TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS OF FLEET SOLICITORS LLP
1.The contract between us
These Terms and Conditions of business together with the accompanying letter form the contract between us with regard to the work we will do for you. If there is any conflict between the terms and the letter, the terms in the letter will apply. If you continue to instruct us, then you are agreeing to the contract. However, for clarity’s sake we ask that you sign and return to us the confirmation of instructions copy letter.
You agree that any claim arising out of or connected to your instructions will be bought only against Fleet Solicitors LLP and not against any of our members, partners, employees, consultants, solicitors or agents, even if they have been negligent. The fact that an individual person signs in his or her own name any document in the course of carrying out work for you does not mean that he/she is assuming any personal liability for that document. Each of our members, partners, employees, consultants solicitors or agents is entitled to enforce this paragraph pursuant to the Contracts Rights of Third Parties Act 1999.
We are only qualified to give advice on laws of England and Wales. In the event that our work for you involves aspects of foreign law, our advice in this regard will be that of a commercial adviser. In such circumstances you should consider taking appropriate locally qualified legal advice. We will seek to bring to your attention any need or desirability for such locally qualified legal advice where we consider this relevant. We will advise you in accordance with laws that are in force at the date our advice is provided and will not subsequently update the advice should the law change unless specifically instructed to do so.
We do not give tax advice and any references to tax in advices we give should not be interpreted as specific tax advice for which you should seek advice elsewhere.
2. Our work with you
Our work and dealings with you are strictly confidential. This being said, we are obliged by law to have our accounts audited and so the accountants we instruct may inspect your papers. Furthermore, we may be obliged to reveal information about you to our insurers, our legal advisers, legal authorities and tax authorities. If we instruct a barrister on your behalf we will forward your personal address to them as they are required by the Bar Standards Board to send you details of their complaints procedure.
You agree to provide us with clear, accurate instructions, to provide documentation required for your case in a timely manner, and that you will safeguard any documents that may need to be disclosed in your case. We will not be responsible for anything that happens because you have not done something we asked you to do promptly. This may also mean you have to pay extra charges or expenses.
From time to time we may tell other clients and potential clients, about the types of service we provide to you to appraise them of the sort of work we carry out and our experience and expertise in these fields.
We normally expect, as a minimum, to acknowledge receipt of any correspondence received, whether by post, fax or email, within 3 working days of receipt.
Fleet Solicitors LLP is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
We may ask other businesses or people to do typing, photocopying and other work on our files to ensure this is done promptly. We will seek a confidentiality agreement with these outsourced providers where necessary. If you do not want tasks on your file to be outsourced, please tell us as soon as possible.
3. Your papers
We will keep your papers for a minimum of six years after we have finished your work. We will then shred them without notice to you. However, we do not destroy documents such as title deeds, wills, share certificates and so on, or other documents which you have asked us to hold in safe custody.
We are entitled to keep the papers we generate on your behalf, your papers, documents and anything else of yours as long as you owe us any money. If after finishing the work for you you request your file or papers or copies from it we may require you to pay a retrieval fee.
4. Our liability
If we are negligent, or break our contract for work done, then the most we will pay you is £ 2,000,000. This limitation does not apply to fraud by a designated member of the partnership or a member of our staff or any other legal liability that we cannot legally exclude. Only you may make a claim against us about our services.
We maintain professional indemnity insurance with an insurance company that is approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Summary details of our professional indemnity insurance are available on written request.
5. Our charges
Whether or not we are able to recover part or all of our charges from a third party, you will still be responsible to meet our charges and it is usually the case in legal proceedings that where an award of costs is made by the Court then this represents less than your liability to us for fees and expenses. Unfortunately, this is due to the rules for civil cases.
VAT is added to our charges and expenses (if applicable) at the current prevailing rate. You have to pay the VAT even if a third party is due to pay our invoices. Our VAT Registration number is 880250142.
If an account relates to non-contentious business and you are not satisfied with the amount of our fee, you have the right to ask us to obtain a remuneration certificate from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The certificate will either say that our fee is fair and reasonable, or say what would be fair and reasonable. If you wish us to obtain a certificate then you must ask us to do so within a month of receiving the account.
If you ask us to obtain a remuneration certificate, then unless we already hold the money to cover them, you must pay half our fees shown in the bill together with all of the VAT and all the expenses which we have incurred. You may, however, ask the Legal Ombudsman to waive this requirement so that you do not have to pay anything for the time being. You would have to show that exceptional circumstances apply in your case.
Your rights are more fully set out in the Solicitors (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 1994.
You may be entitled to have our fees reviewed by the court (this is known as assessment of costs). The procedure is set out in sections 70, 71 and 72 of the Solicitors Act 1974.
If an account relates to contentious business, you have the right to apply for assessment of the fee pursuant to section 70 of the Solicitors Act 1974. Such an application should be made within one month of delivery of the account, but it may be made within 12 months with the permission of the Court.
If our fees are reduced by one-fifth or more, the Court will order us to pay the costs of the assessment, but otherwise the costs of the assessment will normally be payable by you.
6. How we charge
The accompanying letter sets out the rates of the fee earners who will be working on your matter and the sum we charge you is based on the time spent. All work is recorded in six minute units. Short routine letters, e-mails and texts that we send and short routine telephone calls that we make and receive are charged as one six minute unit. Short routine letters, e-mails and texts received are not charged for, however all letters, e-mails and calls, whether sent or received, which take longer than six minutes to deal with are charged on a time spent basis. Other documents perused are charged on a time basis.
There may be circumstances, such as when we have to work outside normal office hours, where the work involved has to be carried out as a matter of urgency, or is very complicated when it will be appropriate to increase the hourly rate. If this situation arises, then we will discuss this with you at the appropriate time. The hourly rates that we charge our clients are reviewed each year on 1 May.
We bill our clients on a monthly basis, although that time period may be extended at our discretion. This does not, of course, apply to work we are carrying out under a conditional fee agreement.
It is our usual practice to ask for payments on account of costs and expenses we will incur on your behalf. You agree that these payments can be used to pay invoices we raise.
We may send you interim bills before the work is concluded. These will be bills on account. If so, this will be marked on the invoice as ‘interim bill’. This will then not be our final bill for the work covered by it and other bills will be sent to you later on.
Our bills are payable within fourteen days after the date on the bill. If you do not pay our invoice within this time scale, we may charge interest on the outstanding balance from after fourteen days from the date of the bill on a daily basis at the rate of 6% per year.
7. How we communicate with you
We will keep you regularly informed as to the progress of the matter and will update you from time to time even if there is nothing happening in respect of your case or dispute. We use letters, faxes, emails and the telephone. However, if you do not want us to communicate in one or more of these ways then please let us know. It is not possible for us to guarantee that the post, faxes or emails will arrive on time. Furthermore, emails can sometimes contain viruses and may not be secure. We cannot be held responsible for any delay in receipt of these communications or in respect of any loss or damage you may suffer as a result of any emails we send you.
In respect of businesses, if you want us to communicate only with specific people, you must write to us with their names.
Our normal business hours are 9 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday, but we can normally be contacted day or night by mobile in situations that require urgent attention.
If you wish to end our contract then you must give us at least seven days notice in writing. We may end the contract and refuse to work for you further if you do not pay the invoices you owe us or if other circumstances give us good reason to do so. If either of us ends the contract then you are still responsible for our charges and expenses up to the date the contract ends and any liability we have incurred on your behalf.
8. Information on exercising your right to cancel
You have the right to cancel this contract within 14 days without giving any reason.
The cancellation period will expire after 14 days from the acceptance of our Terms of Business.
To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us 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 attached cancellation form, but it is not obligatory.
To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
If you wish us to commence work within the 14 day cancelation period you must confirm this to us. You may do so by signing, dating and returning to us a copy of the Client Care Letter, or confirm via email, letter or fax to our address, details of which are in the Client Care Letter. If you confirm your instructions, but do not wish us to commence work on your matter within this period, we will not do so until the cancellation period expires.
If, following your confirmation, we complete all of the work you have instructed us to undertake, before the 14 day period expires, you will not benefit from a right to cancel the contract and will be liable for all the costs we have properly incurred on your behalf as detailed in the Client Care Letter.
If, following your confirmation, we complete part of the work you have instructed us to undertake, and then you chose to cancel the contract before the 14 day period expires, you will be liable to pay us our reasonable costs. These will be the costs for the actual work done up to the time you communicate to us your cancellation of this contract.
If you cancel this contract within the 14 day period and we have not carried out any work for you, we will reimburse to you in full any payment received from you on account of costs, without undue delay, and not later than 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel.
Reimbursement will be made using the same means of payment as you used for payment to us, unless we expressly agree otherwise. You will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement.
If you have paid to us an amount greater than any costs we have incurred on your behalf, we will reimburse you with the balance, within the timescales and in the manner set out above.
9.Solicitors Regulation Authority
Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. LLP Registered No: OC310297. SRA Registered No: 00444200. Our professional rules can be accessed at sra.org.uk.
10. The law that applies
Our contract is governed by English law and any dispute will be dealt with only in the courts of England and Wales. If a court finds any term of the contract to be void or unenforceable the other terms will continue to apply in full. Under data protection law we must tell you that we hold your details on our database. 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. We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you, and from time to time we may use these details to send you information which we believe might interest you. If you do not wish to receive such information from us please write to tell us this.
Version 24 September 2018