Terms & Conditions of Business
We aim to offer our clients quality legal advice with a personal service at a fair cost. At the outset, we hope that it is helpful to you to set out in this statement the basis upon which we will provide our professional services to you.
Our Commitment to You
To give our clients the best advice and service that we can, we work together with them to ensure that information provided by both sides is accurate and complete. We will:
- Tell you who will be dealing with your work.
- 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 costs of the matter.
- Keep you regularly informed of progress or, if there is none, when you are next likely to hear from us.
- Use clear and plain language when writing to you.
- Deal with your queries promptly as and when they arise.
- Treat all clients fairly and not discriminate against anyone for reasons such as race, sex, sexual orientation or disability.
How You Can Help Us
You can help us to do our best for you by telling us what we need to know and providing documents when we ask for them.
- Please bring all relevant papers with you when we ask to see you. If you are not sure, bring what you think might help us.
- Please tell us if you have any special needs relating to the service you want to receive.
- Please tell us at the start what you expect of us so that we can agree with you what it is possible to achieve.
- Please tell us immediately if your expectations change.
- Please tell us if you have personal time limits or targets which would not be obvious to us.
- Please make sure that you always understand what we have discussed. If you are not sure, please tell us.
- Please contact us quickly if we ask for instructions, documents or information.
- Please tell us if you change address or telephone number, if you will be away on holiday for an extended period or if your circumstances change in a way that may affect the way we deal with your case.
Hours of Business
The normal hours of opening at our offices are between 9.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m. each weekday.
Messages can be left on the firm’s answer-phones outside of these hours or on voicemail facilities as appropriate.
Appointments can be made for clients to be seen at other times, when it is essential to do so. In addition, the firm has a website from which e-mails can be sent to the firm.
People Responsible for Your Work
The people responsible for dealing with your work will be specified in the client care letter which accompanies this statement. Their assistants and/or secretaries may also be able to deal with your queries and will be pleased to take any messages for you. We will try to avoid changing the people who handle your work but if this cannot be avoided, we will tell you of any change and why that change is necessary.
Charges & Expenses
Our charges will be calculated mainly by reference to the time actually spent by the solicitors and other staff in respect of any work which they do on your behalf. This will include meetings with you and perhaps others, 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. From time to time we may arrange for some of this work to be carried out by persons not directly employed by this firm.
The current hourly rates for work carried out by the Civil Litigation Department will be provided on request. We will add VAT to these at the rate that applies when the work is done.
Our hourly rates will have to be reviewed periodically to reflect increases in overhead costs and inflation. Normally the rates are reviewed with effect from the 1st January 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.
Storage of Paper & Documents
After completing the work, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for not less than six years. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy it after such period as we consider reasonable. No charge will be made to you for such storage. 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. Unless agreed otherwise, we will destroy all medical records once a case has been concluded to save storage space.
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 fail to provide us with instructions or we no longer believe that you have reasonable prospects of succeeding with your claim, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing.
Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000
If we have not met you in person, you have the right to cancel your instructions to us, within 7 days of the date of our letter accompanying this document, without charge. If you seek to withdraw your instructions, you must give notice either by telephone, e-mail or letter to the person named in these Terms of Business, as the person being responsible for your work, within the 7 day period.
If you want us to start work on your matter immediately, then please return the Agreement to us, indicating that we should start work immediately and we will.
We are committed to providing a high quality legal service to all of our clients. As a small firm our reputation is very important to us. If something goes wrong, we need you to tell us about it. This will help us to maintain and improve our standards. If you have a complaint, please tell us and we will provide you with details of our firm’s complaints procedure.
If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint, you can ask the Legal Ombudsman at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ to consider the complaint. His office can also be reached by telephoning 0300 555 0333 or e-mailing at email@example.com.
Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.
Identity & Disclosure Requirements
We are entitled to refuse to act for you if you fail to supply appropriate proof of identity for yourself or for any principal you may represent under Money Laundering Regulations.
If your claim proceeds via the Ministry of Justice RTA Claims Portal, we are obliged to conduct a check of your claims history with the Motor Insurers Bureau. This information will also be passed to the other party’s representatives. By signing these Terms & Conditions you agree to this check being undertaken.
Communications Between You & Us
Our aim is to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service at all times. We are a small firm and 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 the fee earner detailed in your client care letter. If you still have queries or concerns, please contact the principal of our firm, Seamus Edney through our contact form.
We will aim to communicate with you by such a method as you may request. We may need to virus check disks or e-mail. 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.
We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
- updating and enhancing client records
- analysis to help us manage our practice
- 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.
Financial Services Authority
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.
The Solicitors Regulations Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman is the independent complaints handling arm of the Law Society. If you are unhappy with any investment advice you receive from us you should raise your concerns with either of these bodies.
We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we may 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 website at www.fsa.gov.uk/register.
The Law Society of England and Wales is a designated professional body for the purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Ombudsman is the independent complaints-handling arm of the Law Society. If you are unhappy with any insurance advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with either of those bodies.
Equality & Diversity
S J Edney 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 details of our Equality & Diversity Policy.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
All solicitors are required to hold adequate professional indemnity insurance. The territorial coverage of this firm’s insurance is worldwide, details of which are available upon request.
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.
Terms & Conditions of Business
Unless otherwise agreed, and subject to the application of the 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 for us to keep on our file.