JC SOLICITORS TERMS OF BUSINESS
1.1 These Terms of Business, together with a letter that we send to you confirming your appointment of us and outlining your matter (our ‘client care letter’) constitute the contract between you and JC Solicitors.
1.2 These Terms are subject to change from time to time and are updated on our website.
1.3 JC Solicitors provide legal services in England and Wales and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors
Regulation Authority (under number 550662) and is subject to the SRA Code of Conduct 2011.
1.4 We maintain professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the rules of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
2. JC Solicitors service standards to you
2.1 We will aim to update you (by telephone or in writing) with progress on your matter on a monthly basis, you can contact us at any time should you wish for an update or clarification on matters.
2.2 We will communicate with you in plain language.
2.3 We will explain to you (by telephone or in writing) the legal work required as your matter progresses.
2.4 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.
2.5 We will update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter and any important changes in those estimates.
2.6 We will continue to review whether there are alternative methods by which your matter can be funded.
2.7 Our advice on any matter is confidential and is provided to you alone and solely for the purposes of the matter
set out by us in our client care letter. You acknowledge that we owe a duty of confidentiality to all our clients.
2.8 We take conflict of interest issues seriously. We have procedures in place to ensure that conflict checks are carried out on every matter as soon as practicable so that if an issue arises it can be discussed with you and dealt with as soon as possible. If at any time you become aware of actual or potential conflict of interest please raise it with us immediately.
3. JC Solicitors hours of business
Our normal hours of business are Monday – Friday 9.00am until 5.00pm. We will, wherever possible, arrange meetings outside of these hours where a client is unable to attend a meeting during normal working hours. We are willing to provide services on an urgent basis and will endeavor to make staff available outside normal hours if necessary.
4. Your responsibilities to JC Solicitors
4.1 You will provide us with clear, timely and accurate instructions, which are not misleading. Please tell us of any subsequent changes to the information provided, as well as about any further information that might be relevant.
4.2 You will inform us immediately of any changes to your name, address, e-mail address or other contact details.
4.3 You will provide all documentation required to complete the transaction in a timely manner.
4.4 You will safeguard any documents that are likely to be required for discovery.
4.5 You will pay any outstanding invoices promptly in accordance with term 6 below.
5. JC Solicitors fees
5.1 Our fees are normally based on the time spent dealing with a matter. Other factors may also be taken into account in accordance with Law Society rules for example, complexity, value, important to the client and urgency.
5.2 Fees and charges are set out in the client care letter. We will review your costs every three months and update you accordingly.
5.3 By instructing JC Solicitors you are authorising us to incur such disbursements as we consider necessary. However we will consult you before incurring any significant disbursements. Disbursements may include the fees of counsel and other experts, court fees, search fees and stamp duty land tax. In relation to all disbursements we will charge you only the fee that has been charged to us.
5.4 You are responsible for paying our costs plus VAT in the first instance.
5.5 We may require you to make a payment to us on account of fees, disbursements and expenses at any time and on more than one occasion. The receipt of any such payment on account will be a condition of acting, or continuing to act for you. Money paid on account which is not subsequently required for fees, disbursements and expenses will be refunded to you.
5.6 There may be occasions where another person may be responsible for paying your costs, charges and expenses.
5.7 In some circumstances a court may order that another party pay your costs, but it is unlikely that they would be ordered to pay all of your costs. If this happens then it is your responsibility to pay the balance of our costs. If the other party to the matter is publicly funded you may not get back any of your costs or charges, even if you win the case. If you are successful and the court orders the other party to pay towards your costs, then you may be able to claim interest from the date of the court order. We will account to you for this interest, to the extent that you have paid our charges on account. Please note, that you will be responsible for paying our costs involved in recovering money from the other party even though you may not recover all of these costs in the event a court order is made in your favour. In some circumstances, the court may order that you have to pay the other party’s costs. In those circumstances, you will have to pay those costs in addition to our costs.
5.8 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 our bank. The period for which interest will be paid normally runs from the date(s) when we receive funds until the date(s) on the cheque(s) 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.
6. Terms of Payment
6.1 We request that you settle your invoice within seven days from receipt of the invoice.
6.2 We reserve our statutory right to charge interest on any unpaid invoices that remain outstanding for over 28 days. The rate of interest will be charged at 4% above the base rate charged by Lloyds TSB Bank Plc at the date of the invoice.
6.3 We only accept cash payments to the total sum of five hundred pounds (£500.00). If you 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.
6.4 Where monies are owing to you these will be paid by cheque or bank transfer only. They will not be paid in cash or to a third party.
7. Early termination of JC Solicitor’s services
7.1 You or we may bring the provision of all or any services to an end at any time by giving written notice to the other. We will not do this without giving you reasonable notice and without a good reason such as your failure to pay to us any amount due; your insolvency; the discovery or creation of a conflict of interest; your requesting us to break the law or any professional requirement; or any other breach by you of the Terms.
7.2 You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.
7.3 We may decide to stop acting for you but only with good reason, e.g if you fail to pay an interim bill or there is a conflict of interest. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.
7.4 If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on an hourly basis (plus expenses/by proportion of the agreed fee) as set out in these terms and conditions.
8. Money Laundering
8.1 The law requires that we obtain from you satisfactory evidence of your identity and sometimes the identity of others related to you. The reason for is that solicitors, who deal with money and property on behalf of their client, can be used by criminals wanting to launder money. To comply our legal obligations must have satisfactory evidence of your identity before we begin to act for you.
8.2 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.
8.3 In order to comply with its statutory obligations JC Solicitors operates an anti-money laundering reporting procedure. If the firm knows or suspects that you (or any other party involved in this matter) are involved in money laundering or hold the proceeds of crime, the firm may be required by law to make a report to the
National Crime Agency and if notification is made the firm is prohibited from advising the suspected party that it is doing so. These requirements override the firm’s duty of confidentiality to you.
9. Storage of documents
9.1 We store deeds and papers for clients, normally without charge.
9.2 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.
9.3 We may make a charge for time spent producing stored papers that are requested or reading correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.
9.4 On completion of a matter and payment of any outstanding bills we shall return to you, on request, any documents lent to us by you for the purposes of the matter. Where we are acting for joint clients and one joint client asks us to transfer documents lent to us for the purposes of the matter, we will deliver them to, or to the order of, the joint client who delivered them to us.
9.5 Where monies are owing to JC Solicitors for fees, disbursements or expenses we are entitled to keep all papers and documents until your liabilities have been discharged.
9.6 We will keep our file of your papers for up to 7 years, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you.
9.7 We reserve the right to destroy files without further reference to you seven years after completion of a matter.
9.8 We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody for example your Will.
10. Data Protection and our use of your information
10.1 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
10.2 Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 1998 and our duty of confidentiality.
10.3 Our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers.
10.4 You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.
10.5 We may from time to time send you information that we think might be of interest to you.
If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.
11. Investment advice
11.1 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.
11.2 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.
11.3 The Solicitors Regulations Authority is the independent regulatory arm of the Law Society. The Legal Complaints Service is the independent complaints-handling arm of the Law Society, or, from 6 October 2010, the Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints against lawyers. If you are unhappy with any investment advice you receive from us, you should raise your concerns with either of those bodies.
12. Complaints handling
12.1 We do our utmost to treat all clients fairly. We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you have received or about the bill, please contact Tania Jeffery on 01420 544273 (Alton) or 01243 850860 (Chichester) or by e-mail to email@example.com by post to our office address at Charwell House, Wilsom Road, Alton, Hampshire GU34 2PP or 15 Southgate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1ES or Unit D1, Chichester Marina, Birdham, Chichester, PO20 7EJ.
12.2 We have a complaints procedure, a copy of which is available on request.
12.3 If you are not satisfied with our handling of your complaint you can ask the Legal Complaints Service or the Legal Ombudsman after 6 October 2010 at The Legal Ombudsman, PO BOX 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ Website www.legalombudsman.org.uk Tel – 0300 555 0333 E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org to consider the complaint. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint.
Should you have any queries about the contents of this letter then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01420 544273 (Alton) or 01243 850860 (Chichester).
13. Equality and diversity
We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of our dealings with clients, third parties and employees.
In accordance with the Equality Act 2010 (and any subsequent amendments) we will not discriminate in the way we provide our services on the grounds of sex (including gender reassignment) marital status, sexual orientation, disability, race, colour, religion, age, nationality or ethnic or national origins.
14. Governing law and jurisdiction
These Terms and any dispute between us shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.