Terms and conditions(Property)
We aim to offer our clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost. As a start, we hope it is helpful to you to set out in this statement the basis on which we will provide our professional services.
Our commitment to you;
- We will update you with progress on your matter regularly.
- We will communicate with you in plain language — tell us when we fail in this aim!
- We will explain to you the legal work required as your matter progresses.
- We will tell you the likely cost of the matter and update you periodically.
- We will 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.
- We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates.
- We will advise you of any changes in the law.
Our objective and responsibility is to complete the transaction within the timescale stated in your Client Care Letter and keep you informed in the progress of the transaction. We should point out that this will also depend on the speed of response from 3 rd parties.
Our responsibility is to (1) review your transaction regularly, (2) 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 transaction. Your responsibility is to (1) provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions, (2) provide all documentation required to complete the transaction in a timely manner. Our hours of business and the normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. on weekdays.Your Responsibility
Your responsibility is to keep us informed of any new developments or change of circumstances that is likely to be relevant to the transaction.Equality and diversity
We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.Data Protection
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including (1) updating and enhancing client records (2) analysis to help us manage our practice (3) statutory returns, Legal and regulatory compliance. Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you. We may from time to time send you information which we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.Communication between you and us
We will aim to communicate with you by such a method as you may request. We may need to virus- check disks or email. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with others when appropriate by email or fax but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by email or fax.Storage of papers and documents
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. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them six years after the date of the final bill or when the matter is archived, whichever is later. Only if we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However we may charge you both for (1) time spent producing stored papers that are requested reading (2) correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.Outsourcing of Work
Sometimes we ask other companies or people to do photocopying on our files to ensure this is done promptly. We will always seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers. If you do not want your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.Vetting of Files and Confidentiality
External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms or organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.Applicable Law
Any dispute or legal issue arising from our terms of business will be determined by the law of England and Wales, and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh courts.Termination
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason, for example if you do not pay an interim bill or there is a conflict of interest. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you. If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated as set out in these terms and conditions.Money Laundering Regulations
Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require us to (1) obtain information about a client's identity and to verify that information (2)obtain identity information about people related to the client (beneficial owners), where relevant, and at times verify that information (3) continue to monitor the transaction and keep identity information up to date. Making a disclosure - we are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the Serious Organised Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorise financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.Mortgage Fraud
We are also acting for your proposed lender in this transaction, (if applicable). We have a duty to fully reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the purchase and mortgage. This includes (1) any differences between your mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction, (2) any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving you.Charges and Expenses
We will discuss sources of funding with you and advise you of the method of funding best suited to you. Unless we have agreed a fixed quotation with you our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors and other staff on any work which they do on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and perhaps others, reading and working on papers, correspondence, preparation of any detailed costs calculations, and time spent travelling away from the office when this is necessary. Routine letters and e-mails in/out are charged as six minute units of time. We charge for the time spent on making and taking telephone calls in six minute units. The current hourly rates are set out in your client care letter. We will add VAT to these at the rate that applies when the work is done. These hourly rates have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from 1 st April each year. If a review is carried out before this matter has been concluded, we will inform you of any variation in the rate before it takes effect. 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 particularly specialist expertise that the case may demand. In particular, in property transactions and in matters involving a substantial financial value or benefit to a client, a charge reflecting, for example, the price of the property or the value of the financial benefit may be considered. It is not always possible to indicate how these aspects may arise but on present information we would expect them to be sufficiently taken into account in the rates which we have quoted. Where a charge reflecting any value element is to be added we will explain this to you. Solicitors have to pay out various other expenses on behalf of clients ranging from Land Registry fees, search 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. We refer to such payments generally as 'disbursements'. If, for any reason, this matter does not proceed to completion, we will be entitled to charge you for work done and expenses incurred.Limited companies
When accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company, we may require a director and/or controlling shareholder to sign a form of personal guarantee in respect of the charges and expenses of this firm. If such a request is refused, we will be entitled to stop acting and to require immediate payment of our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.Payment arrangements
We will normally send you our bill following the exchange of contracts and payment is required on a purchase prior to completion; and at completion; on a sale. If sufficient funds are available on completion, and we have sent you a bill, we will deduct our charges and expenses from the funds. If the matter does not proceed for any reason we will submit our account at that time. 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. 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, this firm must reserve the right to stop acting for you further. Payment is due to us within one month of delivery of a bill. Interest will be charged on a daily basis at the rate payable on judgement debts from one month after delivery of the bill.Financial arrangements with clients
Please note that we are normally only able to accept cash up to a limit of £500 in any 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. Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party. Any money received on your behalf will be held in our client account. Interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate set by Barclay’s Bank Plc.’s Designated Client Accounts. That of course may change. The period for which interest will be paid normally runs from the dates when funds are received by us until the dates on the cheques issued to you. The payment of interest is subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors' Accounts Rules 1998. Where a client obtains borrowing from a lender in a property transaction, we will ask the lender to arrange that the loan cheque is received by us a minimum of four working days prior to the completion date. If the money can be telegraphed, we will request that we receive it the day before completion. This will enable us to ensure that the necessary funds are available in time for completion. Such clients need to be aware that the lender may charge interest from the date of issue of their loan cheque or the telegraphing of the payment.Distance Selling
If we have not met with you the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 apply to this file. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us within seven working days of receiving this letter. You can cancel your instructions by contacting us by post or by fax to this office. Once we have started work on your file, you may be charged if you then cancel your instructions. If you would like us to commence work on your file within the next seven working days, please sign these terms and conditions and return it to this office by post or fax.Providing Exempt Financial Services
We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. If, while we are acting for you, you need advice on investments, we may have to refer you to someone who is authorised to provide the necessary advice. However, we may provide certain limited investment advice services where these are closely linked to the legal work we are doing for you. This is because we are members 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. If you are unhappy with any investment or insurance advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with either of those bodies.Terms and Conditions of Business
Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of then current hourly rates, these Terms and Conditions of Business shall apply to any future instructions given by you to this firm. 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 to keep on our file.I confirm I have read and understood, and I accept, these Terms and Conditions of Business.