Terms of Business
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
- REPRESENT your interests and keep your business confidential.
- EXPLAIN to you the legal work which may be required and the prospects of a successful outcome.
- MAKE SURE that you understand the likely degree of financial risk which you will be taking on.
- ADVISE YOU on tax matters, but only if specifically requested to do so.
- KEEP YOU regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us.
- TRY to avoid using technical legal language when writing to you - tell us when we fail in this aim!
- DEAL with your queries promptly, for example, we will always try to return your telephone calls on the same day.
OUR HOURS OF BUSINESS
- The normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9.00am and 5.00pm on weekdays. Messages can be left on the answer phone outside those hours and appointments can be arranged at other times when this is essential.
PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR WORK
- The solicitor responsible for dealing with your work will be GARY ACKINCLOSE / ROB COMPTON The claims team will be able to deal with your queries and will be pleased to take any message for you We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work but if this cannot be avoided, we will tell you promptly of any change and why it may be necessary and any implications this may have to your fees.
- The partner of this firm with final responsibility for work done in this department is CLIVE HINDLE.
EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY
- Hindle Campbell is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its dealings with clients, third parties and employees. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our equality and diversity policy.
CHARGES AND EXPENSES
- We are charging you a fix fee of £20 plus VAT (£23.50) to assess your claim. Should you be advised that you have a valid claim we will write to you in detail about the No win/no fee basis we shall be acting for you. Our terms and conditions will not change other than the basis upon which payment of our costs will be made. In any event you will not be charged unless we successfully recover money due to you and this will be on a fixed percentage of any money received by you and agreed in advance.
OTHER PARTIES' CHARGES AND EXPENSES
- In some cases and transactions a client may be entitled to payment of costs by some other person. It is important that you understand that in such circumstances, the other person may not be required to pay all the charges and expenses which you incur with us. You have to pay our charges and expenses in the first place and any amounts which can be recovered will be a contribution towards them. If the other party is in receipt of legal aid no costs are likely to be recovered.
- The other person will not be liable to pay the VAT element of your costs if you are able to recover the VAT yourself.
- If you are successful and a court orders another party to pay some or all of your charges and expenses, interest can be claimed on them from the other party from the date of the court order. We will account to you for such interest to the extent that you have paid our charges or expenses on account, but we are entitled to the rest of that interest.
- You will also be responsible for paying our charges and expenses of seeking to recover any costs that the court orders the other party to pay to you.
- A client who is unsuccessful in a court case may be ordered to pay the other party's legal charges and expenses. That money would be payable in addition to our charges and expenses. Arrangements can be made to take out insurance to cover liability for such legal expenses. Please discuss this with us if you are interested in this possibility.
- You are entitled to challenge our bill. There may also be a right to object to the bill by making a complaint to the Legal Complaints Service and/or by applying to the court for an assessment under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974.
- Our practice policy is only to accept cash payments up to £200 per 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 approve the source of 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.
- We do accept payment by most major credit/debit cards however any payment above £100 will be charged an additional 2% processing fee. We do not accept corporate cards ie American Express and Diners Club. There is no fee charged for debit cards.
- 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' Accounts Rules 1998, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable on Lloyds TSB Bank Plc's Designated Client Accounts. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which funds are received by us until the date(s) of issue of any cheque(s) from our Client Account.
- 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 4 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.
LIMIT OF LIABILITY
- Our liability to you for breaching your instructions shall be limited to £3 million unless we expressly state a higher amount in the letter accompanying these terms of business. We will not be liable for any consequential, special, indirect or exemplary damages, costs or losses or any damages, costs or losses attributable to lost profits or opportunities. Upon request we can provide you with details of our insurance policy.
- We can only limit our liability to the extent that the law allows. In particular we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence. Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.
- In selecting our bankers for the lodgement of client account funds we make a reasonable assessment of the circumstances surrounding the bank including any statements of stability and any government guarantees for UK investors. Normally we would select one of the main four UK banks (Lloyds TSB, Barclays, HSBC and RBS), although, in common with all businesses, we reserve the right to review this selection from time to time. Clients should be aware that, in the event of the failure of any banking institution with which client funds are lodged, this firm is not liable for the repayment of those funds. This remains the individual bank's responsibility. Details of our current bankers with whom client funds are lodged will be supplied on request.
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. In addition, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than 1 year. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy it after such period as we consider reasonable or to make a charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so. We will not of course destroy any documents such as Wills, Deeds, and other securities, which you ask us to hold in safe custody. No charge will be made to you for such storage unless prior notice in writing is given to you of a charge to be made from a future date which may be specified in that notice.
- If we retrieve papers or documents from storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act in connection with your affairs, we will not normally charge for such retrieval. However, we may make a charge based on time spent for producing stored papers or documents to you or another at your request. We may also charge for reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions.
VETTING OF FILES AND CONFIDENTIALITY
- External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice. These external firms and organisations are required to maintain confidentiality in relation to your files.
- On accepting instructions to act on behalf of a limited company the personal signatory of this document will be personally liable for our costs. In addition 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 cease acting and to require immediate payment of our charges on an hourly basis and expenses as set out earlier.
- 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. If at any stage you do not wish us to continue doing work and/or incurring charges and expenses on your behalf, you must tell us this clearly in writing.
- If we decide to stop acting for you, for example if you do not pay an interim bill or comply with the request for a payment on account, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
FINANCIAL SERVICES AND INSURANCE MEDIATION
- Sometimes conveyancing/family/probate/company work involves investments. We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority and so may refer you to someone who is authorised to provide any necessary advice. However, we can provide certain limited services in relation to investments, provided they are closely linked with the legal services we are providing to you, as we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
If you have any problem with the service we have provided for you then please let us know. We will try to resolve any problem quickly and operate an internal complaints handling system to help us to resolve the problem between ourselves. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us then we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and complaints and redress mechanisms are provided through the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Legal Complaints Service.
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.
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 Authority website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.
- Any work that we do for you may involve tax implications or necessitate the consideration of tax planning strategies. We may not be qualified to advise you on the tax implications of a transaction that you instruct us to carry out, or the likelihood of them arising. If you have any concerns in this respect, please raise them with us immediately. If we can undertake the research necessary to resolve the issue, we will do so and advise you accordingly. If we cannot, we may be able to identify a source of assistance for you.
- In any cases involving corporate transactions such as sales and acquisitions of shares and of business assets we will not be responsible for any taxation advice in respect of all such transactions and you must engage a qualified chartered accountant to advise you of the taxation implications of your transaction.
- We do not provide any form of valuation service and you are advised to ensure you have an independent valuation from a recognised valuation expert of any property (real or personal) which you intend to sell or purchase.
- We do not provide pension advice or advice in relation to transactions involving pensions or retirement trusts. In cases where we act on the instructions of the trustees of pension funds or retirement trusts in the acquisition to or the disposal of from the fund or trust of assets we do not provide advice as to any tax advantage to be gained from such transactions nor as to whether the transaction will have the effect in respect of which you will have been advised by other professionals (accountants/financial advisors etc).
IDENTITY AND DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS
- The law requires solicitors to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and sometimes people related to them. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be used by criminals wanting to launder money.
- To comply with the law, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as possible. Our practice is to provide you with an identification form which clearly details the documentary evidence required. It is only once we receive this documentary evidence that we will commence work on your behalf in accordance with your instructions.
- If you cannot provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity.
- We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply appropriate proof of identity for yourself or any principal whom you may represent.
MONEY LAUNDERING LEGISLATION
- 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 terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter we may not be able to tell you that 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.
- If we are instructed by you in relation to acquisition of property by way of a mortgage we are also acting for your proposed lender in the transaction. We have a duty to fully reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the purchase and mortgage. This includes any differences between your mortgage application and information received during the transaction including any cash back payments or discount schemes that the seller is giving to you.
- If you are a developer and we are acting for you in the sale of property we have a duty to fully disclose to your buyer all discounts, cash backs or payments made to third parties in relation to the sale.
- If we have not met with you personally, the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and 2005 will apply to this file. This means you have the right to cancel your instructions to us with 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 provide us with the required identification documentation and tick the box marked “commence work now” when you return this form to the office.
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND US
- Our aim is to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service at all times. Our clients and our staff are of first importance to us. We hope that you will be pleased with the work we do for you. However, should there be any aspect of our service with which you are unhappy, please raise your concern in the first place with Eileen Wilson . If you still have queries or concerns, please contact Duncan Campbell to whom any final difficulty can be reported. A copy of our complaints handling policy can be provided on request.
- We will aim to communicate with you by such a method as you may request. We may need to virus check discs 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.
- The Data Protection Act 1988 requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. Our use of that information is subject to your instructions 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 advisors. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data we hold about you. We may, from time to time, use these details to 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.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS
- 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.
- Any dispute or legal issue arising from our Terms and Conditions of Business will be determined by the law of England and Wales and considered exclusively by the English and Welsh Courts.