Any money received on your behalf will be held in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority Accounts Rules 2019, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the credit interest rate received by us from our bank. No interest will usually be paid to a client if the amount calculated on the balance of the relevant client monies held is £20 or less. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date on which we receive cleared funds until the date we issue a cheque from our Client Account. Interest will be paid to you gross; it will be your responsibility to account to the Inland Revenue for tax due on this money.
8.2 If you are obtaining or borrowing funds from a lender in a property transaction, we will usually ask your lender to telegraph funds to us the day before completion. This is to ensure that the funds are available in good time. Please be aware that your lender may charge interest from the date of funds release (or from the date of issue of any loan cheque).
9. PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
9.1 We respect your right to privacy and confidentiality, but would ask you to note the following:
• File inspections. As we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority we are subject to periodic checks by outside assessors. This 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 the strictest confidence. If you prefer to withhold consent, work on your file will not be affected in any way. Since very few of our clients object to this, we will assume that we have your consent unless you notify us to the contrary.
• Data Protection. The General Data Protection Regulations 2018 govern the legal basis upon which we process your data along with the limitations to the said processing. The regulations also gives to you the individual many rights including the right of access, right to restrict and right to be forgotten. The legal basis upon which we process your data and details of your rights along with the procedure to make a complaint are detailed in the document entitled ‘GDPR Privacy Notice and Information to Clients’. This document forms part of the documentation including the Client Care letter and these Terms of Business that govern our contractual relationship with you.
• Third parties. It may sometimes be necessary to discuss your matter with one of your nominated advisers such as your accountant, bank manager, estate agent etc. If we have arranged funding or insurance for your matter on your behalf then we may also need to supply basic details about you to the nominated funder or insurance company in order to satisfy their requirements; and may also be asked by them to allow them to view your file for audit purposes. If we have handled a compensation claim for you, we may also need to send your file to specialist Costs draftsmen. If you do not want us to discuss your matter or provide any details about you or show your file without first consulting you, then please let us know in writing.
• Mortgage lenders. Where we act on a property purchase for you, and you are obtaining a mortgage, we will usually be instructed to act on behalf of the mortgage lender as well as for you. Although we owe you a duty of confidentiality, we will also owe a duty to the lender to disclose any information material to their lending decision (examples include – a change/discrepancy in the purchase price; incentives, allowances or discounts including cash back, fittings and payment of legal fees; deposit being paid by a third party; direct payments being made by buyer to seller etc). By signing these Terms and Conditions you authorise us to disclose to your intended lender any relevant information which arises during the transaction and which might affect the lender’s decision to lend.
• Money laundering. Solicitors are under a professional and legal obligation to keep the affairs of clients 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 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 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 because the law prohibits “tipping-off”. See below for further details.
10. IDENTITY AND DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS
10.1 In all client matters (except litigation and Will-drafting), we are required under The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 to identify and verify the identities of our clients and, in certain circumstances, other persons such as directors or beneficial owners, and to keep that information updated. You agree that we may make checks using online electronic verification systems or other databases as we may decide. If our electronic or other checks fail to provide and verify satisfactory identification, we may request documentary evidence of identity from you and any other persons involved in your matter whose identity we are required to obtain and verify.
10.2 We are also required under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 as amended and related legislation, to report to official agencies any information that may come to our attention whilst dealing with a matter on your behalf, and which gives rise to money laundering or terrorist financing concerns. We may be prohibited from notifying you of any report we may have to make, or from either confirming or denying that a report has been made.
10.3 If we make a report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) or similar authority, we may be prohibited from continuing with your work while the authorities undertake their own investigations; and we may be ordered to stop your work altogether.
10.4 You agree to reimburse us for any costs we reasonably incur in complying with any disclosure requirement referred to above.
10.5 We will not be liable for loss, damage or delay arising out of our compliance with any statutory or regulatory requirements.
10.6 We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply appropriate proof of identity for yourself, for any principal whom you may represent, or for any other persons involved in your matter whose identities we are required to obtain and verify.
General Disclosure (Non Contentious Matter)
10.7 Solicitors are not allowed to disclose information about a client’s affairs without your authority. By signing these Terms and Conditions of Business and returning them to us, you authorise us to disclose to the other parties in the transaction and, if applicable, to all other parties in the chain of transactions, together with their agents and advisers, all information which we have in relation to your involvement in the transaction, including any related sale or mortgage and other financial arrangements, and preferences with regard to dates for exchange and completion. You may withdraw this authority at any time, but if you do so, you should appreciate that we will inform the other party or parties and their agents or advisers that this authority has been withdrawn.
Disclosure of Documents (Contentious Matters – Litigation)
10.8 It is vital that any documents that are relevant to your dispute are preserved. As part of the litigation process you will be required to show and produce documents that are relevant to the dispute between you and your opponent. If you destroy such documents or fail to produce them when required, you may face severe penalties (as well as causing prejudice to your own case)
10.9 Please tell us if you are in any doubt as to your obligations concerning disclosure of documents. We shall, of course, provide further advice as to which documents may or may not be relevant, and your disclosure obligations generally, as your matter progresses.
11.1 From time to time, and after consultation with you and with your permission, we may arrange for work to be carried out by persons not directly employed by this firm. In such cases, we will maintain responsibility for the quality of work that is undertaken on your behalf. We will also do our utmost to ensure that any outsourced activities are subject to the strictest confidentiality arrangements.
11.2 Where we arrange for some of this work to be carried out by persons not directly employed by this firm, you will be charged at rates not greater than those set out in section 6 above.
12. STORAGE OF PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS
12.1 After completing the work, we are entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. This is known as a ‘lien’.
12.2 We will usually keep your file of papers (except for any papers which you ask to be returned to you) for at least 6 years, after which the file will be destroyed. We will not of course destroy any documents, such as Wills, Deeds, securities or certificates which you ask us to hold for you in safe custody. No charge will be made to you for such storage without prior notice being given to you.
12.3 If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act on your behalf, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, if a stand-alone retrieval of a file only is required, you will be charged £25.00+VAT per recovery. We may pass on to you any delivery charges we incur in producing stored papers or documents to you or someone else at your request; we may also charge for reading correspondence, photocopying documents or carrying out other work necessary to comply with your instructions.
13. FINANCIAL SERVICES
13.1 It is possible that during the course of our work for you, you may need to seek specialist advice from a suitably qualified person in connection with financial matters arising out of your transaction (for example: mortgages, life assurance, investments, trusts and taxation). This firm is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to provide independent financial advice, and therefore you must arrange for a specialist in this field to provide suitable advice to you.
13.2 If we need to arrange, for example, defective title indemnity insurance for you during the course of your matter, then we will be able to do so. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
14.1 If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you may terminate your instructions to us in writing but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses (a lien).
14.2 If we decide to stop acting for you, for example – you do not pay an interim bill, put us in funds, or fail to provide us with adequate instructions or information, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
14.3 If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point which will be calculated in accordance with our retainer letter and these terms and conditions.
15 REGULATIONS AFFECTING YOUR CANCELLATION RIGHT
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation And Additional Charges) Regulations 2013
15.1 If we have not met you either in person because, for example, instructions and signing of the contract documentation is taking place by telephone/mail, e mail or on-line – i.e.: by way of a “distance” contract) or we have taken instructions and a contract has been concluded away from our business premises (“off-premises”), e.g.
i. At your home, workplace or at someone else’s home; or
ii. At our offices but following a visit by us (or by someone acting on our behalf) to your home, workplace or someone else’s home; or
iii. At our offices but following a meeting between us away from our offices, and
15.2 the contract was entered into on or after 14 June 2014, you have the right to cancel this contract within 14 calendar days of entering into the contract without giving any reason by delivering, sending (including electronic mail) a cancellation notice to the person mentioned below at any time within 14 days starting with the day of receipt of this Notice.
15.3 The cancellation period will expire after 14 calendar days from the day of the conclusion of the contract.
15.4 To exercise your right to cancel, you must inform us HSR Solicitors, Victoria House, 526 Commercial Road, London E1 0HY, telephone number 020 7791 1111, fax number 020 7791 2222 and email address firstname.lastname@example.org, of your decision to cancel this contract by a clear statement (e.g.: a letter sent by post, fax or e mail). You may use the model cancellation form below, but it is not obligatory. To meet the cancellation deadline, you must send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired, and you must do so in writing.
(Complete, detach and return this form ONLY IF YOU WISH TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT)
To: HSR Solicitors, Victoria House, 526 Commercial Road, London E1 0HY
Case Reference No: …………………………………………………………
I hereby give notice that I wish to cancel my Agreement for Legal Services with your firm.
15.5 Should you require the work to be commenced within the 14 calendar day cancellation period, you must provide your agreement to that effect in writing, by e mail, post or fax to enable us to do so. By signing and returning your duplicate client care letter you are providing your agreement in writing to enable us to commence work within the 14 calendar day cancellation period. Where you have provided your consent for work to commence within the 14 calendar day cancellation period and you later exercise your right to cancel, you will be liable for any costs, VAT and disbursements incurred up to the point of cancellation. Unless you make an express request for us to commence work within the 14 day period (i.e. by signing and returning the duplicate client care letter) we will not be able to undertake any work during that period.
16. RAISING QUERIES OR CONCERNS WITH US
16.1 We aim to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service. Our clients and our staff are of paramount importance to us and we hope that you will be pleased with the work we do for you.
16.2 Should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy, including any Bill that we have sent to you, please raise your concern in the first place with Darshan Singh (Office Manager) (Tel: 020 7791 1111). Harry Rana (Tel: 020 7791 1111) is the Senior Partner and client care partner who has the overall responsibility for dealing with complaints.
16.3 We have a written complaints procedure, a copy of which is available on request.
16.4 If you are still not satisfied following the conclusion of our complaints process, you can then contact the Legal Ombudsman about your complaint at:
PO Box 6806
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
16.5 The Legal Ombudsman will consider complaints from members of the public, certain charities, small businesses, clubs, associations, societies and trusts, and personal representatives of the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where a person with a complaint died before referring it to the Legal Ombudsman.
16.6 The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about a Bill if you have applied to the Court for an assessment of that Bill.
16.7 Any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman should be made within:
• 6 months of you receiving a final response from us in respect of your complaint; and
• Within 1 year from the date of the act or omission that has given you cause to complain; or
• Within 1 year of you realising there was a concern
16.8 If these deadlines are not met, the Legal Ombudsman may refuse to deal with your complaint.
16.9 You should also be aware that we can charge interest on any Bill or part thereof that remains unpaid, even those that are subject of a complaint from you.
17. EQUALITY DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
17.1 We are committed to promoting equality diversity and inclusion in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. If you would like a copy of our policy, please contact us.
18. PANEL MEMBERSHIP
18.1 Lawyers in this firm are members of the following panels:
• Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme
• Conveyancing Quality Scheme
19. PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY
19.1 We maintain Professional Indemnity Insurance, in accordance with the requirements and rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Details of the policy and the territorial coverage of the policy are available for inspection at our offices. We are insured with QBE (UK) Limited 30 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 3BD, details of cover are mentioned below.
19.2 Despite our best efforts it may make a mistake, by which we may breach any of our duties to you. If as a result of such a mistake you suffer loss, you may be entitled to claim against our insurance policy. No liability is admitted or accepted by this statement. If we are found liable, or it is accepted it is liable to compensate you, you agree that its liability is limited in the following respects:
• Our maximum liability for any mistake (except for fraud) is £2 million (unless a different amount is agreed with you in writing).
• This overall limit applies whether the mistake affects just one piece of work we do for you or several, so long as it is the same or a similar mistake or the transactions are connected.
• For the purpose of the overall limit, more than one mistake on a matter or transaction is considered as one mistake.
• We are not liable to the extent that its mistake results from something you do or fails to do (such as giving us the wrong information, or not giving us information at the time we ask for it or you fail to provide us with documents your control or possession).
• If others are also responsible for your loss, our liability is limited to our fair share, whether or not you are able to recover the rest from the others. These limits apply to the extent that they are permitted by law.
• We will not accept any liability for matters that require tax advice but if such advice is required by us we may be able to refer you to an appropriate expert to whom an additional fee will be payable.
20. REGULATION OF LEGAL SERVICES
20.1 HSR Solicitors is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The SRA Standards and Regulations contain the rules of professional conduct which apply to all solicitors and this firm. The SRA Standards and Regulations can be accessed on the SRA’s website at: www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/standards-regulations
20.2 The SRA is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society of England and Wales, our professional body.
21. TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
21.1 Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to any amendments to the hourly charge out rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm.
21.2 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 copy of them has been returned to us for us to keep on our file.
22.1 The construction, validity and performance of this contract shall be governed in all respects by the Laws of England. We and you submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
23. COMMUNICATION WITH YOU
23.1 If you would prefer us to communicate with you by email, rather than by normal post, please tick here
If you have ticked the above box, please provide your email address below
I confirm I have read and understood, and I accept, these Terms and Conditions of Business.
Second client (if any)