Terms & Conditions
BAINES BAGGULEY PENHALE SOLICITORS
Terms of Business
1.1 These terms may not be varied unless agreed in writing and signed by a Director. They should be read in conjunction with our letter which set outs the basis upon which we will act for you and any documents referred to in that letter.
1.2 These terms shall apply to all work done by us for you (and any work to be done in the future) unless we otherwise notify you in writing.
1.3 We do not (unless otherwise agreed with you in writing) advise on the law in legal jurisdictions other than England and Wales.
1.4 If any terms of this agreement are inconsistent with our legal obligations under the relevant laws then the relevant laws shall apply instead of these terms.
1.5 We comply with the Provision of Service Regulations 2009 by displaying the required details of our Professional Indemnity Insurance in our office.
1.6 Sometimes the work required to assist with a matter such as this may involve investments or insurance mediation activities, which includes advising on, selling and the administration of insurance contracts. We are able to provide a limited range of advice and arrangements for which we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. For more complicated matters we may refer you to someone who is authorised by the Financial Services Authority, as we are not so authorised.
1.7 We treat our clients with respect and courtesy and we feel entitled to expect that our clients do likewise. We operate a zero tolerance policy regarding rude or abusive behaviour towards any member of our staff. In certain circumstances a matter or issue we are handling on behalf of a client may cause frustration and in some cases irritation or even anger nonetheless we ask our clients to accept that our aim at BBP is to act at all times in their best interest and we will need to address issues with them in a dispassionate and clear minded manner. We do operate a complaints policy if you wish to make a complaint.
1.8 For the protection of our clients we comply with the Professional Indemnity Insurance cover (PII) as required by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. In the unlikely event of a claim arising we would refer that claim to our insurers. Any claim made against our firm will be limited to the extent of our PII cover. Further details of the cover are on display in our Reception.
2.1 Our fees for this matter will be charged on the basis set out in our engagement letter and in accordance with the terms set out within this document.
2.2 Where our engagement letter states that we are charging on a fixed fee basis, additional services may be provided on request and (unless otherwise agreed by us in writing) will be charged at our standard hourly rates as set out in this agreement plus expenses (if any) and VAT.
2.3 Where our engagement letter states that we are charging on an hourly basis, the hourly rate varies according to the experience and seniority or the person dealing with the matter. The hourly rates charged by this Firm are set out on the attached Schedule of charges. If you are unsure what charges apply to your matter please contact the person dealing with your file as stated in our Letter of Engagement. Our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time spent by these offices dealing with your matter. This includes advising, attending on you and others, dealing with papers, correspondence, telephone calls, travelling and waiting time. For letters in and out and telephone calls in and out this firm charges 10% of the hourly rate. The charge rate quoted is reviewed annually in January. If your matter has not been concluded at such time we will advise you in writing of the new rate applicable to work carried out on your behalf after such date.
2.4 All charges quoted are exclusive of VAT and VAT will be charged in addition to our fees. The VAT quoted in our letter of engagement will be level applicable at such time and will therefore be subject to alteration if the rate of VAT is changed before the delivery of our invoice. VAT will be payable on the then current rate.
3 Expenses (Disbursements)
3.1 All expenses which we incur in working on your matter will be payable by you in addition to our fees. In addition to costs, this firm may have to incur expenses which are referred to as disbursements. These disbursements may include Counsel’s fees, Enquiry Agents fees and Court fees. This firm would request payment of these before instructing Counsel or Enquiry Agents and before incurring the Court fee. If you require the firm will first obtain an estimate and give you advance notice.
3.2 We may also charge you for photocopying and other document production at a rate of 50p per copy for each page and 75p for each colour page. VAT is payable on certain expenses, which you will need to pay in addition to the fee.
4 Payment Terms
4.1 Where we are acting on your behalf on a matter that does not attract a fixed fee we will deliver bills to you on a quarterly basis for the work carried out during the conduct of the case. This assists the firm’s cash flow and enables you to budget for costs. In the event of a payment not being made we reserve the right to decline to act any further and the full amount of the work carried out up to that date will be charged to you.
4.2 We prefer payment to be made by bank transfer whenever possible. Account details will be supplied as required.
We can also accept payment by debit or credit card. If you wish to pay by cheque we will only accept cheques payable to BBP Legal Limited. Cheques made out incorrectly will not be accepted.
In accordance with the various regulations which govern how we run our practice we are unable to accept payments in cash over £500.
4.3 We will normally ask for a payment on account of anticipated costs and disbursements within our letter of engagement. You should ensure that such payments are made promptly as we may not be able to commence or continue work on your behalf until payment is received and cleared into our bank account. It is our policy to wait for the return of the signed duplicate copy of our engagement letter together with the requested payment before carrying out any work on your behalf. If your matter is time sensitive then we will not accept liability for any delays which may occur in our commencing or continuing work where you have failed to return the signed engagement letter or make a payment on account.
4.4 It is your responsibility to tell us when first instructing us if you have any form of insurance cover (such as legal expenses insurance) that you think will pay our fees. You must also tell us when first instructing us if there is a third party who may pay our fees. If a third party agrees to pay all or part of our bills, you will remain responsible to us for payment until those bills have been paid in full.
4.5 If we are advising more than one person (including individuals, companies or other entities) we will, unless otherwise agreed by us in writing, act for those persons jointly and severally. If we are asked to deliver bills only to one person, those bills will nevertheless be payable in full by all other persons for whom we act in relation to the matter.
4.6 Accounts should be settled within 30 days and interest will be charged on bills that are not paid within that time at 8%.
4.7 In the event that invoices raised in relation to your matter are unpaid we may exercise our right to hold a lien over all papers and other materials relating to any of your matters which are within our possession. This means that we may refuse to release files of papers, deeds or other documentation to you until such time as our costs are paid in full.
5. Storage of Documents and Deeds
5.1 We retain all documents relating to your matter (other than any documents which are in your possession or are returned to you) for at least six years from the conclusion of our involvement in the matter. You agree that we may destroy them after that time. We will not destroy deeds, wills or any document that you ask us to deposit in our securities system.
5.2 If you ask us to retrieve documents after the conclusion of your matter there is a charge, which is normally £25 plus VAT, although we will not normally charge a fee where we are asked to retrieve documents to enable us to carry out further work for you. We will charge, however, for any work necessary to comply with instructions given by you in connection with retrieved documents in accordance with our usual hourly rates applicable at the relevant time.
6.1 You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but as indicated previously we shall be entitled to keep all your papers and documents until our account has been discharged in full.
6.2 We shall only stop acting for you with good reason and on giving you reasonable written notice and for good reason. Examples of good reasons include where you have not given us sufficient instructions, where you have not provided appropriate evidence of identification or we reasonably believe that the relationship between you and us have broken down.
6.3 In the event of us stopping acting for you our charges will be such lesser amount of our estimated fees as is reasonable having regard to the amount of work carried out by us together with VAT and any disbursements incurred.
6.4 If we cease acting for you, we shall (where relevant) inform the Court or employment tribunal that we no longer act for you and shall apply to be removed from their records. We may charge you for doing so (at our hourly rates applicable at the relevant time and those charges will be applied on the same basis set out in clause 2.1) and for any expenses which we will incur (on the same basis as set out in clause 3.1).
7. Holding money
7.1 Unless otherwise agreed by us in writing, if we receive any sums to hold on your behalf (whether received directly from you or from a third party) then we may deposit such money into an account or accounts with any bank or financial institution of our choosing. We confirm that we comply with any applicable laws and any applicable rules of a regulatory authority in respect of the making of any such deposits.
7.2 We shall not be liable for any loss which you or any third party may suffer in connection with a financial institution becoming insolvent
7.3 We will pay interest on monies held on your behalf in our Client Account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules, interest will be calculated and paid to you at a notional rate based upon Bank instant access account rates. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date(s) on which funds are cleared by the bank until the date(s) of issue of any cheque(s) from our Client Account. Interest calculated at £20 or less will not be paid due to the disproportionate administrative costs associated with such payment. We confirm that this policy is in accordance with guidelines issued by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
7.4 It is acknowledged that minor variations to payments can lead to us having a credit or deficit in relation to transactions for you which may prove uneconomical to refund or recover. In the event that we hold a balance on our account we will as soon as possible refund the monies by cheque. In the event that the cheque has not been cashed by you within three months we will charge a fee of £20 plus VAT to cancel and reissue the cheque. This charge will be levied each time a cheque a cancelled is reissued to cover the administrative costs associated with the same.
7.5 Please note that this firm will only pay monies held on your behalf to an account held in your name. We will not send monies to an account held in any other name even if such account is also under your control.
7.6 Please note that if at the end of your matter we hold funds on your behalf we shall seek to repay those to any bank account disclosed to us during the course of our instructions unless advised otherwise.
8.1 Our aim is to give you an efficient and friendly service in all respects. However, if you have any queries or concerns about our work for you please take it up in the first instance with the fee-earner dealing with the matter. If this does not solve the problem to your satisfaction or you would prefer not to speak to the fee-earner with conduct of your matter then please contact our Head of Complaints, whose details are available from our office.
All firms of solicitors are obliged to attempt to resolve problems that clients may have with the service provided and it is therefore important that you immediately raise your concerns with us. We value your business and would not wish to think you have any reason to be unhappy with us.
8.2 We operate a Complaints Handling Procedure, containing details of how your complaint will be dealt with together with our timescales for responding to you. A copy of the Procedure is available from our office upon request.
8.3 In the unlikely event that you are dissatisfied following our response to your complaint then you may contact the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ or via telephone on 0300 5503. Please note that you will have six months from the date of our final response to your complaint to contact the Legal Ombudsman after which period your concerns will only be dealt with by the ombudsman in limited circumstances.
9. Confidentiality and Privilege
9.1 Generally speaking the information and documentation which you provide to us is confidential and subject to legal professional privilege. However in some circumstances we are obliged to pass on information which we receive, for example to the Authorities who deal with money laundering and the Proceeds of Crime Act.
9.2 Some methods of communication are not secure, for example mobile telephones and emails. Unless you let us know otherwise, we shall assume that you are content for communications to be made by such means even though they are not totally secure.
9.3 If there is a particular document or particular piece of information which you require us specifically not to disclose to a third party then please make that clear when you supply it to us (though please bear in mind our obligations set out above which may override any requirement that you impose).
9.4 From time to time we may be called upon to demonstrate our maintenance of certain professional standards as set by appropriate authorities. Unless you notify us to the contrary we will assume that we have your authority to produce your file for that purpose only as an exception to our duty of confidentiality.
9.5 In property transactions if you are obtaining a mortgage from a recognised lending institution such as a bank or Building Society, it is likely that the firm will also be instructed to act for the lending institution, looking after its interests, which include giving the lending institution any information relating to the matter which comes to our knowledge and which we consider is information of which the lender should be aware.
10. Equality and Diversity
10.1 This Firm 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.
11 Anti Money Laundering Regulations
11.1 All solicitors firms are required to comply with various Anti Money Laundering Regulations and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2006. We have attached a copy of our policy in relation to how we comply for your information.
- Since the beginning of 2002 there has been extensive new law designed to prevent money laundering. Under this law we have a duty to report any financial transactions which we regard as suspicious. It is important that you are aware of this.
- If the matter you are instructing us on involves the movement of money or other property through this firm directly or through another party we have to be satisfied that the relevant transaction is legitimate. This is a legal requirement and it may be necessary for us to ask you a series of questions touching upon your own identity, place of residence and the source of any relevant funds.
- The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“The Act”) creates a number of offences relating to the proceeds of crime which you should be aware of when you instruct us. The proceeds of crime are any monies/property/assets which have arisen as a result of any crime. These include, for example, monies (however low in value), saved as a result of tax evasion or benefit fraud, whether that money has been saved or spent.
- If we become aware or suspect the existence of the proceeds of crime in your case (whether from you or from any other person), we may have to report the irregularity to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). SOCA may withhold permission for us to continue with the case. SOCA can pass the information received to any relevant body such as HM Revenue and Customs and an investigation may take place at any time in the future.
- It follows from the above that if you have any concerns about irregularities in your financial position you may wish to seek specialist accountancy or welfare benefits advice to correct those irregularities. We strongly recommend that you do this before proceeding further. Please note that accountants are also required to comply with the provisions of the Act.
- It is important that you are aware that we may have a legal duty under the Act to report known or suspicious circumstances without telling you. This could have serious consequences for you. In rare situations you could find that you then become subject to a HM Revenue and Customs investigation or benefits investigation and/or criminal proceedings.
- The obligations which we have under this Act can, in certain instances, override the duty of solicitor/client confidentiality.
- Circumstances may arise where we have to approach you to seek your permission to report certain matters to SOCA. For instance we may take the view that by proceeding further with your case (without permission from SOCA) we may be assisting in the commission of a money laundering offence. In the event that you refuse such permission we reserve the right to terminate your instructions and if we do so in these circumstances you will be liable for all our fees and expenses incurred up to the date of such termination.
- We will not be liable to you for any losses arising out of our statutory reporting obligations under the Act. The limitation of our liability to you under this paragraph will only apply if we have acted (in terms of such reporting obligations) in accordance with the requirements of the Act and any anti-money laundering guidance published from time to time by the Law Society.